31 May, 2000 By: Patrick Davis

Piping design

Pros: Highly automated; AutoISO; well documented; flexible; user-friendly.
Cons:None significant.
Price: $3,500, includes one year of upgrades

COADE Engineering Software

CADWorx/PIPE is a single-module, full-featured package for designing and creating orthographic, isometric, and 3D piping and equipment drawings in AutoCAD Release 14 and 2000.

CADWorx/PIPE uses a straightforward installation wizard. The software is copy-protected and has a hardware lock connected to the parallel port.

To create a new drawing, you set parameters such as main and reduction pipe sizes, specification file to use, drawing mode, border (title block), scales (linetype, text, format), layer management, fitting, and information modes. You can set many of the parameters from the Command line, but the single drawing setup dialog box really simplifies the process.

CADWorx/PIPE includes several specification libraries with more than 25,000 components and the ability to create your own. Specifications cover 150-, 300-, 600-, 900-, and 1,500lb piping components.

Components include valves, flanges, reducers, tees, pipe ends, elbows, restraints, bleed rings, expansion joints, and saddles. CADWorx/PIPE defines components in metric and English units with three input choices: English (inch nominal), metric (metric nominal), and metric (inch nominal). Xdata (extended entity data) holds all of the vital information about each component. This information includes size, description, line numbering, tag, code, weight, sort sequence, length, and specification file association.

Additional tools create equipment such as heads, tanks, vessels, and pumps. When you insert a piece of equipment, a pump for example, CADWorx/PIPE asks if you want to see a slide that details required parameters, then it prompts you to specify those parameters. Using a dialog box to insert a vessel, tank, pump, or head would make the process much simpler.

CADWorx/PIPE creates orthographic, isometric, and 3D piping drawings in AutoCAD 2000

Many users get overwhelmed by the learning curve and the UCS (user coordinate system) involved in creating 3D models. To make working in 3D easier, CADWorx/ PIPE provides an enhanced UCS control referred to as Point and Shoot UCS. For example, to change the working elevation, you simply define the working plane (north, south, east, west, or flat) and pick the origin point.

You can create drawings as 2D single lines, 2D double lines, 3D faces, and 3D solids. At any time you can convert the entire drawing or individual components from one display mode to another. The drawing retains all component and location data during the conversion.

You create a pipe run by placing components end to end. CADWorx/PIPE tracks the endpoint of the last component inserted. When you insert another component, you can recall that endpoint as the insert point for the new component to make the correct connection point. You can automatically insert gaskets at the appropriate connections. An automatic routing feature works very well.

Other tools add insulation as well as weld, section, detail, plan view, elevation, instrument, arrow, dot, and miscellaneous designators. The Continuity function finds any gaps and ends of a piping system and places a circle at each end or gap found.

Automatically generating isometric and orthographic views begins with running through a configuration setup and setting the parameters for BOM (bills of materials) generation, tag (balloon) mark options, ISO scale, fitting linewidth adjustments, border selection (attributes in titleblock filled in automatically), and auto ISO numbers. Either pick or use line numbers to select objects to be used in the isometric. Then invoke the Isoout command to write a data file to generate the isometric view in a new drawing.

Next, start a new drawing and use the Autoiso command. It prompts you to find the text file generated by the Isoout command and lets you preview the desired view (southeast, northeast, northwest, or southwest) before you select it. CADWorx/PIPE then adds the title block and isometric drawing and converts the isometric to single-line mode. It automatically generates dimensioning, bolts, tag (balloon) marks, and BOM. An automatic material mark routine finds clear areas and stacks bolt, flange, and gasket marks.

CADWorx/PIPE also creates bidirectional links with the CAESAR II pipe stress program. You can create a piping system in AutoCAD, transfer it to CAESAR II for analysis and modification, and then send the modified piping system back to AutoCAD for drawing revision. This link lets you automatically create stress isometrics with input, output, and summary data that comes directly from the CAESAR II stress file, whether it was originally created with CADWorx or CAESAR II.

Included with my software was a manual that contained an overview, installation, tutorials, and comprehensive command reference. The manual was easy to read and loaded with illustrations. The online Help includes the same tutorials as the printed documentation. The tutorials should be adequate for most users familiar with AutoCAD and piping design. Additional formal training is also available from COADE. I highly recommend this product.

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