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Plan plants faster with consistent data

Buss-SMS-Canzler uses AutoCAD Plant 3D for plant design

The separation of substances is one of the most important processes in process engineering. The physical and chemical properties are used to separate substances that have been mixed together. Both thermal and mechanical processes are used. Buss-SMS-Canzler is a world leader in the development and manufacture of machinery and equipment for evaporation, drying, high viscosity and membrane technology. Currently, a total of 235 employees work at the headquarters in Butzbach (Hesse) and at the sites in Düren and Pratteln (Switzerland).

The customers are mainly from the chemical industry, such as polymer technology or fine or plastics chemistry. Buss-SMS-Canzler designs plants for the thermal treatment of resins or waxes, for the evaporation of substances or for the separation of difficult substance mixtures or temperature-sensitive products. Such plants are used, for example, in the production of distilled monoglyceride (DMG), biodiesel or the extraction of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. In addition, customers also include the pharmaceutical industry or companies from the environmental protection sector, for example when it comes to drying sewage sludge. "It is important to us that we respond to our customers' requirements in a needs-based manner and develop concept-oriented solutions," clarifies Hans-Dieter Schulz, Head of Process/Technology at Buss-SMS-Canzler. The scope of supply ranges from concepts for individual components and special systems to the manufacture of sub-systems or system stages. In the company's own pilot plant, 20 pilot plants can be used to test how the various materials can be optimally treated. This makes it easier for planners both to assess the feasibility of a plant to be designed and to optimize existing processes.

Always up to date thanks to database

A particularly big challenge in the design of the plants is to keep the data and specifications of the individual parts and components up to date in all areas of the project, such as the preparation of the structural steel designs or the development of the piping and
flow diagrams (R&I diagrams), to keep them up to date. This is to minimize the risk of design errors, collisions and potential vulnerabilities. This becomes even more critical as more people are involved in plant design. This information
and being able to access it quickly is one of the key factors for success in plant design, given the high time and cost pressures that also prevail in plant engineering.
success in plant design. This was one of the reasons why the engineers at Buss-SMS-Canzler decided to switch to database-based technologies within the process engineering department. With this changeover, the self-programmed
AutoCAD attachment for plant design to be replaced by a modern solution. "Many of the programmed components were still based on the AutoCAD DOS version. We decided to use a modern system as part of the changeover. In addition, we no longer wanted to have to provide support internally, but to receive updates externally," explains Ronald Kling, CAD designer in 2D and 3D plant design.

AutoCAD Plant 3D and AXAVIA - a perfect pair in plant design

This restructuring was designed as a longer project. The engineers were looking for a database-based system, ideally with a bidirectional interface between CAD software and a CAE solution. "It was important for us to work with an AutoCAD-based program, since our employees have been familiar with this system for a long time," Schulz says. For CAE, AXAVIA, a provider of project organization software, was on the short list. "After being shipwrecked with another vendor's solution, we decided to go with Autodesk's AutoCAD Plant 3D solution and AXAVIA's plug-in at the end of 2011 and have been very satisfied with the pair ever since," Schulz says. Ronald Kling adds: "You can already tell that AXAVIA and Autodesk have somehow grown together."

AutoCAD Plant 3D is a 3D plant design tool based on the AutoCAD platform. It provides plant designers and engineers with a modern 3D development environment. The tools can be customized to meet individual project requirements, and AutoCAD P&ID's integrated CAD tools make it possible to create and edit piping and instrumentation drawings and to reconcile these data with the 3D model. Isometric, orthogonal and other representations can be generated directly from the 3D models. Because the data is exchanged directly between the individual components, it is always up-to-date and remains consistent throughout the project. Familiarization with the new software went smoothly, as the users at Buss-SMS-Canzler are already very experienced in CAD design and have profound experience with AutoCAD-based solutions. Therefore, a three-day internal training was sufficient to learn the basics of the program.
AutoCAD Plant 3D is used in all phases of plant design. This includes, for example, creating specifications yourself or loading them from one of the existing catalogs.
With the help of the integrated AutoCAD P&ID, planners produce 2D piping and instrument flow diagrams. Another module helps plan the installation of the entire plant and generates a three-dimensional plan of the steel structures, piping and the remaining plant components. Thus, all relevant planning documents needed to build a chemical plant are generated. Since the underlying data is reconciled between the individual components of the plant design within AutoCAD Plant 3D, it is always consistent and up to date. In addition, the designers at Buss-SMS-Canzler use the project review software Autodesk Navisworks, among other things, to visualize the designs in 3D and present them to the customer.

Centralized data for more time savings

The plant engineers at Buss-SMS-Canzler have not been using AutoCAD Plant 3D for long, but it is already clear that the solution significantly reduces the time required to complete a plant design. The reason for this is, on the one hand, that the data can be evaluated directly, for example to create isometrics, orthographies and other design documents. The second advantage is that, thanks to the connection to the database, the components developed are immediately available in the most up-to-date version at a later point in time or in another design step, for example when lists are to be created. By only having to enter the specifications once, the designers expect to save a significant amount of time. "The bottom line is that we expect to be able to save about 20 percent of the total working time during processing," calculates Ronald Kling. With AutoCAD Plant 3D, Buss-SMS-Canzler will therefore be able to plan, model and document plants even more efficiently in the future.