Plant Design Innovators Recap: Plant & Equipment Design with David Wolfe

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David Wolfe,  Applied Software Director of Process Plant Services, led the final installment of the Plant Design Innovators virtual event series and discussed the intricacies and challenges of using Plant 3D in equipment design. 

“When I start thinking about equipment design and Plant,” David began, “a lot of different people use many different platforms to create those files. And so, one of the big hurdles right off the bat is the number of file types that we need to handle.”

He then described the process involved in achieving this: “I know it’s very popular to go out to the internet and grab a piece of equipment off some vendor site that has the detail that you’re working with,” he said. “You download it and then there’s going to be some level of cleanup. [Because of the detail], chances are, you’re going to start running into limits of your computer.”

He opened up a discussion about how better to streamline this process, inviting attendees to share their own experience with handling different file types. One attendee mentioned that his company uses Inventor “as much as [they] can” in an order to “shrink wrap” all of the files needed for a project. “We want to be less than hopefully five [megabytes] because that’s our cut off as far as accepting anything,” he said.

Additional topics of conversation included: how much the client expects in regard to detail and how much that is communicated project to project and budget versus schedule. One issue with projects, mentioned an attendee, was that time for budgeting and scheduling has become more and more limited: “20 years ago was all 2D and 3D models and actual 3D modeling,” he said. “And they had a year and a half to do everything. Well, now, we have two months. It’s the same amount of detail with only two months.”

The group also discussed the challenges inherent in fine-tuning a draft; migration from one type of software to another; the model management process; and how many attendees actively use Equipment Design and may have specific teams for doing so.

“Right now, it’s basically [telling the customer], here’s all of your information,” one attendee said about linking documents and turning information over to his company’s customers. “Here’s your model. Here’s your isos. So as long as everything correlates, I feel like the only time our clients really care is if there’s a problem. Then everyone tries to point the finger. But most of the time, I can’t think of an issue.”

Even though collaboration brings with it challenges, the technology is improving every day. There’s a bright future for plant collaboration. Contact Applied Software today to talk with a plant design innovation expert and learn more about how collaboration can make your plant design workflow more efficient. Check out the Applied Software Guide to Plant 3D for indepth information on the application, answers to challenges, system performance, worksharing, and more.

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