The benefits of 3D plant design packages in practice

Cambridge, UK and Pittsford, NY –: Plant construction companies have to repeatedly contend with changes to the design.


If the customer requires changes to your plant design shortly before the project is completed, then a forward-looking 3D design created with a flexible and dynamic CAD system can save the day.

Cambridge, UK and Pittsford, NY –: Plant construction companies have to repeatedly contend with changes to the design. Martin Tompkins, Senior Mechanical Designer at WSP CEL, designs process plants. He knows that it’s a client’s privilege to change their mind, often at the last minute. Here he explains to us how large-scale 3D design software keeps his clients happy.

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MPDS4 enables rapid changes in 3D pipework

Customers often change their requirements

Project Management and Engineering firm WSP CEL designs process plants for pharma, food, chemical and energy providers. One of the main demands on its design software is flexibility when plans change. “Clients update requirements regularly, often halfway through a project or later,” says Martin. “When last-minute requests drop on your desk, 3D plant design software really comes into its own.”

Tackling Unexpected Changes

Process changes, involving changes in line sizes, valves, pumps or machinery often have the most far-reaching consequences. Despite previous detailed design work, the requirements and priorities for plant design often change in the final project phase. “This could mean throwing out entire layouts, changing 30% of the plant.” says Martin

4x Quicker in 3D

In pharma projects, layout changes affect air flow rates and the air handling units, requiring adjustments to ductwork. “Clients have to pay for design changes, so we need to make them as fast as possible.” says Martin. WSP CEL delivers its projects with CAD Schroer’s MPDS4 PLANT DESIGN software. Its interactive, catalog-driven 3D design approach allows engineers to quickly lay out complete process installations.

Making unexpected last-minute changes

“We can respond immediately to last-minute changes, even making them in project meetings,” says Martin. “In 3D, you only make a change once. All the derived 2D drawings update automatically. With 2D, you’d have to change multiple drawings: the layouts, different views on detail drawings; the pipe isometrics… taking at least 4 times longer, with no way to visualise the result.”

Fast Feasibility, High Quality

MPDS4’s 3D visualisation delivers rapid proof-of-concept and effective change communication. “A customer recently wanted to change their oil well tree type, which entails surface pipework modifications. With MPDS4, it took 2-3 days to prove feasibility and complete the design change. In 2D it would have taken 2-3 weeks.” Martin explains, “And with automatic interference checking we can avoid any mistakes caused by the rush to make last-minute changes, minimising the risk of ugly surprises on-site.”

Not everyone is a Last-minute Larry, but often plant project requirements and priorities shift late in the day, no matter how careful the initial scoping. Being armed with flexible 3D engineering design software, and a matching flexible attitude, enables WSP CEL to save huge costs and build customer loyalty.

Being armed with MPDS4, a flexible 3D engineering design software, and a matching flexible attitude, WSP CEL saves huge costs and build customer loyalty.

About CAD Schroer

CAD Schroer is a global software development company and engineering solutions provider, helping to raise the productivity and competitiveness of customers working in manufacturing and process engineering, including the automotive sector and its supply chain, the energy sector and public utilities. CAD Schroer has offices and subsidiaries throughout Europe and in the United States.

CAD Schroer’s product portfolio includes 2D/3D CAD, plant design, factory layout and data management solutions. Customers in 39 countries rely on MEDUSA®, MPDS™, M4 ISO and M4 P&ID FX to provide an efficient, flexible and integrated design environment for all phases of product or plant design – cutting costs while raising quality.

CAD Schroer’s product and service portfolio also includes Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) solutions. Together with its customers, CAD Schroer develops immersive AR & VR apps using existing 3D CAD data for a wide range of applications, including impressive sales presentations, interactive training workshops, and servicing and maintenance guides. CAD Schroer apps are also used by distributed design teams to collaboratively review designs in virtual meeting rooms.

CAD Schroer emphasizes close customer partnerships and supports its clients’ objectives through extensive consultancy, training, development, software support and maintenance services.