Design of any large industrial process plant is inconceivable without continuous spatial coordination between designers and engineers of three engineering disciplines: Mechanical/Piping, Structural and Electrical.
3D-modelling software employed for the given project serves as the common three-dimensional medium for interdisciplinary coordination. The obvious benefits of such approach have been discussed in multiple publications and would be beyond the topic of the present article.
The new, uncharted area and the main topic of this article is coordination between the engineers of Mechanical-Piping (further called Piping-Stress) and Civil-Structural Disciplines. The present predicament is that although the noted-above engineers create 3D analytical models of remarkable complexity, they still work in virtual isolation and have a chance to employ computer technology for coordination only in a roundabout way i.e. after their designs have been integrated into 3D-CAD environment by designers. Moreover, the vast amounts of data incorporated within engineer’s models as well as the massive analyses outputs has to be conveyed to the engineer of another discipline only by conservative means of print-outs and manual mark-ups.
On the positive note, with the significant progress of engineering analytical software, interdisciplinary coordination of ‘engineering’ 3D models became feasible from technical perspective and modern engineers are geared up for it.
Analytical or ‘Engineering’ 3D Models
It is worth noting that analytical models generated by engineers differ significantly from those created by designers though both types of models are being created to depict the same designs.