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March 05, 2007
daratechPLANT 2007—Impressions from My Desktop, Part III
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on AECcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

daratechPLANT 2007—Impressions from My Desktop, Part III

by Susan Smith

The following is Part III in a series of articles covering news announced at daratechPLANT 2007.

In an interview this week with Patrick Holcomb, Executive VP of Global Business Development, Process Power & Marine (PPM) Division of Intergraph, he outlined the direction Intergraph is taking in PPM presented at daratechPLANT 2007, January 29-31 2006 and discussed how Intergraph is doing since they were bought by Texas Pacific Group.

AECWeekly: What’s changed since Intergraph was bought by Texas Pacific Group?

Patrick Holcomb:
Very little – within PPM we haven’t had a change of a single person or single position at all. The only changes we’ve experienced are at lower levels. We’re hiring aggressively across the board but are constrained by the market. The market for talented people right now is very tight in this industry, it’s a real challenge to get the right people.

In reality, Texas Pacific bought Intergraph because they thought it was undervalued in the market since it was kind of a technical and complex asset, and I think they’ll probably do what they do with all the other acquisitions: hold it and sell it in five to seven years. They have been very supportive of the Intergraph management team across the board. We’ve had no changes in personnel to corporate level, either.

We have more push than ever before to be more aggressive. Many roadblocks have been removed as far as doing more and larger acquisitions.

What is Intergraph’s current market position?

Patrick Holcomb: We announced at the end of last year that we had 31% top line revenue growth for the PPM Division. One of the things that was most important to us was the take up of SmartPlant 3D. We’ve been working on the development of 3D for several years, SmartPlant 3D is the newest innovation to hit 3D modeling and design for a couple of decades. We think that’s going to be a pretty big innovation for the market. We saw a 200% growth rate in 2006 from 2005 in 3D purchases, including software maintenance and revenue. Most of what we’re doing is increasing our productivity of implementation rather than just hiring more heads to do it the same way.

AW: What is Intergraph’s stand on ISO 15926?

Patrick Holcomb: We’re a big believer of standards. Intergraph is on the board of POS Caesar, which manages the creation of ISO 15926. We support that standard and many others. We have long been a supporter of standard database technology so that people can get data from their systems for all the other ad hoc requirements that maybe we haven’t thought of in our product.

Interoperability is an opportunity for us. A number of doors are opening in the industry. SAP is trying to re-invent themselves by embracing this NETWeaver technology. That’s opened a lot of doors for us, so we can offer clients better product-supported integrations in to their ERP systems. We’ve made a couple of announcements recently with DCS vendors and they’ve joined our SmartPlant Alliance program so that we can improve integration with the DCS systems.

AW: Does the introduction of Autodesk into the plant market impact Intergraph in any way?

Patrick Holcomb: We don’t have a lot of low level CAD business, most of our business is intelligent 3D modeling. We do schematics, for instance, we have a pretty substantial marketshare and success in the instrumentation design business, but none of that is done with CAD anymore, at least on large scale projects, not where you need a lot of productivity. AutoCAD is a great tool for what it does. We don’t see basic CAD platforms as being a big competitor to intelligent automated rule driven systems.

AW: What products were you showcasing at daratechPLANT this year?

Patrick Holcomb: SmartPlant Enterprise for Owner Operators (SPO) has had very good take up. Intergraph has very deep penetration into the operations and maintenance arena in the instrumentation space. We’ve had tremendous success in managing instrumentation data in the Owner Operator space, particularly for operating plants. Instrumentation data changes more than any other asset data in the plant, and what we’ve realized from that is there is nobody that occupies the box of engineer or technical asset data management in the plant. If you just look at the IT stack, that box is missing. If I asked you who the ERP is, you could tell me if I asked you who the
maintenance vendors are, you could tell me, etc. but no one knows who the vendor is who supports the technical asset information. It tends to break down into a conglomeration of file cabinets, random pieces of paper and information in different systems, none of which are well designed to support it.

Instrumentation is a unique type of asset information representing anywhere from 30 to 40% of the total cost of a plant. Our SmartPlant Instrumentation tool has been very successful, and we think we can expand that and manage all of the technical asset or engineering data of the plant, really creating the concept of having the engineering information system as one of the pieces in the IT architecture that the CIO thinks about for a plant.

We had a client who said they had a 0.3 % increase in up time by deploying SmartPlant Instrumentation. 0.3% uptime on a $1 billion asset on an investment that was $1 million is not bad. They may have a margin that is in the range of a $1 million a day. That’s a $1 million a year. If they can cover not only instrumentation but the rest of their asset information, that could be very attractive. Since BP had a couple of explosions, now all clients realize the need from a safety perspective to have good integrity of their engineered technical asset information and they know there’s a lot of liability if you don’t.

AW: What other trends are you seeing in the plant process marketplace?

