Smart 3D Plant Design

The Synergy Smart 3D plant design platform is a set of proprietary custom extensions to 3D design software packages (such as PDMS, SmartPlant, etc), used to facilitate the standard Synergy workflow and automate 2D drawing production across all disciplines.

Synergy runs an integrated 3D design group with representatives from all major disciplines (i.e. piping, civil / structural, electrical and instrument) operating inside a single team. The team is responsible for all physical representations of plant assets and is structured as follows:

Each new starter in the team is put through a rigorous internal training course that is designed to train staff to execute projects in the Synergy way using 3D design software. At the end of the course, a trainee designer will have built a small 3D model and produced a selection of 2D drawings from the training project, using a combination of "out-of-the-box" and Synergy proprietary platform features.

The following series of videos demonstrates the standard Synergy workflow for:

  • Developing smart 3D models
  • Managing the 3D model and quality control
  • Producing 2D drawings from the 3D model

The videos show aspects of the training project being built and was actually recorded by a recent graduate of the training course.

3D Modelling and Design

The 3D design process begins with building and laying out 3D model primitives for the equipment and piping in the plant, based on process P&IDs. The 3D model primitives are then enhanced by adding intelligent links to project documents and drawings, e.g. P&IDs, line lists, Vendor general arrangements, etc.

The following video shows how 3D model primitives for equipment items are created using standard Synergy templates and then enhanced with intelligent links.

The next video demonstrates how standard piping assemblies (e.g. control sets, PSVs, etc) can be added to the model using rule-based templates.

The following video shows how pipe supports can be modelled using the Multidiscipline Supports (MDS) feature and created from project design templates.

3D Model Management

Managing a 3D model during the engineering design process involves 1) ensuring the data integrity of the model across all disciplines, 2) facilitating quality control processes throughout the project, and 3) providing project status updates and progress reporting.

Underpinning the data integrity of the model is the Synergy Clash Manager, which stores clashes locally in the 3D model database and allows the real-time update, resolution and approval of clashes. The following video demonstrates the clash manager in action and how Synergy designers can resolve different types of hard and soft clashes.

The following video shows how the Integrated Design Lead prepares piping sections for issue by linking the pipes with document control metadata such as drawing numbers, revision histories, etc. Integrated into this process is the project reporting functionality, which connects the drawing revisions with percentage complete progress. This facilitates the batch plotting of piping isometrics, which is demonstrated in later in the 2D drawing production section.

2D Drawing Production

Once a 3D model has been developed and checked through to completion, the system is then configured for 2D drawing production.

In the following video, the Integrated Design Lead will firstly divide the 3D model into logical working areas using Area Design Volume Boxes. Next, the CAD Administrator will set up the system to automatically generate the drawing key plan index and then build up base template drawings for each area.

These base templates will later be used by the Designers as a basis for discipline-specific 2D drawings. Note that the video only shows the creation of the base template drawing for area TRN. Normally, this process would be repeated for all working areas.

After the system has been properly configured for 2D drawing production, discipline-specific drawings with custom annotations can then be generated. The following series of videos shows examples of how the base templates can be used by the Designers to develop different types of discipline-specific drawings, e.g.

  • Equipment Layout Drawings
  • Piping General Arrangement Drawings
  • Safety Access Drawings
  • Hazardous Area Classification Drawings
  • Pipe Support Drawings
  • Pipe Spool Fabrication Drawings
  • Equipment General Arrangement Drawings
  • Piping Isometric Drawings

a) Equipment Layout Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated equipment layout drawing.

b) Piping General Arrangement Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated piping general arrangement drawing.

c) Safety Access Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated safety access drawing.

d) Hazardous Area Classification Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated hazardous area classification drawing.

e) Pipe Support Drawing

f) Pipe Spool Fabrication Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated pipe spool drawing.

g) Equipment General Arrangement Drawing

Download a PDF of the generated equipment general arrangement drawing (used to check the model against Vendor drawings).

h) Piping Isometric Drawings (Batch Plot)

N.B. Before batch plotting piping isometrics, pipe sections will have been reviewed and prepared by the Integrated Design Lead (see the 3D Model Management section above)

The final video shows how drawing modifications between revisions are identified and clouded, and then how drawings can be batch plotted.

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