How Plant 3D Streamlines Piping Design

23 February 2023Architecture and Engineering, AutoCAD, autodesk, Digital Transformation, Fabrication, Industrial and Plant, MEP, plant 3dPiping, Process Plant, workflows



Designing in 3D can differentiate your company from your competitors. From the very beginning of a project, using 3D models in the piping design process helps companies identify conflicts, adapt to changing site plans and reduce turnaround time on revisions. With a 3D model, you can visualize where conflicts might exist, both for constructability and for eventual maintenance. Even if site parameters change, your company can adjust quickly and still make the most efficient use of your project schedule.

Plant 3D rendering of gas regulator station; image: Autodesk

This is where the AutoCAD© Plant 3D toolset comes in. Because Plant 3D was developed specifically to assist with designing and modeling plant facilities, it delivers much more to your piping designs than working in 2D.

The 3D models are developed early in the job, so staff can begin visualizing pipes, fittings and equipment from all angles and considering the project’s next steps. Two-dimensional (2D) drawings are typically created at later stages (60/80/90% complete). Tools to assist with 3D models might include 3D laser scanners and reality capture software.

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process plant piping and valves in silver and orange

The 3D model can be created using an as-built of the site, including rise and run for the slope. Then all the design plans, sections and elevations can be developed from that 3D model. Besides modeling the pipeline and equipment on a project, you can generate plans and sections, piping isometrics, BOMs, intelligent P&IDs, and other documents.

Using a 3D model also benefits your clients, because it helps you understand and deliver what they want. A client can provide input up front on their needs and desires, for instance regarding location and orientation.

For useful information on Plant 3D, answers to challenges, system performance, worksharing, and more, download the free Applied Software, Graitec Group Guide to Plant 3D.

Besides developing 3D models, using 3D processes on a job allows you to speed up the design workflow and increase accuracy. Plant 3D enables you to develop a customized parts library specific to the jobs you produce. You can standardize the parts you use, choose fittings and create new parts that are unique to your company’s current and future projects. You can also import 3D models of parts from manufacturers that offer them.

Sometimes there are conflicts you simply cannot see in 2D. The features and functionality of Plant 3D can remedy that. For example, when you have a 3D model, you don’t have to spend time preparing representations of a connection or piece of equipment from every angle. In addition, if changes are needed, you only need to make a change once in a 3D model, and the model will update automatically.

Automated piping isometrics are the single largest impact for most Plant 3D users. Being able to generate fabrication information based on a design route creates value by streamlining the process to document assembly instructions.

The ability to work quickly is a big advantage of using Plant 3D. The faster you can respond to changes and client requests, the more likely you will stay on schedule and maintain a good relationship with the client.  

Plant 3D features help you manage your workload, make the best use of workers’ time and streamline much of your piping design workflow.

If you’re interested in an automation for your plant design process, contact Applied Software, Graitec Group today and talk to an industry expert.



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