Fast-Tracking with 3D CAD

When officials at Wyckoff Inc., a chemical manufacturer with facilities in South Haven, Mich., wanted to expand production capacity by building an additional 18,000-square-foot plant, they challenged the project team to design, build and commission the new facility in nine months. The result was a fast-track project with design and construction efforts running in parallel.

01/01/1970


When officials at Wyckoff Inc., a chemical manufacturer with facilities in South Haven, Mich., wanted to expand production capacity by building an additional 18,000-square-foot plant, they challenged the project team to design, build and commission the new facility in nine months. The result was a fast-track project with design and construction efforts running in parallel.

VECO, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, was contracted for the construction and engineering of the new pharmaceutical production plant. The firm's project team attributes its success in meeting a tight schedule, in part, to the accurate development of a three-dimensional (3D) computer model for the plant.

Faced with large quantities of small piping and tight spacing, designers felt that a two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) approach would take much longer to generate the section and elevation drawings, with a greater risk of interferences and errors. Instead, it was decided to model the entire plant in 3D and use the 3D model to address spacing issues during the design process, rather than during construction.

The approach enabled sections of the design to be generated and annotated in hours instead of days. At the same time, 3D modeling made it possible to create isometric drawings automatically based on the information contained in the model, thereby achieving a high level of accuracy.

Designers entered data—location, size, specifications—into the 3D model, which was reviewed daily for interferences. Through close coordination, any conflicts were resolved. Design checkers verified all input and confirmed that the design matched the piping and instrument drawings. Finally, the model was reviewed by project team members.

The piping, fitting and valve data were entered directly into the project database; the project piping material specifications were a direct product from this database. Another time-saving feature was the fact that as soon as a section of the model was completed, a bill of materials could be generated simply by querying the database. The bills were generated prior to the formal issuance of drawings.

In the past, when faced with a plant that was very congested, VECO designers used plastic models to review operating and maintenance clearances, interferences, process designs and locations of all components. Now, they use 3D-CAD models to look at the same items in real time.

For more information about CAD software from Rebis, circle 104 on the Reader Service Card on page 73.





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