March 03, 2008
Update on Plant and Process – Part 1 of 2
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Update on Plant and Process – Part 1 of 2

by Susan Smith

Each year at daratechPLANT 2008 held in Houston at the end of January, several companies announce new products for the plant and process industry. Generally the news focuses around the big three: Bentley, AVEVA and Intergraph, who hold the top places in the plant and process industry. Just last year, Autodesk entered the scene with its Autodesk P&ID, still a young product compared with the well-established veterans out there, yet banking on the fact that 10-15% of the AutoCAD usership is in the plant design space.

Another interesting development in the plant and process industry is the growing adoption of the ISO 15926 standard. One of the top concerns among owner operators of plants is the lack of interoperability between software solutions and the resulting loss of revenue. ISO 15926 looks like a plausible answer to that huge dilemma. Some say that ISO 15926 doesn’t work for everything, but AVEVA, Bentley and Autodesk are moving forward with the standard, and this year Bentley released a product based on 15926, the first of its kind, making an aggressive commitment to building all their plant products on an open platform. FIATECH is an industry consortium housed at the University of Texas
in Austin. As such it is a not-for-profit and is driven by its members (Bentley, Intergraph and AVEVA are among them). Information can be obtained by going to the website, FIATECH and the POSC Caesar Association have been working on the implementation of the ISO 15926 standard over the years and members are developing tools to support it.

This article will focus on Bentley, AVEVA and Intergraph news.

Bentley Systems Announces OpenPlant

“Open Minds think Open Plant” was Bentley’s theme this year. Bentley grew 13% in revenues in 2007 and the company remains number one in owner operation utilization of software, according to their figures.

Daratech also measures platform software when measuring total sales for the plant market, and Bentley remains number one in that category with $330 million in sales, and number one in conceptual plant creation.

CEO Greg Bentley detailed the highlights of 2007, including the Enterprise License Subscription program, which has added 23 new subscribers in the year. Bentley stated that every daratechPLANT attendee owner operator has a Bentley site, and there are 716 owner sites. Introduced was Ed Neeler, chief marketing officer for Bentley, who has been with the company for one month.

Acquisitions announced in early January include Hevacomp, leader in building services and energy analysis software, and LEAP, leader in software for concrete bridges, and most recently for conceptual design, ECT’s promis•e software, the leader in electrical control systems.

Interoperability becomes paramount if the process involves exchanging models not only at the deliverable stage, but with the supplier stage, Mr. Bentley stated. Interoperability is important when you are distributing offshore work, and the exchange of plant information in this process is vital. Owner operators began to work on this problem and invested in a solution that has achieved ISO 15926 certification. “The standard comes at just the right time when this work flow requires it in the world, computing environments influenced by the Internet put a premium on data that describes itself, which is a hallmark of 15926. It’s a triple play from the supply side to bring this
solution to the industry.”

Bentley’s big announcement in the area of interoperability and ISO 15926 is Bentley OpenPlant, with a native persistent format of 15926. Owner operators have been bullish about their need for software compliance to global standards. An example is Gerry Gibson of Dow who is expecting a return on investment of 25% or 35% based on global standards. “Our commitment is all our products will become OpenPlant products,” claimed Mr. Bentley.

According to Director of Plant for Bentley Marketing, Anne Marie Walters, the company’s first use of 15926 was to achieve interoperability with their competitors’ products.

Ken Adamson, director of product marketing, announced that OpenPlant P&ID is based on 15926, and any application mapped to that standard can be used in OpenPlant. All the data created and stored in that product is available to users.

The release leverages the latest innovations vis-à-vis Bentley’s relationship with Microsoft technology. There is also innovation with MicroStation, including design history, so that you can create revision points within the P&ID and physical changes in the layout, then roll back to the P&ID’s shared files. Engineers can make changes in separate drawings or within the same drawing file.

Users have the ability to create deliverables in both DWG and DGN formats, and data is persistent in those formats regardless of the format in use, and all intelligence remains with the data.

Another feature is administrative content control, meaning you can lock down content you don’t want users to use.

The rules engine is in .NET to allow you to standardize the application to your needs.

You can generate a P&ID from an XML file in 15926 format. The XML format in 15926 is truly neutral and not vendor specific so that any person can buy and store the standard. Once you have modified the file and saved it back, it is saved in 15926 format and operates directly on top of the native file. No Bentley software is required to be able to manipulate the file. By using the 15926 format, true ownership of data is back in the owner’s hands, according to Bentley.

How do we deal with upgrade issues as standards evolve over time? “When you look at a standard, one part is a grammar of how the standard is defined, and the other part is a definition of individual components. The Open P&ID application leverages the definition of the grammar, so it can read any grammar. It will mature over time and add additional content, and the application will simply weave the information in,” said Mr. Bentley.

Open P&ID is in beta now, with shipping expected by the end of Q2. It is priced aggressively at $4,500.

“When a vendor says it’s time to put their product line on a standard, it’s time to believe it,” Mr. Bentley summarized.

AVEVA Announces PDMS 12.0

AVEVA announced the availability of AVEVA PDMS 12.0, the newest release of their PDMS product and part of the AVEVA Plant portfolio, which focuses its productivity enhancements on ease of use, rule-based design, automation and faster deployment.

Executive vice president and head of the Americas, Rob Glasier, said that customers will experience productivity gains in AVEVA PDMS 12.0 as a result of its being based on a proven design platform – a Microsoft Office look and feel for the advanced engineering applications for designing equipment, piping, ducting, structural steel and supports, making the design process much easier for customers.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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