Efficient pipe planning requires a holistic engineering approach

Keeping track of the plant layout while planning pipes is not an easy task. The complexity of the pipe networks, interconnected systems and the different requirements of the transported media are only a few of the many challenges engineers are facing. Single-source software solutions such as Engineering Base by Aucotec help users to meet these demands in a secure, convenient and time-saving fashion.

Visualising a plant’s pipe network can present one of the first problems in the early planning stages. Printed plans with flow charts fail to illustrate a system’s complexity and inherent logic. But even the vast majority of digitally created graphics does not enable continuous navigation throughout connected disciplines. Neither do they automatically show alterations made by other departments that have an impact on the P&ID (piping and instrumentation diagram). Furthermore, a lot of important background information on the piping can often not be represented. These solutions merely provide snapshots of data silos which do not allow for the complexity of tasks such as process design.

The digital twin

These problems can be easily solved by using an engineering software like Engineering Base (EB). The platform generates a digital twin generated that ensures efficiency and security even during highly complex and interdisciplinary pipe planning processes. Since it is always up-to-date, consistent and identical for every department, the twin is a powerful tool to ensure overall quality. The pipe network design is derived from this digital recreation as well. Due to the holistic approach, users benefit from unprecedented data consistency throughout neighbouring areas and all related systems.

Automatic pipe-classification

The pipes’ required mechanical properties are dictated by the medium they carry. EB takes mechanical factors such as pressure and temperature into consideration and detects              the required pipe class. When designing processes, EB offers a workflow based on these classes: a setup assistant helps in selecting the relevant parameters. Based on this, EB determines the pipe class in accordance with all relevant regulations and marks the process connection in the P&ID. If this process is performed manually, it is not only difficult and time-consuming but also highly prone to errors. In this way, a holistic engineering approach helps to avoid additional costs and delays.

Smart pipes

To further facilitate a user-friendly planning process, EB’s smart pipes assistant shows the topology of all sub-segments including valves, pumps and flaps. Every subsegment in turn ‘knows’ its main line and the attached devices. An MCAD-interface enables quick and easy 3D modelling.

Advantages of holistic planning

The process design stage clearly illustrates the potential that lies in a cross-disciplinary approach to FEED, instrumentation & control, electrical, cause & effect as well as automation. The advantages are significant: implementing a comprehensive single-source solution not only reduces the likelihood of errors during the planning process, but it also increases usability and the overall efficiency of the design process. Automatically created bills of materials, automatic error detection and dedicated pipe design features are only a few of the aspects that make this possible.

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