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    By Andy Davis

    Although AutoCAD P&ID is included within AutoCAD Plant 3D, there is no ‘live’ link between the process data attached to a symbol in a P&ID and the 3D representation of that symbol in the Plant 3D model.  At design time, data attached to the P&ID symbol may be copied into the 3D model but there is no link from the 3D model back to the P&ID.

    It is common practice to define non-specific process data in a P&ID and then define the physical, mechanical data in the corresponding 3D model – usually through the Piping Catalog and Spec.  So it’s not really possible to accurately cost a process design until a preliminary 3D design has been completed, since the P&ID does not reflect the actual components that are required.

    However, there is a third-party (non-Autodesk) solution to this problem which provides a neat way of combining the P&ID and Pipe Spec data when drafting the P&ID before laying out the physical design.

    PlantSpecDriven

    PlantSpecDriven is part of the APLANT PlantTools suite of add-ins to enhance the workflow and functionality of AutoCAD Plant 3D and P&ID. 

    This Plant 3D add-in allows you to link the data between a P&ID and a Plant 3D Pipe Spec.  By specifying the size and spec of a fitting in a P&ID, PlantSpecDriven will look-up the fitting in the corresponding Plant 3D Pipe Spec and copy back to the P&ID whichever data fields you specify.  By changing the spec in the P&ID, you can swap out physical fittings.  This allows a preliminary Bill of Materials to be generated from the P&ID and costing and ‘optioneering’ to be undertaken before the process is physically laid out.

    Not only that, but when you are laying out the 3D model in Plant 3D, a very much enhanced version of the P&ID Line List window enables you to select and place the exact items specified in the P&ID.  This window also displays validation information providing an indication of whether the 3D fittings differ from those specified in the P&ID.