Project Setup: Equipment Models with CADWorx Plant Professional

After a long hiatus, we are back on the project setup discussion.  Previously we looked at getting our coordinates setup to work with a project UCS and Isogen settings.  Now we will move on to a new topic – setting up equipment models.  We won’t be covering the details of modeling a specific piece of equipment, but showing some options for putting models together.  Again, remember this type of setup is geared more towards plant design less than skid or even small (-20 line) piping jobs.

The decision points hinge on the amount of equipment you have to model, the type of the equipment you are modeling, and the necessary deliverables.

I suppose ideally, you would have one drawing file with all your equipment models in it.  However, in some cases having a single model for equipment becomes unpractical.  For example, if you have more than one level (floor) of a building where the equipment is set, or you have a lot of models (20+?) having one model will likely end up causing delays or extra work. 

My recommendation is to have a single drawing file named with the equipment tag for each model.  For each area we need we will x-reference the equipment models in as attachments and place them where they are needed in 3D-space.  By using equipment area models, we can issue GA’s or general plan layouts drawings that don’t have any piping (and no piping layers to freeze or isolate).  Of course, by using this method you will have to attach your equipment area model to your piping area models.

At this point it isn’t important to use the coordinates.dwt template to create the Equipment models as each piece of equipment should be created at 0,0,0. The overall equipment model will need to use the coordinate template because the equipment will be located at the true 3-D coordinates.

The articles linked below discuss the differences between overlay and attached (every designer should understand this distinction).

Xref-AutoCAD Help

Xref-CAD Notes

Hopefully this picture will be worth 1000 words:


While you could create all the equipment in one model, I avoid it for the following reasons. 

  1. It’s easier to locate a file with the equipment tag name, than to locate a piece of equipment in one of several master area models. 
  2. We can have as many people as we want building equipment models if each is working on an individual file.
  3. Though rare, drawing have been corrupted and I’d rather restore a small piece of the puzzle than the whole puzzle.  Of course with a good backup, this is not an issue.

Now that we understand what is happening, we can have a designer go through all the equipment drawings and create the 3D models necessary in CADWorx Equipment.  He should keep track somewhere of the name of the equipment drawing used, the revision and date of that drawing, and the 3D file corresponding to that drawing.  This role is responsible for maintaining the models and revisions. 

Feel free to comment or Contact Us if you have suggestions, ideas or questions.

In  the next Equipment post, we will look at how to put together some of the more difficult pieces of Equipment.