P&IDs: The Controlling Document
P&IDs are globally considered the “go-to” process coordinating document from which a variety of discipline receive their process information. The beauty of a P&ID is that, with minor corporate and local differences and standards, most people involved with P&IDs can derive a wealth of information just by looking at them.
Line numbers can tell us the service, sequential number, specification, insulation requirements, etc. of a particular line. We can also tell which instruments belong to which control loop, or which aspect of a service a control set it is designed to control, i.e., pressure, flowrate, or temperature. Additionally, P&IDs can also show which part of a process an instrument is monitoring, or if a particular control valve is actuated electrically, hydraulically, or pneumatically.
P&IDs can also help a designer correctly locate a pump or piece of equipment based on the pump’s net positive suction head (NPSH), which lets the designer know the minimum height that a piece of equipment should be placed above a pump for it to function correctly. These are just some of the thousands of pieces of information that P&IDs can share with designers, and all with impressive efficiency and accuracy.
What is truly amazing is that the coding of all of this information, in its graphical form, has been part of P&IDs from the days of linen and ink drawings, through to the current use of modern- day CAD tools. The fact that little has changed is testament to the beauty and effectiveness of P&IDs.
So how is all of this information captured on these drawings so that they can be understood by almost anybody? Also, what rules and standards were put in place so that a 50-+ year- old P&ID can still be read and understood today?
Read my article, originally published in Chemical Engineering Progress, and find out what makes P&IDs such a great tool, and how the symbology used has stood the test of time – and I predict – will still do so for many decades to come.

PS: In the article there is a mistake on one of the symbols. Test your skills, and the first three to let me know what the mistake is will have an Intergraph CADWorx & Analysis performance polo shirt sent to them wherever they are in the world.

Article link below:

Vol.3 | Issue 7 | July 2016
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Vornel Walker
Vice President - Product Marketing

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