Shane E. Kling is a Chemical Engineer and Founder of Ei Holdings, a conglomeration of CAD + compliance companies serving the oil and gas, chemical and other industries. In his work with Environmental intellect (Ei), EiCAD and other firms, he has supported more than 150 owner-operators with CAD + … More »
Is it Dumb to Have Smart P&IDs?
September 9th, 2017 by Shane Kling
The most valuable source of engineering data for a facility is arguably the piping and instrumentation diagram. From its inception and well into daily operational use, P&IDs are the lifeblood of a manufacturing facility. (for the full version of this blog, go to www.ei-cad.com)
But while the possibilities associated with maintaining “smart,” or data-driven P&IDs versus standard AutoCAD/Microstation equivalents, there are endless barriers to progress that remain. Take, for example, the meeting I had with one of the largest U.S. integrated petroleum refining / petrochemical facilities. Here’s a brief synopsis of the meeting and opportunity:
Now, I went into this meeting sufficiently prepared with value propositions, cost-benefit analyses, and the like. I even had an Autodesk Plant Technical Specialist join me to showcase the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and power Autodesk Plant-3D offers to an owner-operator who integrates its 3D model, isometrics and P&IDs. Slam dunk, right? (especially when Environmental, not Engineering nor CAD is footing 80% of the P&ID bill). Nope – I shot an “air-ball” this time.
And should a client forgo the P&ID conversion process if they can’t get all departments on the same page? The answer to both is no, of course. Even if every department doesn’t get behind smart P&IDs, there are numerous reasons for a facility to make the leap.
Because initial work is required to digitize a P&ID, I refer to a phenomenon called the “P&ID Wall,” i.e., the point beneath which our costs need to fall in order for facilities to be most inclined to make the switch (regardless if they knew it would save them hundreds of thousands in the future). When we first started converting P&IDs in 2008, the cost ran as high as $500 per P&ID! Now, we are pushing the envelope below $100 for P&ID Conversion (an 80% / 5X reduction from then to now).
A wise man and colleague once shared with me the principle of the “Early Adopter Curve” that Silicon Valley accepts in which new products become industry standard after 13.5% adoption.
Not everyone is into change however. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 28% of Americans are strong early adopters of new technologies. I have no idea how many have ended up in decision-making positions in facilities, but I know that these are our kind of people, and they appreciate all we’ve accomplished and the direction we’re headed in. Four thoughts that assure me we’re on-track:
Still think smart P&IDs are dumb? Feel free to call or email me after checking out this blog that I wrote almost 3 years ago for those of you who are still “non-believers” in smart P&IDs: P&ID DATA (not Diagrams).
Otherwise, if you have comments, questions, or contentions – please share!
P.S. This blog is dedicated to our early adopters at Ei and EiCAD who, over the last 9 years, have believed, trusted and had faith in us to deliver better work products with intelligent P&IDs, point clouds and 3D models (you know who you are: M,L,P,S,A,W,E,R,B,D,Q,F,T,O,G,H,K,C…and the list goes on!)