We are considering investing in an automated tubing bending machine for copper tubing. From what I know we need to feed it an .STL file. Is Piping/Cabling the software we need for this? How does Pro Piping/Cabling relate to Creo Schematics? They both seem like they do about the same thing.
Creo/Schematics, for piping, will give you the point-to-point piping connections of an overall system. It will not give you tube bend data that I'm aware of. I do believe that the piping package will give you tube bend data so that it can be added to a table in a drawing. Whether or not you can export that out to a STL file, I'm just not sure. Sorry, if this is not a lot of help, but the piping package is the right path.
Typical bending machines take either XYZ and bend radius data or LRA and bend radius. They don't take STL. That doesn't mean that a service bureau would turn down an STL file; they would have to use it to create the correct tube bender format.
Piping design supports *.$$$ and *.FIF which is used by most CNC bending machines. Check whether the machine you are purchasing supported either of these two formats
I did not find any references to the $$$ format, but I did find a number of companies offering STEP, IGES, and native format model imports, such as BendPro G2V2 CNC Tube Bender Controls from Univeral Tool and Engineering.
PCX looks like an interesting product.
Interesting factory floor format:
From FIF Translator Help Advanced Tubular Technologies, Inc.
The FIF file standard was created by Eaton Leonard and is used by the Eaton Leonard Vector measuring center and CNC tube bending machines.
Because of the widespread use of Eaton Leonard equipment over the last 40 years, the FIF format is available for use by a high number of fabricators in the industry.
FIF is a file standard created by Eaton Leonard to allow transfer of data into and out of Eaton Leonard bender and measuring center controls. A few well-known CAD programs can also create FIF files for data transfer to measuring centers and other bending machines. For example, Pro/ENGINEER and CATIA are well-known programs that can create these files from your tube shapes defined in these packages.
They are designed specifically for containing information about tube shapes. For example, the file contains centerline XYZ coordinates, bend radii, bend data, part name, tube diameter, bender speeds, tooling setups, and more.
FIF files provide a way to transfer data from your Eaton Leonard equipment to non-Eaton Leonard equipment - and back. For example, you can transfer data from an Eaton Leonard measuring center to ROMER measuring centers and back.
Each FIF file can hold multiple parts: hundreds or even thousands. FIF Translator takes advantage of this multiple-part capability. For example, you can select 100 Supravision files for transfer into a single FIF file. So FIF files are used to transfer whole groups or systems of data in large files.
FIF files are most commonly used in the aerospace industry to transfer data between internal bending cells and to share data with external suppliers.
Many tube fabricators use FIF files as the master files on a network server at some other location than the tube measuring center. The data is created by Pro/ENGINEER or CATIA. When the new part is ordered for fabrication, operators often load FIF files from this server directly into a computer on the shop floor.
I've come across SupraVision, just not the factory-floor format.
It looks like it is heading for obsolescence. Supravision - ATTWiki in favor of Romer DOCS
It also looks like people are holding patents on math. Sad. https://www.google.com/patents/US6757576 Since I did my work before 2001, does that mean I could invalidate the patent on prior art?? That would be funny.
I'm sorry, I said .STL in the original post, but STEP file was what I meant to say. I apologize for the confusion.
Thanks for all the responses on this, its been helpful. One more question: Does the Piping/Cabling seat included in the Creo Engineering III license package include all functionality to export these formats mentioned above? Or does the floating seat have more abilities?