3 ways PlantStream improves efficiency and streamlines design in oil and gas
February 7, 2023
The advantages of CAD (computer-aided design) are numerous, but how does this software help oil and gas companies? We look at the key ways in which PlantStream’s autonomous 3D CAD software streamlines processes in oil and gas.
Digital transformation, or the use of digital tools to make workflow and production processes more efficient, is proven to be a game-changer for any industrial businesses looking to modernize and save money.¹ Some estimates show that companies have been able to reduce machine downtime by 30 to 50 percent, see major improvements in productivity, and reduce the cost of creating quality products. There are many ways companies can invest in digital transformation, including using more advanced data collection and analysis, incorporating artificial intelligence, and using robots.
CAD — or the use of computers, automation, and advanced algorithms — is a digital technology that has been around for some time. It’s proven to have helped many businesses, like those within the aerospace industry, become more efficient.²
The benefits of CAD software extend to the oil and gas industry too. This blog post looks at how PlantStream’s unique 3D automated CAD software can help oil and gas companies optimize the early design and planning processes of building piping infrastructure.
1. PlantStream is built for the entire engineering process
PlantStream’s CAD software can be used for all parts of the design, planning, and drafting parts of building out piping infrastructure. This process can be long, arduous, and demand a lot of manpower on a design team, especially if some of the measurements for pipes have to be done manually.
Because PlantStream has created a user-friendly 3D program, engineers can easily transform a 3D plot plan feasibility study into detailed piping design. They can also drag and drop elements, like units and pipe racks. This makes it easy to intuitively design a plant layout, while taking into account factors like clearance and wind direction. This is critical as designers try to create feasibility studies, which observe whether piping infrastructure is sound in a wide range of scenarios.
PlantStream can be a game-changer for oil and gas companies that are building piping while trying to consider a future that might include more earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and floods.³ This is a real consideration as weather patterns shift due to climate change and extreme weather events become more common.
2. PlantStream’s unique block pattern feature offers built-in engineering expertise
PlantStream’s autonomous CAD software is based on something called block pattern. That means engineers get access to a pre-set template of equipment and peripheral piping layout, which is a feature that typically doesn’t exist in other 3D CAD design options on the market.
Using PlantStream feels almost like playing a video game, allowing designers to see a shape in full form and rotate it to see different edges and curves. The software also offers some teaching, which can enhance engineers’ expertise. The software shows designers how to build a model more effectively, and features pop-ups that explain errors.
Oil and gas companies will typically hire large teams of designers to build big and complicated piping infrastructure. The engineering expertise of PlantStream’s software could not only help reduce the manpower needed on these teams, but could also be key for designers working with limited time and a small budget.
3. PlantStream helps oil and gas companies save time — lots of it
PlantStream’s unique 3D CAD software can autonomously model thousands of pipes in just minutes. That feature alone can significantly help companies reduce the time they need to plan and construct piping design.
Other features in the software, like the block pattern pre-set templates, can save designers time. By simply changing parameters within the software, designers can intuitively edit 3D models in seconds rather than minutes.⁴ These features can also help oil and gas companies avoid some expensive construction errors.
One of PlantStream’s earliest users, Chiyoda Corporation, tested out PlantStream’s 3D software while the company was still ironing out kinks in the software.⁵ They reported that even though the software was still in beta mode, it was helpful in their design and feedback process.
Specifically, the design team at Chiyoda observed that they were able to build better 3D piping models and plot plans that they could show their clients. Usually, the designers would use cumbersome 2D designs — which are not as user-friendly and were not specific enough for their clients. This made the design phase inefficient and time-consuming. Chiyoda reported that with PlantStream’s advanced 3D CAD, they were able to get better feedback from their clients much earlier in the design process.
The future of the industry and where PlantStream fits in
Oil and gas companies must adapt to the changing energy landscape, especially as they are required to reinvent their energy mix with more renewable sources like solar power. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted international supply chains and driven up the price of basic goods and services.
In order to stay ahead in these challenging economic times, oil and gas companies will need to search for innovative ways to reduce their overhead costs and become more efficient. Being competitive in this market means modernizing, while also offering customers a product that is affordable. Digital transformation can happen in many ways, but investment in CAD is an easy first step that can have a big impact.
PlantStream’s 3D automated CAD software is proven to enhance the existing expertise of piping infrastructure designers, to streamline the design process, and to save significant amounts of time during the early construction phases. It allows oil and gas companies to hack their timelines and construct pipelines more accurately, efficiently, and cost-effectively — ultimately being a major contributor to much-needed cost reduction.
¹Angevine, C. Et. Al (May 2021). “Implementing a digital transformation at industrial companies.” Retrieved from McKinsey.com.
²Agarwal, A, Chandrasekaran, S, Sridhar,M (June, 2016). “Imagining construction’s digital future.” Retrieved from McKinsey.
³USGS (Dec. 2021) “New USGS Research Highlights the Use of Earthquake Science for Assesing Risk to Gas Pipelines.” Retrieved from usgs.gov.
⁴PlantStream (June 2021). “PlantStream vs Traditional 3D CAD — Equipment Peripheral Piping.” Retrieved from Youtube.com.
⁵PlantStream (Sep, 2021). ‘Using PlantStream with no previous CAD Experience.’ Retrieved from Plantstream.Medium.com.