From Analog to Digital: Kurita Water Industries’ DX Department
In this installment of our series on early PlantStream adopters, we spoke with the Digital Transformation (DX) Department of Kurita Water Industries Ltd. They have been trying out the latest beta version of our CAD software.
On The DX Department’s Expectations for PlantStream
Kurita Water Industries’ DX Department has been busy looking for software solutions to improve the water treatment plant design process, as still many outdated practices are in use. For the past decade or so, the company has been working to automate plant design by customizing commercially available CAD software. We decided to try PlantStream due to its innovative automated piping design technology, hoping to see just how much it could improve the efficiency of our design process.
“The process of developing automated piping design is extremely complex. It requires a lot of data, time, and effort. Because of this, the development of such technology was not a priority for the company internally. We suspected a tool like PlantStream would eventually release, but to be perfectly honest, we had no idea it would happen this soon. Not wanting to miss out on this golden opportunity, we chose to see for ourselves how PlantStream might help us realize the improvements we were aiming for as soon as the beta version was announced.”
On The Advantages of PlantStream
After trying out the software, we were convinced that the advantages of automated piping design would directly contribute to improving the company’s operations. Because PlantStream supports 3D plotting, we can use it for visual verification and data extraction. Unlike with conventional 2D plotting, PlantStream allows engineers to easily check pipe layouts and avoid inaccurate pipe volume calculations, providing all sorts of benefits to the user.
“This tool has been extremely well received by company employees who are involved in piping design. Piping design is one of the final steps in a long list of design phases, and it requires the input of all of the data that has been worked on up until that point. A major benefit of being able to automate complex piping design work is that it can transform other design processes substantially. The significance of digitizing a design process that has up until now utilized 2D blueprints becomes all too clear. And from input to output, PlantStream is significantly faster than traditional plotting methods. It is sure to provide an additional boost to our design automation efforts.”
On the Move from 2D to 3D
Our company has been attempting to introduce 3D CAD software for some time now. In reality, though, we have only been able to apply it to a few projects, and we continue to design using 2D CAD.
“Many designers think it is easier to design piping in 2D rather than use software to render models in 3D, as they are more accustomed to the former. However, 2D plans require time-consuming checks, and because interference checks and piping volume estimations are done by hand, they can lead to inconsistencies, and, in some cases, reworking. In the past, the transition from hand-drawn blueprints to 2D CAD took a lot of time. Today, the transition from the familiar 2D CAD to 3D CAD is also proving to take a long time. But now PlantStream can help us speed things up. We believe that we can drastically reduce the amount of time that was once spent on pipe routing by shifting away from piping diagrams created from scratch and replacing them with appropriately accurate, automatically created 3D plans. That time can now instead be used during the detailed design process. It is sure to be a catalyst for our shift to 3D.”
A Piping Design Company’s Perspective
On the day before this interview was conducted, one of the piping design companies that Kurita Water Industries often outsources its piping design work to visited the DX Department. The DX Department provided the company with piping data created using PlantStream. Kurita anticipated that this might cause the company to grow concerned that the introduction of the software would result in a loss of work.
“Unexpectedly, this company was actually very pleased with PlantStream. They said that they would rather spend time creating plans that can be constructed instead of spending time on the overall piping plans. And while overall piping plans do require skilled designers, PlantStream can help fill in for them. If a company has a plan with a good deal of the overall pipe routing already in place in the early stages of the piping design process, the detailed piping can be plotted by younger designers. This increases the number of projects that the company can handle. As these young designers develop their skills, they will have the potential to shorten overall project durations and fundamentally improve upon conventional methods.”
On the Transition to a Data-Driven Industry
It is clear that PlantStream, with its capability to generate highly visual and easy-to-check piping design plans, will be a game-changer in the industry. Kurita Water Industries’ DX Department believes PlantStream will serve as a stepping stone in the industry’s transformation to a data-centric design methodology. We asked for the company’s view on this.
“We believe that the industry will shift toward more data-centric designs in the future. Tools like PlantStream that provide a visual representation of the data will make this possible. You cannot convince people to move away from analog methods without first showing them the data in an easy-to-understand way and helping them understand the advantages of a data-based design process. Data-centric workflows will allow many designs to be implemented quickly. They can accommodate design changes without missing anything and also be used in conjunction with analog methods. Even today, PlantStream is able to save us a lot of time and resources. We cannot wait to see the possibilities it holds for the future.”
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