Computer Software for Steel Professionals

Verifying That Tekla Exports Net Lengths Instead of Gross Lengths


A bill of material from the Tekla software system can be exported to a file that Structural Material Manager can import. Click here for general information on producing such a file.

The Tekla software system sometimes exports the centerline-to-centerline length from the model rather than the actual item length from the bill of material. A Structural Material Manager user can then receive an .eje file that contains items that are longer in some cases than the lengths shown on the bill of material.

As an example, suppose an item in a Tekla model ties into a 6" tube on each end. In order to determine the actual cut length, 6" must be subtracted from each end of the centerline-to-centerline model length. If that is not done, and the gross model length gets exported, Structural Material Manager will receive an item length that is 1'-0 too long. Rememeber: Structural Material Manager can only import what it is given, it has no way to know that the provided lengths are incorrect.

Whether Tekla exports the proper lengths is determined by a setting within the Tekla system. While we cannot provide exact steps for checking the setting, an experienced Tekla user has suggested the following procedure:

  1. Open the Tekla system.
  2. Click Tools | Options | Advanced Options.
  3. At the Analysis & Design area, highlight the CNC item.
  4. Make sure that the XS_DSTV_NET_LENGTH setting has a value of 1 instead of 0.

Whether or not the setting is correct in Tekla, the bills of material in Tekla will always show the correct lengths. That is why it is so easy to miss the fact that - given the incorrect setting - Tekla exported the longer, centerline-to-centerline gross lengths rather than actual net cut lengths. If the issue is not caught until after Structural Material Manager imports the data and nests the items, the result could be that longer steel items than are actually needed will be ordered. That is certainly less disastrous than ordering items that are too short, but still a lot of work would be needed to re-cut the items to the proper length after discovering the problem.

The bottom line: have your detailer check this Tekla setting ahead of time!