Plant and Piping Software Design (AEC in Focus Column)

28 Feb, 2007 By: AIA ,H. Edward Goldberg

Software offers capabilities for greater interoperability.

Plant and piping software has reached an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, stage. With much of today's industry dependent on processes involving the movement of liquids and gases, there's an ever-increasing need for this type of software to design the infrastructures that carry these commodities. Plant and piping software developers were early adopters of 3D modeling. These software offerings fall into two broad groups—2D schematics, such as P&IDs (piping and instrument diagrams) and instrument and electrical diagrams, and the physical design comprising 2D and 3D deliverables. What's notable is that more 3D-based design packages at all price levels are available, and they automatically produce the 2D deliverables, reports and BOMs (bills of materials) that were available only in high-priced offerings in the past.

Although most of these design applications run on either AutoCAD or MicroStation platforms, other offerings from AVEVA and Intergraph use their own graphics engines and output to either the DWG or DGN drawing formats.

This "AEC in Focus" column discusses some of the latest developments for this area of engineering.

AVEVA Plant Design and Engineering

AVEVA's PDMS (Plant Design Management System) is a comprehensive modeling system that creates 3D designs and deliverables (figure 1). It features model management, advanced clash management, visual review, automatic pipe routing and construction deliverables. Automated deliverables can be generated directly from the 3D model in the form of general arrangement and detail drawings, piping isometrics and reports. The product comes with industry catalogs and specifications, and the entire Victaulic piping catalog is available at no charge. AVEVA's Pipe Stress Inter-face provides data integration between piping designs and stress-analysis tools.

 Figure 1. AVEVA s PDMS creates 3D designs and deliverables using model management, advanced clash management, visual review, automatic pipe routing and construction deliverables features.
Figure 1. AVEVA s PDMS creates 3D designs and deliverables using model management, advanced clash management, visual review, automatic pipe routing and construction deliverables features.

Plant Engineering is an engineering data-management system that can be operated by globally dispersed project teams. It manages the flow of engineering data from its own database, front-end process data, P&ID, the 3D model, project control and material management databases. The software follows client-specific and industry-standard tag numbering and symbology conventions, which ensure that the product can be used in such industries as offshore, process and power. AVEVA's P&ID drafting application uses AutoCAD as its underlying CAD engine, and it outputs 2D deliverables in native AutoCAD format.

VNET, AVEVA's Internet information portal, is a multi-lingual information integration platform. It presents infor-mation from any source application and links it using item tags (or other identification) to present a coherent view of a plant, ship or project on any engineering desktop.

Bentley DigitalPlant

Using its wide portfolio of MicroStation- and AutoCAD-based software, Bentley has developed the DigitalPlant solution that ties all of Bentley's Plant-related programs together through a central database. This column doesn't have enough room to describe all of Bentley's Plant-related solutions such as the AutoPlant, AXSYS and PlantSpace products, but Bentley has a comprehensive set of engineer-ing tools covering the widest range of disciplines, with integrated 2D and 3D functionality and integrated engineering analysis, across all phases of the lifecycle from FEED (front-end engineering design) to operations and maintenance.

Bentley's architecture is built on the services-orientated architecture of Microsoft's .NET so data is served through applications to users. At the heart of the DigitalPlant solu-tion is ProjectWise (figure 2). ProjectWise is a set of collaboration servers and services that serve data and documents between applications and to people that need them. ProjectWise manages access; provides the middle layer that routes documents and integrates systems together; and provides viewing and analysis tools to look at data, documents and models. ProjectWise is a series of databases and desktop applications that link people and systems with one another. Bentley calls it a set of collaboration servers and services. Because of this structure, ProjectWise can be implemented flexibly; for example, starting with a solution for a group of people to share common output via plotting or a common authentication system for a project.

Figure 2. Bentley s ProjectWise manages access, provides the middle layer that routes documents and integrates Digital-Plant s systems together.
Figure 2. Bentley s ProjectWise manages access, provides the middle layer that routes documents and integrates Digital-Plant s systems together.

Bentley's products are excellent, and they are truly inter-operable with each other and third-party products because of their scalable modularity and their open approach. This interoperability means users can purchase only the software they need and know that these products integrate.


Both CADWorx Plant and CADWorx P&ID 2007 have been released with several new capabilities. The CADWorx Plant range has a new LineView interface for an easier, more uncluttered design environment, as well as a new SpecView dynamic menu feature for faster, more accurate selection of components in its specification-driven modeling environment. CADWorx Plant Professional also ships with the latest version of NavisWorks Roamer, version 5.1, which has enhanced features and compatibility with AutoCAD 2007 files. The CADWorx P&ID range now has improved database reporting and stronger links to the physical plant model. In CADWorx Plant and CADWorx Plant Professional, the new LineView command provides an intuitive, easy user interface that leverages the built-in intelligence of CADWorx components to allow designers to accurately select or isolate components for an uncluttered design environment. Also in the CADWorx Plant Suite, the SpecView feature replaces many component selection toolbars by presenting only those items for selection that are available at the current spec and size settings. The elimination of these toolbars from the working environment and the use of SpecView's auto-hide feature allow users to reclaim as much as 25% of their design screen space.

