Often companies supply P&ID CAD files that need to be updated based upon capital projects for plant modifications, or expansions.  Engineering and design teams are contracted to work on industrial processes every day, so how can they;  

  • make these P&ID drawings smarter, and   
  • modify them using the same routes & symbology, and 
  • load data in order to extract deliverables such as lists and datasheets?

DIAGRAMS is the simple answer because it

  • extracts and transforms P&ID drawing content into intelligent symbol libraries, and
  • automatically converts drawing content into intelligent content, and
  • provides data interfaces to produce lists and datasheets, and 
  • is easy to use!

This article is a step by step guide on how DIAGRAMS can be used to convert existing P&ID drawings into a new DIAGRAMS project and extract the symbols to form Symbols Libraries within them.  In this way, drawings become intelligent and conform to preexisting CAD standards.   

STEP 1 - Creating a new project

Launch the Project Manager and click on the New Project button in the Ribbon

Populate the A New Project form and click Create Project.

  1. The New Project Directory must be empty.
  2. The database can be SQL Server, see the manual for configuration.
  3. The Drawing Configuration is only going to be applicable if new drawings are added using DIAGRAMS.  All these values can be overwritten at the time of new drawing additions, so Prefix, Suffix, Start Number, and Increment could be left blank

STEP 2 - Import Symbols from Legacy Drawings

First, browse to the Symbol Library in the lefthand navigation then click on the 'Import Symbols from drawing files' processor from Library controls.

This action will open the Select Drawings dialog.  Choose one or more drawings and click Open.

This action will launch the Audit/Import Symbol Processor. It automatically inspects files for potential symbols, and lists them all so users can work on importing one or more of them.

  1. Select Symbols to Import by using Shift and Control to pick rows.   Hint: use column headers controls to filter and sort.
  2. Set the Ribbon Section, Symbol Insertion Type, Table Name, and Layer values and click Apply.
  3. Review the settings applied and click the Import Selected button.

The processor will import the selected and then check them to identify that the Symbols and Files now exist and can be used.

Repeat this process to all those blocks that you want to draw with and transform into intelligent DIAGRAMS Symbols.

STEP 3 - Populating Symbol Properties & Ribbon Sections

If you completed Steps 1 & 2 then you have already populated almost all symbol properties and updated the CAD interface with them.   Scroll to the bottom of the Library Editor Sections and you'll find Imported following this example set.  If you selected another Ribbon Section in Step 2, then look under that Section for imported symbols.   

Here you can see the 3 ball valve symbols imported. 

Notice that almost all the Symbol properties have been populated with values and that there is one bound in red which highlights a problem.   Some values like Size 1 require user input.  In this case, DIAGRAMS is unable to determine the break distance for the symbol so it is blank.  DIAGRAMS requires this value before it can be drawn. 

Once symbols are imported and located in Ribbon Sections, users will find them in the Diagrams Ribbon Tab.  
Remember to Reload the project settings before browsing for the ball valves to insert.

STEP 4 - Importing Symbol Data, the smarts

This step is where DIAGRAMS will inspect the symbol library for Block Attributes that do not exist in the assigned Table.  Click on the Audit Attributes Library control to launch the processor.

The Processor launches where users are able to set Feild Types prior to clicking the Add Fields button.

Once added they become visible and accessible for consumption in views. 

STEP 5 - Add newly added fields to Views

Open the View Manager and select the table where the fields were added.
Here you can see a new View, Imported Attributes' was added and newly added fields were Selected from the Available field list in the middle.

STEP 6 - Draft with Imported Library

Once the symbols, their attributes, and views have been added, users can start drafting.