When clients or bosses demand changes to industrial plant designs weeks or days before project deadlines, large-scale 3D design can save the day.
Martin Tompkins, Senior Mechanical Designer at WSP CEL, designs process plants. He knows that it’s a client’s privilege to change their mind, often at the last minute. He recently explained to us how large-scale 3D design software keeps his clients happy.
Project Management and Engineering firm WSP CEL designs process plants for pharma, food, chemical and energy providers. One of the main demands on its design software is flexibility when plans change. “Clients update requirements regularly, often halfway through a project or later,” says Martin. “When last-minute requests drop on your desk, 3D plant design software really comes into its own.”
Tackling Process Changes
Process changes, involving changes in line sizes, valves, pumps or machinery have the most wide-ranging consequences. “This could mean throwing out entire layouts, changing 30% of the plant. In pharma projects, layout changes affect air flow rates and the air handling units, requiring adjustments to ductwork,” says Martin. “Clients have to pay for design changes, so we need to make them as fast as possible.”
4x Quicker in 3D
WSP CEL delivers its projects with CAD Schroer’s MPDS4 Plant Design software. Its interactive, catalog-driven 3D design approach allows engineers to quickly lay out complete process installations. “We can respond immediately to last-minute changes, even making them in project meetings,” says Martin. “In 3D, you only make a change once. All the derived 2D drawings update automatically. With 2D, you’d have to change multiple drawings: the layouts, different views on detail drawings; the pipe isometrics… taking at least 4 times longer, with no way to visualise the result.”
Fast Feasibility, High Quality
MPDS4’s 3D visualisation delivers fast proofs of concept and effective change communication. “A customer recently wanted to change their oil well tree type, which entails surface pipework modifications. With MPDS4, it took 2-3 days to prove feasibility and complete the design change. In 2D it would have taken 2-3 weeks.” Martin explains, “And with automatic interference checking we can avoid any mistakes caused by the rush to make last-minute changes, minimising the risk of ugly surprises on-site.”
Not everyone is a Last-minute Larry, but often plant or factory project requirements and priorities shift late in the game, no matter how careful the initial scoping. Being armed with flexible 3D engineering design software matching a flexible attitude can save huge costs and build customer loyalty.