Last month saw the release of updates to two of Bentley's engineering applications: STAAD.Pro and AutoPIPE. Both programs are popular in plant engineering environments and now these two products work together to seamlessly allow structural and pipe stress engineers to exchange and update model data.
Better tools for collaboration across disciplines are increasingly important to companies facing shorter schedules and leaner, more efficient engineering staff. When asked "How have you improved productivity" earlier this year, American companies between $250 and $405 B responded that they had "deployed new types of collaborative software." When asked about their plans for innovation this year, the same companies responded that they intended to "make business processes more efficient."1
(1Source: 2010 Information Week 500 survey)
So, Bentley is helping to do this by streamlining the sharing of data between applications engineers use everyday. This is accomplished by the new PipeLink utility shipping with STAAD.Pro and AutoPIPE. This tight integration helps to speed up design by reducing the time to transfer piping data and support loads to hours, instead of weeks. Designs are more accurate and safer by considering structural sway and stiffness. Less assumptions required by engineers produces more accurate and realistic designs. Integration provides early clash detection, can yield costs savings on pipe supports and steel structure, and produces safer structure, piping, and equipment designs.
These are real world issues that are consistent in the plant market today. Some of the comments we've heard (emphasis added):
"There are some significant disconnects between the pipe stress folks and the structural folks. As far as conveying information from pipe stress to Structural, we typically provide the preliminary structural steel drawings to pipe stress for them to mark up loads on it. This is extremely inefficient. Also, piping should try to get as much structural steel put onto the steel drawings so that detailing, fabrication and erection can be done in a single pass."
"We have some serious frustrations in the way piping designers do their work, interfacing with structural and mechanical. I know the current process is disjointed, but it is all our tools provide us."
"We have standard loadings that take care of the major stuff.The thing that is a killer is the special case stuff.The thermal loads and piping movements, spring supports, anchor points etc.These types of things have special details, as well as high loads.In addition, a structural engineer can’t guess where these things are going to be or what they will look like. This has to come from the Piping Engineer and we have to sort through drawings. Most of the time this info gets to structural at best just before you issue the drawings. Sometimes it is after the first fabrication release has been sent out and you have to revise the drawings."
So, to address this need, Bentley has introduced bi-directional model exchange to both STAAD.Pro and AutoPIPE.
These links can transfer structural model, displacements & loads, and multiple piping models to AutoPIPE. The link can also transfer pipe support loads to STAAD. The model data can be transferred as many times as necessary with saved revision history for each transaction.
Some examples of how this integration can help your business' workflow:
On large or complex projects, multiple engineers might be involved with both the pipe model and/or the structural model. These can all be integrated. Here, pipe stress analysis is typically performed on each pipe line number in separate models by different team members. These can all be imported into the same structural model for analysis.
A combined piping model in AutoPIPE can be imported multiple times into the same STAAD model. Pipe-Structure connections are saved in STAAD. The changed support loads can be exported multiple times to STAAD and new piping loads are updated automatically.
The structural data can be imported into AutoPIPE to analyze the combined stiffness of the structure + piping model. Pipe-Structure connections are saved in both programs. Changed support loads can be exported multiple times to STAAD and new piping loads are updated automatically.
If you need to only use a small set of data, such as the STAAD displacement results in AutoPIPE, this is still possible. Here, only the structural displacements applied to pipe supports are used in AutoPIPE, but these can be updated multiple times.
This exciting new capability can greatly streamline your company's cross-discipline work and reduce costly errors resulting from manual data exchange designs.
To learn more, use your SELECT user account to watch an eSeminar on our PipeLink Integration tool:
This is cross-posted on the Structural Analysis & Design blog.