Patrick Holcomb:
There are a couple of minor trends on the technology innovation side, in addition to 3D and interoperability. We recently purchased Alias, whose flagship product Isogen set the de facto standard for generating automated isometrics. They had a couple of other new neat technologies which we’re launching: one called Spoolgen which allows us to get into the supply chain deeper. It’s a tool that’s integrated with the isometric generation capabilities of our products and many others, and allows fabricators to automate a lot of the detailing work they used to do. They used to re-draft everything and then do the detailing, welds, contact points, etc. It
also allows SmartPlant Enterprise to better integrate into the overall supply chain and doesn’t isolate us just to engineering.

We have another product called SmartPlant Process Safety that allows us to automate HAZOPs. It really reduces risk for owner operators, because they have a standard way of doing HAZOP analysis. They codify a lot of rules, which makes them less dependent on an individual person. It reduces risk and also helps to address the owner operator’s problems with the aging workforce, who have important safety knowledge that could walk out the door when this workforce retires.

We’re seeing tremendous movement in nuclear. Everyone has realized that the marriage to crude oil is fraught with risk and most countries have realized it’s probably worth dealing with some of the risks of nuclear just to get some diversification of energy supply. The U.S. has been aggressive in doing that with their DOE 2010 program which has spawned a lot of activity in the U.S. around nuclear. We’re working with some technology vendors like GE to accelerate the deployment of nuclear capabilities and also improve the way they’re operated afterwards. The same thing that applies in your standard refinery applies in the nuclear space. They really need high
integrity asset information to run a good safe plant. The ROI is different. Nuclear plants have much higher integrity of asset information anyway, because of all the regulations. We can do that more efficiently and ensure better safety as a result. We’re working with GE in making SmartPlant Enterprise part of their handover to the owners and that works integrally with the SmartPlant Enterprise for Owner Operators strategy. We’re getting that technology injected way upstream, so it’s very cheap and fast when it comes to handover time and doesn’t cause problems in loss of fidelity in the information later on.

I think we’ll probably do $34 million in R&D investment this year. Being in that position and being in this growth wave in the industry, is very positive for us.

AW: What is Intergraph doing to address the worldwide lack of young engineers and/or encourage young engineers?

Patrick Holcomb:
We’ve got an advanced education program. We do a lot of work to make it easy for universities to get our software and get them trained. I think that will help people who are going into the design and engineering environments to be more usable and valuable faster when they come out. We’ve done that for many years and continue to do it around the world.

Innovation of these technologies, such as 3D, is a big deal if you want to attract young people, because they don’t like working in applications that are 25 years old and require line commands. New people are not used to applications that work like that. Intergraph introducing new technologies into the industry does a lot to lower the barriers for young people thinking about careers in engineering. We’re not talking directly to young people, but we are laying the foundation so that young people can come in and feel comfortable in an engineering organization and excel.

More daratechPLANT news:

Part I

Part II


Turner Construction Company, the nation's leading general builder, today announced that construction costs are projected to increase in the First Quarter of 2007. According to the Turner Building Cost Index, the First Quarter 2007 index will show a 1.59 percent increase in construction costs over the Fourth Quarter 2006 index and an 8.49 percent increase over the First Quarter 2006 index. This represents the smallest quarter-to-quarter percentage increase in the Index since first quarter of 2004.

Cimmetry Systems, an Agile Software company and global leader in collaborative visualization solutions, today announced that it will be hosting the AutoVue Customer Cimm'posium 2007, Cimmetry's first ever annual user and partner conference at the W Hotel in Montreal, Canada, on June 27-28, 2007, on the eve of Montreal's electrifying International Jazz Festival. For more information about the AutoVue Customer Cimm'posium 2007, please visit

shareCG beta, a new web community for Computer Graphics, Visual Effects, and 3D Animation/Art professionals and hobbyists, officially went online today. shareCG is the first CG dedicated website to share its revenue with site contributors. Everything on shareCG -- including videos, animation, art galleries, tutorials, 3D models, software, plug-ins, scripts, and CG news -- is free, as well as site membership and the opportunity to profit.

You can visit shareCG now at the
website, and register for membership

A city of the future – “Mwinda” – engineered by students from St. Thomas More School in Baton Rouge, has won the 2007 National Engineers Week Future City CompetitionTM. The students – Jake Bowers, 12, Emily Ponti, 14, and Krisha Sherburne, 12 – teamed up with their teacher Shirley Newman, and volunteer engineer mentor Guy Macarios. St. Thomas More was the winner of the Louisiana regional competition held on January 26 in Alexandria.

McGraw-Hill Construction, the provider of construction information and intelligence in North America and part of The McGraw-Hill Companies announced it will present the 2007 China Airport Construction Summit, May 14-15, 2007 in Xi'an, China, in collaboration with International Aviation Group (IAG), the largest professional publisher in China for the aviation and aerospace industries, and AVIATION WEEK, a sister unit at McGraw-Hill.

In a press release issued by the Vinyl Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) -- a private organization that promotes "green" building practices and materials -- has announced that on Feb. 26 it will release a final report on PVC from its Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC), and it will announce the process and next steps for moving forward.

In 2002, the USGBC formed a Task Group to evaluate the environmental and health performance of PVC and competing building materials in several product areas: drain/waste/vent pipe; windows, siding and flooring. In 2004, after reviewing nearly 2,500 studies, the Task Group issued a draft report that concluded PVC was as acceptable as the competing materials in products for green buildings and, in fact, that discouraging use of PVC "could steer designers to use materials which performed worse over their life cycles."


