The third dimension is always important for engineering when the optimal utilization of the given area or its adaptation is involved. Whether in large halls or in the cabinet: the tangible, physical route, i.e. the topology of pipes, complete cable trays or individual wires must be exactly calculated and reliably documented for manufacturing. However, the associated connections can be found in the 2-D design. It is also the basis for the 3-D model of the plant, which is created by means of various 3-D disciplines and tools, e.g. for mechanical engineering, layout, pipes or construction. In order to achieve continuous consistency here, as well as between the two dimensions, AUCOTEC has been working closely with the 3-D expert Unitec for a long time. Thus, connections from AUCOTEC's platform Engineering Base (EB) to almost all common 3-D systems have already been implemented. As of EB version 2020 R2, there are two changes.
Fits any 3-D system
On the one hand, EB's own standardized middleware has been developed, which simplifies 3-D integration. This new "gateway" to the 3-D data is automatically included in all process and plant engineering licenses. The 3-D portal with its fully configurable mapping allows the export of 2-D information to the 3-D systems and the import of relevant 3-D data to EB via a tailored XML file. It is flexibly adaptable and can thus work with all common tools. Different templates can be defined because each 3-D system needs different information. The XML structure, however, always remains the same. In addition, all information is combined in EB's central data model.
Less installation and maintenance effort
On the 3-D side, regardless of whether written via the expert Unitec or by the user himself, only a plug-in that can read XML is required. The neutral XML basis means significantly less installation effort, and the plug-in is easier to maintain than traditional interfaces. The only requirement is that 2-D and 3-D agree on the same XML structure so that the reading and writing of information works and is comprehensible to all disciplines involved.
Web service facilitates independence
The second innovation is the web service for data exchange. Normally, an engineering system must be started in order to access its data. The new 3-D portal is one of the first microservices in EB. This means that it works in a client-independent manner via the web. The special 3-D service is virtually an extra layer in EB's architecture via which you can obtain data at any time – with the appropriate rights, of course. This is highly interesting, for example, for globally distributed disciplines, but also works with internal networks. Waiting times for the expert "at the other end" are therefore obsolete.
Thus, the 3-D portal not only opens the door (gateway) to mutual "understanding" of the second and third engineering dimensions, but also to greater flexibility and efficiency in plant design.