CADWorx 2007 is compatible with AutoCAD 2004–2006, and it takes advantage of many of the features and capabilities of AutoCAD 2007, Autodesk's current release.

Intergraph SmartPlant P&ID 4.2

As this column went to press, Intergraph just announced that its SmartPlant P&ID 2007 would be shipping soon. SmartPlant P&ID 2007 features new copy plant functionality that is provided by SmartPlant Engineering Manager. This new functionality will allow users to copy their best, proven plant designs and use them as a baseline for the design of new plants. Users can copy the complete plant design package—including the hierarchy, item tags and reference data—and save valuable design time while ensuring proven engineering practices in your new plant design.

Additionally, SmartPlant P&ID 2007 now supports jac-keted pipe and components. This feature allows engineers to design and graphically depict dual-piping systems with all required connections to the heating or cooling medium.

The software offers three main functionality enhancements: system editing, update drawings and display sets. The system editing functionality takes full advantage of connectivity between plant items—such as equipment, piping and instruments—along with the established rules. System editing provides more productive and consistent propaga-tion of data along a connected network. In addition, users can set a property value on one item, such as a pipe, and have it flow or propagate to the connected items defined by their rules. System editing provides real-time user feedback. After a property of an item is selected, users can immediately view the extent of the system editing scope for that property.

Users can update their P&IDs to reflect reference data changes in a controlled and automated manner. The update drawings tool analyzes drawings and provides visual feed-back in either Drawing Manager or in a Microsoft Excel report, fully describing which drawings are out-of-date with respect to the criteria analyzed.


PROCAD offers a comprehensive line of 2D and 3D plant design solutions, including the 2D DESIGNER and 3DSMART product lines (figure 3).

Figure 3. PROCAD offers a comprehen- sive line of (left) 2D and (right) 3D plant design software.
Figure 3. PROCAD offers a comprehen- sive line of (left) 2D and (right) 3D plant design software.

The Piping Suite V2007, part of the 2D DESIGNER line, is a highly functional program for 2D piping design and drafting. This feature-rich software is spec driven and includes the ability to create project standards and pipe specifications and generate BOMs. This robust functionality is wrapped in an easy-to-use, cost-effective package to ensure that projects are executed on time and as profitably as possible. The Piping Suite software modules include AutoFLOW for P&IDs, AutoORTHO for plans and elevations and AutoISO for isometrics. For electrical drafting, Auto-ELECTRIC provides all the drafting tools needed to create single-line diagrams, control schematics and layout drawings. As highly intuitive software, it offers a complete and cost-effective solution for all electrical drafting needs.

3DSMART V2007 is a data-centric 3D design solution with a real-time connection to an SQL server database. The feature provides external repository for project data that enables easy access to real-time project data throughout the enterprise. This multifunctional, easy-to-use software comes standard with all required modules to execute a project, including Project Manager, Specification Manager, Component Designer, 3D Modeler, BOM Settings Manager & Generator and all the currently available design libraries such as ANSI pipe, equipment and structural steel.

The Component Designer is a tool for creating parametric component libraries that are seamlessly integrated into the 3DSMART database. It also allows the incorporation of mul-tiple connection points in each component and the ability to assign them with rules-based intelligence so that all design rules and standards are met.

QuickPen International PipeDesigner 3D 3.9

PipeDesigner 3D 3.9 is compatible with Autodesk AutoCAD 2007, Architectural Desktop 2007 and Autodesk Building Systems 2007 design software. QuickPen's recent release marks the launch of official QuickPen support for Autodesk Building Systems. Although the tight AutoCAD compatibility of previous releases of PipeDesigner 3D have allowed customers to use the software under the Autodesk Building Systems platform, this new release provides even greater integration and more robust compatibility (figure 4).

Figure 4. QuickPen s PipeDesigner 3D extends enhanced piping features to AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems.
Figure 4. QuickPen s PipeDesigner 3D extends enhanced piping features to AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems.

PipeDesigner 3D extends the capabilities of AutoCAD, Architec-tural Desktop and Autodesk Building Systems to provide enhanced piping features. It's based on the AutoCAD drawing engine, so it always benefits from the latest improvements to that program. It ships with an impressive database of fittings commonly used for piping drawings. The database contains parts from NIBCO and Tri-Clover as well as generic parts. Tables contain data about available part sizes, essential dimensions that define parts and information about how each part interacts with other parts.

Addition of Watts Carriers further enhances the extensive hanger and carrier libraries introduced in v3.5. The Q-Palettes toolbar now includes a fly-out carrier menu that allows users to load both Watts and Zurn Carriers into AutoCAD palettes. To make carrier access even easier, v3.6 introduced the Q-Carriers toolbar. This toolbar allows users to quickly toggle between the Watts Carriers library and the Zurn Carriers library during drawing.

Pipe Up

This month's column is an overview of some available plant and piping products and some of their features. As always, be informed. Go to developers' Web sites to get a better view of their offerings and, if possible, get a demonstration on one of your own projects.

H. Edward Goldberg, AIA, NCARB, is a practicing licensed architect and AEC industry analyst. Ed's full-length book, Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2007: A Comprehensive Tutorial (Prentice Hall, is now available. His new Revit Building tutorial book will be available in spring 2007. Visit for more information or e-mail