Piping design software is an inevitable part of piping engineering in recent times. Using these piping software packages a piping engineer/designer prepares 3D and 2D models of the exact plant. The exact piping arrangements are produced with exact dimensions, coordinates, and sizes similar to the real plant which helps in actual space estimate, clash checking, pipe routing, and supporting. In the market there are various piping design software packages are available. So, choosing piping software for a specific application is really difficult as so many choices are available. In this article, We will list down the top piping design software packages which are widely used in the piping and pipeline design industry.
Types of Piping Design Software Programs
Depending on the software application capabilities, piping design software packages can be categorized into two groups. They are
- 3D software packages and
- 2D software packages
Top 3D Piping Design Software Programs
3D piping design software packages are widely popular as they depict the complete plant layout in a 3-dimensional environment. 3D plant models are very easy to understand as it is exactly similar to the real plant. Widely used common 3D piping design software packages are:
- SP3D by Hexagon
- E3D/PDMS by AVEVA
- AutoPLANT 3D by Bentley
- AutoCAD Plant 3D by AutoDESK
- CADWorx Plant Professional by Hexagon
Piping Design Software Package: Smart Plant 3D or SP3D
Smartplant 3D or SP3D is one of the best plant design solution programs developed by Intergraph (Hexagon). This is a next-generation, data-centric, rule-driven piping design software package that is specifically designed to take care of all the critical elements of plant design. This truly iterative engineering design solution is capable of designing the plant, marine, material handling facilities with ease in a highly developed 3D environment providing a competitive edge to all piping specialists. With its high-end graphics, SP3D by Hexagon PPM provides the ease of creating, analyzing, modifying, and optimizing a plant design model. Smartplant 3D as piping design software helps to effectively manage the schedule and cost for fast-track projects. The main features of this piping design software program are:
- Global Engineering and Data Reuse capability, Concurrent engineering.
- Multi-discipline design helping in better decisions.
- Design reuse for getting a competitive edge.
- Ease of use that increases productivity.
- More effective design reviews and communication.
- Design accuracy and consistency.
- Task-based modeling
Piping Design Software Program: E3D/PDMS
PDMS or Plant Design Management System is also one of the highly popular 3D CAD piping design software programs developed by AVEVA. This is one of the oldest (Started in 1976) high-end software packages in use. However, AVEVA has decided to phase out this software from the market by 2024 and will replace PDMS with their latest, most advanced 3D software E3D Design.
AVEVA E3D is more powerful, advanced, and efficient as compared to the earlier PDMS. E3D as a piping design software solution saves more time as less time is required for administrative tasks. With E3D organizations can improve the working speed, quality, and profitability altogether. The main features of the E3D software are:
- Highly efficient and fast
- Great flexibility and agility
- Remote working feasibility
- Widely secure
- Easy to adopt
- State of the art user interface
- Automatic and accurate generation of drawings from 3D models.
AVEVA E3D provides clash-free multi-discipline 3D plant systems for process, power, marine plants for both greenfield and brownfield projects. AVEVA E3D Design users also have the capability to interact with laser scan data and data from traditional static scanners and mobile, airborne and hand-held devices from a wide choice.
AutoPLANT 3D as Piping Design Software Package
AutoPLANT 3D is an intelligent, spec-driven, sophisticated 3D plant design and modeling software application developed by Bentley, USA. By creating intelligent piping layout drawing, equipment, raceways, and isometrics in a single application, the AutoPLANT 3D modeler saves time and cost. The software uses an AutoCAD-based application for design work which is quite easy to use, customize, and administer.
AutoPLANT also provides a tightly integrated set of tools for interactive routing and placement in a 3D multi-discipline environment. Some benefits of AutoPLANT 3D as a piping design software program are:
- A single streamlined application,
- Easy integration with other Bentley products.
- High information mobility,
- Lower risk due to industry-proven mature software
- Easy design review and clash detection.
Piping Design Software Program: AutoCAD Plant 3D
AutoCAD Plant 3D is a modern plant design solution developed by Autodesk. Built on the AutoCAD platform, this pipe design software package adds modern 3D models of piping, equipment, and support structures. It has the ability to generate isometrics very quickly. Integrated to AutoCAD P&ID, the program is quite easy to model and edit which increases productivity and lowers cost. More details about AutoCAD Plant 3D can be found here
Piping Design Software Package: CADWorx Plant Professional
CADWorx Plant Professional is also a next-generation plant design and automation package to create intelligent and realistic 3D models. Developed by Intergraph (Hexagon), CADworx has the complete DWG file-based range of tools providing unparalleled flexibility and collaboration. The software works on AutoCAD or BricsCAD platform and very easy to create complex 3D plant models. The main features of CADWorx Plant Professional as piping design software are:
- Specification-driven design tools
- HVAC ducting and cable tray routines
- Model/P&ID synchronization
- Detects clashes/collisions
- Isogen auto-isometrics
- Detailed bill of materials
- Real-time design status
- Equipment modeling
- Piping specifications in metric and imperial formats
- Auto-routing to create quick 3D piping models
Top 2D Piping Design Software Packages
Even though most of the companies prefer 3D software packages for their plants, still the use of 2D piping design software programs is continuing. The most common 2D piping software packages that are widely used are:
Other Piping Design Software Programs
There are many other piping design software packages with limited uses like
- PDS (rarely used in recent times)
- M4 Plant
- G4 Plant
- Pipe Designer 3D
- Autodesk Inventor
- Autodesk Revit
- Solidworks, etc
Which is the Best Piping Software?
From the above list of piping software packages, the following two programs have unparalleled advantages and so ruling the piping design software market for big complex plants. Both of these two software programs have quite good features:
- E3D by AVEVA and
- SP3D by Hexagon
Selection of Piping Design Software Program
The selection of an appropriate piping design software package is not easy. The selection process depends on various factors which must be studied beforehand. The important parameters for selecting the best piping design software are:
2D/3D Capability: Depending on the project requirements, the software environment 3D or 2D must be decided before selecting the piping design software.
- Price: The economy plays an important role in all business decisions. Hence, the piping design software cost with respect to the value must be studied.
- Technical support: Technical and customer support is one of the main criteria for choosing any software program. It is always preferable to choose the software which provides 24X7 live support.
- Ease of Use: Easy software packages are always preferable.
- Software Compatibility: User-friendly, compatible software programs should be selected which provides easy sharing options using common business tools like MS Office, PDF, etc.
- Templates and Symbols Library: Piping design software programs having inbuilt templates and exhaustive symbols libraries are always preferred.