AutoCAD Plant 3D General DIscussion

AutoCAD Plant 3D General DIscussion

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Registered: ‎04-22-2012
Post 1 of 9

Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

3972 Views, 8 Replies
04-22-2012 05:51 PM

Hi everyone,


I have been using plant 3D for the first time on a project/job and have nearly finished this project but I would like toshare my particular experience with plant 3D and perhaps gauge if my comments are a fair representation of othersexperience with the program. I have previously used autoplant from Bentley. 


My main point of frustration with the program is the "auto-routing" feature and being able to connect adjacent ports.What I have found is that everything has to be perfect for the auto-routing feature to work, that is to say there is notolerance within the program for even the slightest miss-alignment. This results in a really frustrating and timeconsuming experience with the program. 


Considering that program is a piping program I find this very frustrating and can sometimes spend a considerableamount of time getting a line to be continuous and fully connected to facilitate producing isometrics from the model.You end up trying everything, right down the running of single lines which defeats the purpose of havingauto-routing in the first place. And even then you are likely to get the same old error message when you try connectadjacent piping fittings that "the ports need to be adjacent". But when you check the layout and location of itemseverything seems perfect, but you still get the same problem. Also when running the single lines, you have to usemanual commands to control the UCS to allow you to use the trim and extend commands. Surely the requiredcommands could be added to the toolbar to allow quick rotation of the UCS to the required plane? Or am I missingsomething here?


Then there is the situation where you want to join 2 disconnected items; you run the "di" command and everything is in alignment - but when you try connect them you get the error "ports need to adjacent". Then you try selecting one item by the node you wish to connect, then move the item to the port you wish to connect to by selecting the node again. You would think that things would have to be in alignment now and work, but you still get the same error message.... Very frustrating indeed. 


Other problems experienced with the program:


Another problem I have is with not being able to parametrically locate supports. I would have expected similarfunctionality as with the locating of valves and other in-line equipment.  Also being able to parametrically locating ISOsymbols such as breaks and arbitrary location points. There should be a generic indicative support which can belocated parametrically. I say this as I know where supports can go and I don't want to waste time modeling thesesupports which don't represent the real support design anyway. 


Then there are valve tags. You can tag a valve, then tag it again and again and again and you just keep loosing thetag for no apparent reason. I gave up re-tagging the valves and manually updated the isometrics with the correctvalve tag. Another time wasting exercise.


Then we have the isometric production. What's the point of have the selection of "force ISO onto 1 sheet" when thatfunction doesn't work at all. If the program wants to split and ISO then it is going to do this no matter what you do.Also, there is no ability to offset the elevation which I can't understand as you can offset everything else. Further toisometric production is that the program can produce a different isometric from a line even if the line hasn't changedat all or only minor changes to the line - it seems to be a lotto draw as to what you will get. This becomes a problemonce you have issued isometrics for say tender issue  then when you go to revise them for say construction theprogram gives you something completely different to what you have previously issued. This results in a timeconsuming process of trying to force the program to provide the correct isometric, which you are not guaranteed insucceeding in. Or you end up just marking the isometric up by hand which defeats the purpose of having isometricproduction from the program.


Then we have the BOM... Can someone advise how the program determines what field it uses from the spec to fill inthe description field? I haven't had time to investigate this fully but on the face of it the program uses a combination ofmany different fields; why can't it point to one field on the spec so you can tell it from the get-go what you want toshow up on the isometric BOM. How does the program select the bolts/fasteners lengths for flanges, valves, wafervalves and lugged valves. We have the situation where it appears the program has used incorrect lengths forbasically every lugged and wafer valve on this job. Sometimes with wafer valves it puts in two bolt sets, or othertimes it doesn't put any bolts in at all. The BOM is a frequent point of frustration and time consuming manualmark-ups. 


Then the orthographic production. The program is inconsistent with what 2d objects it shows in the ortho views. Theproduced ortho views frequently loose elbows and other fittings, for no apparent reason. When you update theortho views, its seems to randomly delete annotations (line number tags in this case) which are associated to thepipes shown in the view. 


Overall the program is "useable" and I know that some of the issues will be "user error" but I believe many of theissues identified need to be addressed by autodesk. 




Valued Contributor
56 Posts
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Registered: ‎11-08-2011
Post 2 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

05-24-2012 03:36 AM in reply to: Cmycroft



I have used this program for 8 months now and I share your frustration with many of the listed errors.

In Plant 3D 2012, I also experienced that "force iso into one sheet" was useless and it kept creating about 10-15 different iso drawings from a simple pipeline, literally creating a separate iso for every straight pipe segment, elbow, tee and so on. But in Plant 3D 2013 things are a bit better and I have managed to get isos on one sheet.



