Data entered at CAD stage can be very useful in non-CAD departments. Unfortunately CAD has, for many years, been considered a 'black art' by other data users in the company. Many CAD systems restrict your CAD data purely to the design department. Other systems offering integration are expensive and far too time-consuming to fully include the areas which could really benefit from true integration.
Plant-4D however, allows true integration previously unheard of due to its completely open project database. This allows you to easily interface with other disciplines such as instrumentation, stress analysis and even maintenance and purchasing departments or any in-house databases you may have.
Sophisticated use of the data from the CAD department could be integrating with maintenance departments, for conducting Hazop studies or even automating cost/ tendering systems. This means that Plant-4D can also be considered as data management software, of which CAD is just one part.
Due to Plant-4D storing ALL information in an open database, these files are considerably smaller than would be if stored in standard CAD format. This thus allows for far faster transmitting of data over the Internet or company Intranet to other users. A project may, for instance, be started at one office and easily transferred to another office where it could be continued. In one recent test an AutoCAD model, when stored as a Plant-4D database file, was less than 1/40th the size! This obviously allows for a far more efficient way of transmitting and storage of data.
CAD Platform Independence
Plant-4D is CAD platform independent, offering the ability to use either AutoCAD or MicroStation in a specific project. In fact a complete, intelligent project may be started in AutoCAD and be completed in MicroStation, or both platforms may be used simultaneously on the same project! This is achieved by storing data not as graphics, but purely in an alphanumerical database. This enables a project to be edited and viewed in either platform. Projects may, however, be saved in either AutoCAD DWG or MicroStation DGN format if desired.
Plant-4D has a single project-wide database where ALL project data is stored. If a P&ID is generated; and, say, a 3D model is then started, only the ADDITIONAL dimensional and positional information is required. All other information is automatically inherited. Thus a component changed in a 3D model will automatically change the information stored for the 2D General Arrangement, etc. Plant-4D can use Access, Oracle, or SQL server. Due to ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity) any compliant database may be used, to offer a product that integrates so much more easily than any other. This is important if you wish to make use of Plant Design data linked to other disciplines and areas not normally associated with CAD, such as purchasing databases, and maintenance scheduling.
Due to the open nature of the database, existing non-intelligent drawings and data can be imported via data exchange modules. This includes any existing specifications or special components currently used. There are a variety of formats available.
As ALL Plant-4D data is stored in an open database format, reporting on any type or amount of information is possible. Standard reporting formats are supplied by CEA for line lists, valve schedules, etc. but, as most companies have their own in-house formats, the forms and reports are easily customizable to represent your own specific data.
Plant-4D software employs the very latest in software engineering to provide you with a fast, stable software tool. Additionally each component in the system, be it a valve, pump or vessel, is stored as an object, rather than a collection of lines, arcs and circles. This enables the software to contain more intelligence about components in the project and hence rules can be applied such as connection details for error free draughting.
Versions/ System requirements
Please contact the nearest CEA office or distributor to you for the lastest information about versions and system requirements.
Object Linking and Embedding is available within the Plant-4D suite. This allows documents, for instance, to be `hooked-up` to components in a Plant-4D module. E.g. a Word document can be linked to a valve containing say, maintenance information. Whilst in the Plant-4D environment, this document can be automatically viewed by clicking on this valve in the model, P&ID or G.A.
Plant-4D software for Operators
CEA believes Plant Design software should be used as a tool and not for it's own sake. Application software has for so long needed considerable expertise, not just to operate, but to set up and to customize to the clients specific requirements. This is the invisible cost of CAD software ownership, the time taken to actually set up the projects prior to any draughting work.
Plant-4D is different. It uses industry standard databases to enable you to easily configure and customize widely different areas, from generating new 3D components to altering output reports. It has been developed with the guidance of engineers from the industry to provide a product that has an intuitive feel. One that allows you to spend time on what your company does best, and not needing considerable software expertise!
Plant-4D software for Software Engineers
Many companies want advanced integration features from their CAD software, often a basis for their data-warehousing strategy. In the past this has required considerable training with complicated and time-consuming exercises to link the CAD data into other disciplines and departments. This has been due to the proprietary nature of the products, their databases or graphics engines.
Due to the unique way that the data is stored, Plant-4D can easily be configured by CEA or by using your own, existing in-house database personnel. Plant-4D stores ALL of its data in completely open project databases which of course means that familiarity with databases enables the user to configure the Plant-4D data as required without any of the above drawbacks. The power of this ability should not be underestimated!