2015 Fiatech conference and technology showcase, Boca Raton

Fiatech news. Petrobras alternative to ‘complex’ ISO 15026. WorleyParsons’ ambitious spec management. Balfour Beatty on ‘generative design.’ More from the usual ’semantic’ suspects!

Fiatech director Ray Topping kicked-off proceedings with a reminder of some of Fiatech ground rules viz. that there should be no disparaging of any company’s goods and services and no recommendation of any particular service provider. These were somewhat flaunted in the same presentation where Fiatech member successes were attributed to ‘avoided the implementation of a middleware solution [..] thanks to information from another member.’ And again when an exchange between members ‘confirmed that our course of action was correct and the software under consideration did in fact work.’ Topping reported progress on various Fiatech projects including Rfid tags for access control, streamlining regulatory data, use of Proteus/XMPlant and the mobile IT community of interest. For the coming year new initiatives include the application of big data, analytics, cognitive computing and the internet of things.

One or other of the different flavors of the ISO 15926 engineering information standard crops up in many Fiatech presentations, often along with a ‘semantic web’ manifestation. A presentation from Cauê Clasen (Petrobras) introduced an alternative to the ‘high complexity’ of ISO 15926 with the promise of automated exchange of equipment data and asset information. Petrobras’ capital facilities industry XML (cfiXML) is a set of XML schemas for equipment data interoperability and handover. Two use cases have been developed, an Excel datasheet that uses the cfiXML format to ingest equipment datasheets and a Siemens Comos plug-in to read/write data in the cfiXML format.

Cormac Ryan provided an update on WorleyParsons’ work on engineering information specifications management, ‘data centric’ capex projects and the digital asset. This ambitious project includes revision and version control of all software and physical objects involved in a project. The system includes master tag and document registers and leverages ISO 15926 and other standards. At the core of the system is an engineering data warehouse, a central source for custody transfer and handover of validated, quality assured data to the customer. The toolset will be deployed on a real world Feed project to handover detailed engineering phase information and provide ‘greater clarity and alignment’ of internal and external stakeholders.

Jason Reece presented Balfour Beatty’s work on generative design, a new technology wave that is set to influence engineering over the next few years. Design changes are inevitable and most plans will fail and require rework. Instead of ‘validating’ design decisions as they are taken, we need to simulate outcomes in parallel with the decision making process. Enter ‘set-based design,’ whereby the design team considers multiple options simultaneously. Decisions are held off until the last possible moment, eliminating the waste inherent in the old linear process.

The semantic purists were out in force as Intergraph, Siemens, Autodesk, Aveva and Bentley showed how complete P&ID export/import might be achieved. The Data exchange in process industry (Dexpi) project is implemented in the Jena semantic web framework as sets of RDF triples along with rules for adding to the model and for error detection. Progress has been good and software should be available in 2016. Partners have agreed on a roadmap that sees intelligent verification of P&IDs and an extension to ‘further data integration innovation.’ Download the Fiatech presentations here.

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