SolidPlant plans to plant itself in Australian factories

A Dutch company is hoping to change the way we design plants.

SolidPlant is a plant design application built with 3D CAD the software SolidWorks. Though SolidWorks does a lot of things well, it has its limitations when it comes to process plant design.

“The heart of the system is the piping system,” Prapas Tangadulrat, products development director with SolidPlant, told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

“The piping system, if you’re using normal mechanical CAD like SolidWorks, it cannot handle it. So what we do is we offer pipe specification; pipe designers know this is very complex, very difficult.”

Considerations include piping specification and structure.

“For example a normal pipe, you have a four-inch pipe, but in the real world, a petrochemical plant may have 100, for example,” said Tangadulrat.

Started by Arno Hoogendoorn, SolidPlant recognises the strengths of SolidWorks (its parametric modelling interface, while improving on its shortcomings for the purpose of plant modelling, marrying its design strength with a database of pipe possibilities and isometric designs. It launched in April 2012.

The uses for the technology are potentially vast.

“The plant design market is huge. Petrochemical, oil and gas, wastewater, pharmaceutical, food industry, whatever,” said Tangadulrat.

He believes these users and many more besides could benefit from SolidPlant.

“So we offer SolidWorks related to our database, piping spec database. So the designer is just routing whatever they want,” explained Tangadulrat.

The system takes care of all the specifications, said Tangadulrat, with a wide range of building materials and the ability to generate isometric representations for installation.

“This is a huge demand for the system. Right now we classify ourselves as a mid-range plant design. You have high-end, like Aviva and Intergraph. You have low-end like Autodesk 3D, or CADWorks. We are mid-range. We offer a better user interface.”

The application runs on top of SolidWorks, with SolidPlant requiring SolidWorks 2012.

While the solution shouldn’t take too long to learn for a piping designer who uses SolidWorks, the company concedes there’s a little training required, approximately a working week.

SolidPlant currently has users in Thailand, Holland and Slovenia, said Tangadulrat, and plans to enter the Australian market very soon.

“In Q2, we will be there!” said Tangadulrat with a smile. 

Disclosure: Manufacturers’ Monthly is attending SolidWorks World 2013 as a guest of Dassault Systemes.

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