Intergraph Corporation today announced that COSCO Shipyard Group, a joint venture comprising five shipyards operated by China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) and Singapore's SembCorp Marine, will deploy the integrated Intergraph Marine Enterprise portfolio.

Contract Awards

AVEVA, provider of plant design and engineering lifecycle solutions, today announced that Fluor Corporation has selected AVEVA’s VNET solution to manage the information and handover requirements of a major engineering project in Africa. VNET is an application-independent, web-enabled platform for the integration and collaboration of asset information.


Cyon Research Corporation, a provider of analysis and consulting for engineering technology markets, today announced the newest analyst to join its team. Honored engineer, educator, executive, and consultant Dr. Russell F. Henke will join Cyon Research’s select group of knowledgeable experts on business and technology issues.

KEMA director of green building services, Andrea Traber, has been elected to a one-year term as president of the board of the Northern California Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-NCC). Traber has been an active member of the Northern California Chapter since 2001.

Strengthening the company’s wealth of expertise, Synergis Technologies Engineering Design Solutions Division announced today that two of its technical professionals, Peter Gehring and Bob Reid, passed rigorous certification exams for Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor software. Peter Gehring, Building & Infrastructure Solutions Director, is now an Autodesk Revit Implementation Certified Expert and Bob Reid, a Design Applications Engineer who joined the company only five months ago, achieved Autodesk Inventor Certified User status – a prerequisite to attaining the “Certified Expert” status.

New Products

Dexter + Chaney, developer of Forefront(TM) Construction Suite, and Quote Software, makers of QuoteExpress estimating software, have integrated their products for the plumbing, mechanical and HVAC markets. Labor and materials estimate information is transferred electronically from QuoteExpress into Forefront, using Forefront’s Esti-Link module. That saves time and increases accuracy for the contractor by eliminating manual re-entry of estimate data from QuoteExpress into Forefront.

upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. released its newest ebook "What's New? AutoCAD 2008" one full month before Autodesk ships its new AutoCAD 2008 software. The new PDF ebook is for everyone wondering about -- and competitors worrying over -- AutoCAD 2008 and its new feature lists. For more information, sample pages, and complete table of contents, visit

Avolve Software, developers of ProjectDox communication and collaboration software, has announced that the new version of ProjectDox fully supports the NavisWorks® NWD file format and the JetStream Freedom viewer from NavisWorks®, the leading solution provider for integrated construction 3D design review.

Around the Web

Two visions for delivering PCs to emerging nations, by Michael Kanellos, CNET News.com, February 28, 2007 - In its effort to bring computers to emerging nations, the nonprofit trade organization One Laptop Per Child has linked up with some of the world's largest contract manufacturers and component suppliers to build its low-cost machines.

Upcoming Events

Date: March 12 - 13, 2007
Place: San Diego, CA USA
Attend this conference to learn new design and construction solutions, benchmark your biocontainment facilities plans and operations, and get the details and lessons learned for successful BSL project outcomes. You'll get the details on:
  • Cost-effectively converting and upgrading space to BSL-rated use
  • New BSL operations and maintenance standards
  • Sorting out certification, validation, and commissioning issues
  • Developing efficient BSL facility solutions for people, materials, and safety SOPs
  • Design and construction details for BSL space in multi-function buildings
  • Special lab types (pharmaceutical containment, avian flu, bioaerosols, insectaries)
  • New equipment and technologies to plan for
  • Date: March 12 - 14, 2007
    Place: Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Command Alkon's Conference is one of the industry's largest and longest-running events. The format provides customers with product training, important industry updates, an industry specific tradeshow, nightly entertainment and an opportunity to share ideas by gathering together the largest knowledge base of Command Alkon products in the world - you! Our "Track" method of training will have something for everyone.
    Date: March 15 - 18, 2007
    Place: Venetian Resort Hotel

    Las Vegas, NV USA
    The name Deltek Insight conveys what this conference is all about – providing you with Insight into industry trends, best practices, what Deltek has planned for the future and how you can further leverage your investment in Deltek products to streamline operations, improve business performance and win new business.
    Date: March 19 - 22, 2007
    Place: Georgia International Convention Center

    Atlanta, GA USA
    North America’s leading international exposition and education resource for the asphalt, highway maintenance and traffic safety industries.
    Date: March 20 - 21, 2007
    Place: Somerset Inn

    Troy, MI USA
    The conference presents the work of technology leaders from the Test, CAE and CAD industries and is open to the entire engineering community. It offers an opportunity for attendees to gain additional knowledge and technical skill with the use of LMS systems and to discover new groundbreaking LMS products such as LMS Virtual.Lab and LMS Test.Lab.
    Date: March 21 - 24, 2007
    Place: San Antonio, TX USA
    The convention is designed for anyone interested in the construction industry and is interested in improving their bottom line and expanding their markets. If you are serious about ‘Understanding the Owner’s Advantage,’ you can’t afford to miss this convention.

    You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.