Valued Mentor
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Registered: ‎07-07-2011
Post 3 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

05-25-2012 02:09 PM in reply to: Cmycroft
I think that all of your problems are few experience with software 3d. If in future you would using it you will find the correct form to work. I think that t'he best solution is to do some course with people who really now work with software in real projectes. I work 3 years with software and feel that in every project my form to work is better compared with previose. Finally when you now how work the software you design perfectly from first pass with out consumation time.
Yury Bogdanov
ASIDEK(Grupo CT) - Partner Directo de Autodesk
Barcelona (Spain)
Valued Mentor
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Post 4 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

08-09-2012 09:53 PM in reply to: Cmycroft

im batteling the adjacent port saga at the moment


when you do the di command, make sure your units are maxed out on the decimal places...I usually find that they are from model

Distance = 0.00002259, Angle in XY Plane = 227.2908, Angle from XY Plane =
Delta X = -0.00000993, Delta Y = -0.00001076, Delta Z = -0.00001721


This usually happens on sloped lines.


A pipeline can be modeled, fully connected and iso'ed.

Then down the track when a change may be needed to a note or some such, then certain parts of the line suddenly become problamatic


I believe it may be a rounding issue, so for pipes that follow the x, y and z directions, its not an issue as autocad isnt doing any calculations to control the endpoints, however when lines are sloped in the vert and skewed in plan, there is some possible rounding going on.


I know in one of the xml's there is a section about node location tolerance but when i tested it in 2011 it didnt actually do anything.

CAD Management 101:
You can do it your own way,
If its done just how I say!
[Metallica:And Justice For All:1988]
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Registered: ‎12-04-2009
Post 5 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

08-10-2012 03:57 PM in reply to: Cmycroft

So, I'm going to try to pull out your key questions.


1. Precision - I agree we need a way to tell plant what degree of precision we want for the ports to be adjacent.

2. UCS - in 2013, you can modify the ucs by selecting it and then dragging the axis in the direction/plane you need.

3. Parametrically placed supports - I know in 2013, they modified the support insertion to include more options for dimension input.  I don't know if this addresses your problem or not?

4. Losing valve tags - I am not able to duplicate this issue.  How many people do you have working on your project?

5. BOM description - You can configure which field is shown in the BOM under your BOM Table settings.  The second tab has an option to choose the Long Description Family or the Long Description Size.  You can also use a long description style which builds the description from the properties of the component.

6. Isometric orientation - I agree we need a way to specify an elevation offset.  I've requested that they also allow us to specify the offsets in the style so that we don't have to do it in the advanced settings.

7. Isometric splitting - We've had a lot of issues with this, I'm not sure that anyone knows what is causing the problem, only that the splitting needs to happen better.

8. Bolts - There has been a post on bolts, but I can't remember where the link is for the white paper on it.

9. Ortho - We have given a lot of feedback on the orthos, I'd like to see what gets missed on your orthos.  I haven't had those particular problems myself.

Dave Wolfe
Isaiah 57:15

ECAD, Inc.
Tips and Tricks on our blog: Process Design, from the Outside

A P3D Authorized Reseller
Plant 3d Wish list:
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Post 6 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

08-12-2012 06:17 PM in reply to: dave.wolfe

With regard to precision you can change pricision for connection types for both offset amount and angle edit the DefaultConnectorsConfig.xml


    <Joint Name="Buttweld">
      <FittingElements />


Change the red number to suit the pricison you want, you will need to change all the different join types you may want to have different amounts for different types of fixing (welded items may have larger amount of freedom compared to screwed.)

Valued Mentor
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Registered: ‎08-19-2008
Post 7 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

08-13-2012 03:12 PM in reply to: philip

that was what i was talking about in my post

the code is there in the xml, but does it actually do anything ? (back in 2011, it did nothing)


can someone test


i see you changed yours to 2

what does that mean? does that mean that the ports can be 2units (mm or inch??) away from each other and still connect

CAD Management 101:
You can do it your own way,
If its done just how I say!
[Metallica:And Justice For All:1988]
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Registered: ‎04-07-2005
Post 8 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

08-13-2012 06:27 PM in reply to: Rich.O.3d

Seems to work, we are typicaly using metric so will be 2mm & 2 degrees.

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Registered: ‎12-27-2011
Post 9 of 9

Re: Plant 3D auto-routing and connecting adjacent ports frustration

12-29-2013 10:41 AM in reply to: Cmycroft


I cannot see that this issue from last year has been resolved.


I made the recommended changes to the buttweld joint section in the DefaultConnectorConfig.xml. I then spent a lot of time trying to build a piping model with flanges that are skewed with respect to the centerline of the pipe to which they attach.  No luck!


Is there anything else I need to do to get Plant 3D to relax the colinearity constraints?


This is a real-life scenario where an existing piping installation is to be modified. A laser-scanned model of the existing installiation provides location, rotation, and tilt of the existing flanges to which new piping is to be connected.

The fabricator delivers complete spools that fit directly into the installation without any site welding.

The project deliverables are piping isometrics for new piping with corresponding annotation and dimensioning for flange tilt and rotations.


Any new information will be greatly appreciated.



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