Software provides single environment for controls documentation
During the initial phases of a control project, when team members are working to define and document what the requirements are for a control system, there are many software tool options that support these activities. The software chosen at the initial phases of a project is important because its strengths and weaknesses will affect both development and system support over the life of the ...
During the initial phases of a control project, when team members are working to define and document what the requirements are for a control system, there are many software tool options that support these activities. The software chosen at the initial phases of a project is important because its strengths and weaknesses will affect both development and system support over the life of the installation.
During development of a project many types of documents may be required. These can include process flow diagrams (PFDs), piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), Logic diagrams (Boolean and/or relay ladder logic), data flow diagrams, instrument lists, and instrument specification sheets. The required documents usually through the implementation phase to the sustaining phase as data sources for maintenance operations and enhancement or modification projects.
Visio Technical 2000 provides an effective set of capabilities for addressing the need for project documentation. This product is part of a family of offerings developed by the Visio Corp. (Seattle, Wa.) to address the visual communication of ideas in business without requiring computer aided design (CAD)-trained personnel.
Visio Technical provides a set of libraries of standard shapes that are targeted to a range of technical areas. Included in this set are solution libraries that assist in many phases of control design, such as process engineering, electrical engineering, and flowcharting. Each library contains sets of objects that can be inserted into a drawing to be sized and placed as required by simple point-and-click operations. A useful feature of these object-sets allows users to select which ones are available during a drawing session. This allows creation of a palette of objects that best suit the function to be documented. Should an object not be in the standard set provided, users can also create custom ones to fit application requirements.
Visio drawings allow use of multiple pages (similar to a Microsoft Excel workbook) under each drawing. This gives control engineers an easy way to organize a project because the "page linking" feature aids information flow between sheets. One advantage of these features—when used in conjunction with the ability to define "stencil" libraries—is that a project file can start with process engineers first building PFDs and P&IDs prior to the control engineers' development of these files using the stencils appropriate for them.
More documentation capability is available because graphic stencils an associated tag name and datasheet. Tag name prefixes are automatically assigned based on the stencil selected. However, users can override the automatic system if desired to use their company's standard nomenclature. Each datasheet can be saved as an individual drawing for the associated tag and templates unique to each stencil type, allowing complete project documentation within this package. It should be noted that as prepared, instrument sheets do not conform to ISA, international society for measurement and control, SP20 standards. The sheets can be customized as required, however, so SP20 standards can be incorporated.
The final product can be plotted directly or exported to common CAD packages. In addition to having these export capabilities, Visio Technical can also import files and objects from other CAD packages. The software can also export all equipment lists to Microsoft Excel. Visio Technical 2000 runs under Windows 95/98 and NT.
For more information, or Visio Technical 2000, visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .
Tracy J. Coates, P.E., contributing editor, is a consulting engineer at PCE Engineering (Johnson City, Tenn.)