Computer Aided Engineering CAE As Much (or as Little) as You Really Need– Why CAE Can Do More
There is a demand for modern I&C-CAE systems with standardized interfaces to remove the communication barriers in the heterogeneous system landscape. Meanwhile, however, they can do even more — thanks to their modular design they now go beyond their original function and also provide support for users, for instance in drawing up P&ID diagrams or in electrotechnical planning—without any technical overheads.
The common practice of using different engineering software solutions for the various different trades involved in building a process plant (Figure 1) has both advantages and drawbacks. It is certainly an advantage that the best solution can be used in each field.
One disadvantage is the number of systems that then have to be mastered and maintained. And continuous data exchange between the systems is no trivial matter either. On the other hand, powerful tools that cover the requirements of all areas and make data available everywhere once generated, are extremely complex and difficult to handle.
For this reason, in the operating phase artificially ‘slimmed down’ versions are often used for practical purposes. Thus, the originally detailed piping and instrumentation diagrams are often used simply in the form of ‘basic’ CAD, in order to make things simpler for employees.
However, this is no longer anything like ‘consistent As Built documentation’. If detailed data are needed again years later for extension or modernization, things get difficult. The original plans are not current anymore, and the changes made during the operative phase cannot be traced completely, if at all. Thus, integrated engineering is often only good in theory. So what is the best course for plant engineers and operators to adopt?
‘Both … and’ instead of ‘Either – or’
An interesting approach to integration is offered by Rösberg Engineering with its I&CCAE System Pro Dok NG (see Technology Box 1). The system supports the user in planning and constructing a plant and, together with the documentation tool Live Dok(see Technology Box 2), continues to provide support beyond the planning stage and throughout the whole life cycle of the plant—in operation and maintenance.
High priority is accorded to the exchange of revision-proof data with the wide range of software tools used in the planning, construction and operation of a plant. Meanwhile, Rösberg’s system also offers tailored software solutions for specific trades, which are available to users if they wish—but only if they wish.