AutoCAD Plant 3D
Webb’s Site Designs Ltd (WSDL) has invested in AutoCAD Plant 3D Process Piping Suite from Autodesk, in order to realize our mission.
Why Plant 3D?
While I realize that AutoCAD Plant 3D, is not well known in the Calgary area (2014), we know that the majority of CAD design throughout the region utilizes AutoCAD as the base engine for design. Autodesk has had Plant 3D on the market since 2009, and I have watched it develop and improve to a point where I believe that it is a very efficient software package for developing PFD’s, P&ID’s, Models, Orthographic, and Isometric drawings.
In 2010, I performed an extensive comparison of Plant 3D & Cadworx piping design software, the detailed results of the comparison can be found at https://djwebbscad.wordpress.com/software-comparison/
What about other Piping software packages?
There are many piping software packages that rely on Autocad,… Bentley Autoplant, Coade Cadworx, and Procad software, to name a few of the common packages I have used.
Licensing: In my opinion, the drawback to these software packages, is that they require Autocad in order to run. This means that as a software administrator, there are more licenses to manage, as you will require multiple licenses to run a single piping package.
Support: From 2004 to 2014, I have focused on software configuration, and user support. As any software administrator will tell you, our job is about finding work-arounds, and band-aid solutions, to resolve many problems. In our quest to find these solutions, we will often go to the 2 different software providers when seeking a solution. Third party software often disables AutoCAD functionality, or redefines standard commands to ensure the vertical software functions as planned. (An example of this is Bentley’s Autoplant, forcing Autocad to utilize a Single Document Interface (SDI) in order to meet the rules of the Autoplant software.)
Software Releases: Third party vendors that rely on the AutoCAD software are often left playing catch-up in order to release a new software version that sit’s on top of the latest release of Autocad.
Remember that term the “Big 3” as it refers to the North American Auto Industry, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler? Well because I like analogies, let’s pretend for a moment that:
- Autodesk = Ford (AutoCAD Engine)
- Intergraph = General Motors (Smartsketch Engine)
- Bentley = Chrysler (Microstation Engine)
Currently General Motors, and Chrysler supply some pretty sweet accessory packages that sit on top of the Ford chassis, and engine (AutoCAD). GM, and Chrysler are at the mercy of Ford with respect to their accessories, from a business perspective it is in their best interests to have a product that sits on top of their own chassis’ and engines. On the other end, I would bet that Ford isn’t too happy that the other manufacturers are making accessories for Ford vehicles, which is why I think Ford (Autodesk) created a piping software package in the first place. So it just makes sense that if you are a business, you want to be self-reliant, and not have to depend on a competitor to carry your product line.
Although they have not said so, I am wagering that GM and Chrysler, are working towards developing their accessory packages to sit on top of their own chassis and engines.
FYI, I like all the manufacturers, and have nothing bad to say about any of them, they are all good vehicles that will get you to your destination. But the above is a summary of my viewpoint, which has helped direct my decision when purchasing the AutoCAD Plant 3D Piping Design software.
Doug Webb (2012)