Mixed Reality with PlantEngineer
2D and 3D grow together
Microsoft Visio and Mixed Reality (MR) combine P&ID with the real plant world. Mixed Reality now also arrives in the process industry. An exciting approach uses the P&ID as the basis and connects the diagram with the real plant in a 360 degree view. During plant engineering and construction data is still mainly transferred via PDF, DWG or paper files. However, customers wish to reuse data and information for different applications, such as ERP, operations or maintenance on different end devices, such as mobile telephones, tablets or data glasses. This requirement gives rise to a new role distribution in engineering. Engineering is understood as the Content Provider to prepare contents for the customers as Content Consumer.
P&ID as information hub
This demands deep understanding of the information requirement for the entire life cycle of the facility. As a consequence, engineering expenses increase, which in turn is amortised very rapidly in the total cost consideration. The P&ID (Piping and Instrumentation Diagram) is the birth certificate of a Process plant and accompanies it over the entire lifecycle to come. The P&ID acts as an information hub, creates a link between software systems and secures inter-company communications. The base for the communication are international standards, such as ISO 15926, Proteus and Dexpi. Open standards and provision of engineering information enable companies to prepare and independently evaluate contents for their purposes. An example is a Mixed Reality scenario, in which image data and information from the flow diagram in combination with a 360 degree image of the facility are exported and augmented with real time process control data.
Mixed Reality combines the worlds
At first sight these appear to be completely different worlds. Firstly, the term Mixed Reality is associated with 3D visualisation Microsoft Visio and Mixed Reality combine the real plant with the P&IDs, which show the structure of the process at hand. The functional relationships of a plant are not always immediately evident in the tangle of different intersecting pipelines, containers, valves and pumps. Sections of the P&IDs are blended in at respective components in the Mixed Reality scenario. However, particularly in error analysis the fast recoginition of potential hazards and defective components is of utmost importance. Live data can support maintenance engineers in evaluating the condition of a component on site. The display of additional information, such as descriptions or operation, maintenance and repair instructions, cuts down on office search time for the respective folder of interest. With a practical example at Achema, the Berlin software company X-Visual shows how Mixed Reality is applied in the education area. The 360° images create an impression of standing in the middle of the actual plant for the user. Points of Interest (POI), small balls, which appear to float in the foreground of containers, filters and pumps, allow the interaction in this scenario. By triggering the POIs other information, such as the P&ID or the live data, is blended in and out. The usage of Mixed Reality is particularly suitable for training purposes, the preparation of maintenance and repair operations or streaming of live images directly from the process plant.