Your Process Plant Strategy: Choosing Between Revit and Plant 3D

19 June 2024Industrial and Plant, Plant, plant 3d, RevitArchitecture and Engineering, business strategy, Inventor, P&ID, Piping, process piping design, Process Plant, Revit Design



A recent article by renowned Plant 3D expert David Wolfe discussed the decision facing architecture and engineering (A/E) firms that do process piping. Which software tools should they use? Autodesk provides two design platforms that impact the work of these companies: Revit and AutoCAD Plant 3D.

As David pointed out, due to application differences, objects modeled in Revit are not natively available in Plant 3D, and objects in Plant 3D are not natively available in Revit. Many companies would like to do all their design – walls, windows, doors, structural – in one software product or the other. This barrier between the products requires workarounds.

The power of Plant 3D, its adaptability and ability to feed downstream processes, is not normally needed in an A/E environment. The Applied Software, GRAITEC Group Plant 3D Team recommendation is to continue using Revit for the building industry, doing common A/E work (non-process piping) in Revit.

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3D BIM model, process piping design, choosing between Revit and Plant 3D, process plant

On the other hand, process piping, which uses P&IDs, pipe specs and/or is best displayed in isometrics, should be performed in Plant 3D. In addition, equipment/vessel design can be performed in Inventor.

David explained that he uses Inventor in parallel with Plant 3D for complex equipment, then imports the shrink-wrapped model as an equipment asset, including nozzles.

Download the Plant 3D Team’s five-page Process Plant Strategy report, “Choosing Between Revit and Plant 3D.”

Business Requirements

Process plant brings additional complexity to the design process. As part of selecting design tools, documenting the business requirements helps put boundaries on the features the product must support.

The Plant 3D Team developed a table that indicates the ways Autodesk products support the common business requirements for process piping design:

Walls X
Windows X
Doors X
Structural steel X X X
Coping X
Structural connections X
Piping specs X
Isometrics X
Bill of materials reports X X
Equipment modeling with nested nozzles X X
Multi-port valves X
Large model performance X
Multiple users design in 1 file (or 1 file/discipline) X
Customizable pipe auto-joining connections X

Design Coordination

From Revit to Plant 3D

When companies choose to display backgrounds from disciplines like steel in Plant 3D drawings, there needs to be an export from Revit to AutoCAD’s DWG format. For this workflow, the Plant 3D Team reports RTV Xporter Pro has been on the market the longest and enables scheduling exports to DWG.

From Plant 3D to Revit

Companies may also want to display piping information from Plant 3D in Revit documentation. There are three methods for doing this:

  • Sharing geometry
  • Sharing data and geometry
  • Sharing data and geometry in native Revit elements

In summary, when choosing between Revit and Plant 3D, it makes good business sense to continue using Revit for common, non-process piping A/E work in Revit and doing process piping design in Plant 3D.

To learn more about choosing between Revit and Plant 3D and see the Plant 3D Team’s five-page report, check out David Wolfe’s LinkedIn post: “Process Plant Strategy: Revit or Plant 3D.

Unlock your potential with strategic planning. The Applied Software, GRAITEC Group Plant Roadmap Workshop provides you with a clear path to implement technology solutions that enhance efficiency and foster innovation. Reach out today to learn more.


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