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Interview Bentley Discover, Why the Right Time for Integration is Just Now

| Author / Editor: Interview conducted by Anke Geipel-Kern* / Dominik Stephan

The work on an interface to perfect Open Plant/Comos integration has been in full swing for a year now. How close are we to seeing the results? –We thought it was time to ask the question, and so at this year’s Hanover Fair we caught up with Anne-Marie Walters, Global Marketing Director at Bentley Industrial Process & Operations.

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Bentley and Siemens are working on the missing link of integration.
Bentley and Siemens are working on the missing link of integration.
(Picture: © Sergey Nivens - Fotolia.com)

The timing – the 2013 Hannover Fair – was well chosen: At the world's premier industrial showfloor, Siemens Industry Automation and Bentley Systems announced a new strategic collaboration in support of the processing industry. The aim of this collaboration, as stated in the announcement, was to develop interoperability between Siemen’s engineering software solution Comos and Bentley’s Open Plant engineering design software suite. A better interoperability, the companies hoped, could help to to capture, share and make further use of data over the entire lifecycle of a plant across all disciplines from Engineering through Plant Operations in the future. A year has gone by since then, but with no concrete results to show it seems.

Our interview–partner, Anne-Marie Walters, has a more positive insight into the project’s progress, we found out. Walters is responsible at Bentley for the market position of the company in the global processing plant industry and of Bentley’s lifecycle information management products for process plants and provided us with deep insights into the projects status. One industrial partner involved in the pilot project is known to the Editorial Team, and Walters asks us to keep the information under wraps for the time being. However, she promises that it might be possible to say more at the Namur conference in the fall.

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? Open Plant is an 2D/3D engineering tool. Comos, however, is an integrated database-based engineering solution. How do these two tools work with each other?

Walters: We refer to Open Plant as one of Bentley’s “emerging pacesetters” in that it allows project teams to take advantage of Bentley’s BIM advancement by employing an increased depth of information modeling to enable optioneering and the better-performing plant assets that result. It also enables an increased breadth of information mobility, for enhanced collaboration from design into construction, resulting in better-performing projects.

In a recent industry briefing, Monica Schnitger, founder, president, and principal analyst of Schnitger Corporation, aptly explained that Siemens’ Comos is often used alongside 3D plant modeling software to manage design data, tying together P&IDs, electrical and instrumentation, control systems and other information in a single, consistent hub.

This gives design engineers and operating personnel the appropriate data at each phase of a plant’s lifecycle. When Comos is integrated with Simatic PCS 7 for automation, Siemens provides a complete process, instrumentation and control system workflow, from system design through automation, operation and maintenance. Schnitgers analysis of how the two offerings work together was dead on. The interoperating Open Plant and Comos will enable plant designers and owner/operators to validate Comos P&IDs, electrical schematics and other data against the 3D model in Open Plant and manage markups from 3D back to Comos, creating an effective round-tripping mechanism.

Legacy models as well as models from third-party systems can be incorporated in the design workflow through i-model containers. This maintains the value of existing asset data and can jump-start new designs. Later phases of this project will allow Comos users to do offline editing of P&IDs and other schematics.

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