EPLANT, an AutoCAD based plant modeling software, is worth considering as a very effective alternative to other costly well known modeling software like PDS, PDMS, Autoplant, Cadworx etc. Main aspect of consideration for EPLANT is its amazingly low price without sacrificing any major feature offered by other competitors. Price is the root aspect, which prevents organizations to make a decision regarding buying and regularly using modeling software, although its obvious benefits are well known to most of the plant engineers and cad persons. Vigorous and tactical marketing techniques of high cost fancied modeling software companies makes it difficult for equally good low cost software like EPLANT to reach ambit of decision makers.
It needs open mind and in-depth evaluation to asses the power of EPLANT vis-à-vis other high cost completive software. For information, price of one EPLANT piping module license, which includes equipment also, cost very close to only one AutoCAD license. Hence it is very relevant for the present and would be users of plant modelers to actively take a close look at EPLANT and evaluate the software in an unbiased manner. Let us now review some of the sharp features of EPLANT piping module.
One of the crowning features of EPLANT is its exceptionally small drawing file size, which contains all model information. This definitely beats other competitors hands down. Most of the other software consumes lot of disk space for the drawing file and to avoid file corruption many competitor software compels to divides the project in many small files and then combine them in messy manner. EPLANT can accommodate many lines and equipment in one file without any problem whatsoever. So, using even cheaper computers, EPLANT can give satisfactory output.
Ease of operation and simplicity is the focal point of EPLANT’s specialty. There is no point in making propaganda, but worth giving a try using the free demo. Without going into minute details, one aspect of EPLANT regarding line routing is worth noting. Well there are center line routers in other software as well, but EPLANT line router helps to route the line by providing x/y/z distances in an editable panel to the next point picked/clicked. Then auto generation provides facilities to automatically place elbow, flange and pipes, which many competitors provide only pipe generation. Those two features in combination accelerate the modeling work to a great extent.
Many modeling software companies force users to buy piping and equipment module separately and to spend more money. But EPLANT combines them in piping module, which saves money, disk space and modeling complications like attaching many files etc.
Most of the modeling software sells clash-check module separately and again forcing users to spend more money. But for EPLANT, it is in built feature and easy to use at any time during development.
Continuity or Connectivity check in much competitor software is not so user friendly. But in EPLANT it is really helpful which shows discontinuity point by differentiating two colors. Subsequently user can fix the problem very easily.
Database is very well structured and gives many useful outputs as in-built feature. But the noteworthy aspect is that the material requisition and project monitoring features are integral parts of the database, which many other parallel software lacks.
Specification preparation is very well structured. It takes some initial time to understand the structure, but the way it is organized so as to eliminate the chances of duplication type of error to nil. Moreover software itself comes with many in-built catalogs and specification including tubing.
2d drawing generation from model in EPLANT is extremely fast and allows many options like single/double line representation, choosing of lines sizes etc. unlike many other equivalent software. Another unique feature is that the generated 2d drawings are also intelligent drawings, which carry all the model information when opened in EPLANT software. This helps further annotations in 2d drawings to a great extent and a definite advantage over competitor software.
Automatic Isos generated from the model by EPLANT allows many choices, but most important feature is that isos are intelligent drawings carrying all model information. This helps to edit and annotate isos after generation in EPLANT and comes as handy unlike others. Owing to customer’s demand, 2009 version of EPLANT will also have Isogen compatibility, for those users who prefers Isogen output.
Learning curve of EPLANT is very steep. In fact the learning time is in hours, in place of days for seasoned AutoCAD users and plant engineers. Most of the plant modeling software companies’ design their product in such a way that company sponsored training becomes almost mandatory and again forces users to spend more money. This also makes the user organization captive on specially trained people, which jack up the organization cost. For EPLANT this aspect can be taken easy as long as the engineers and cad persons are conversant with basic plant engineering and Autocad software. Nicely built EPLANT training flash videos are of real help for the evaluators as well as regular users.
EPLANT can generate and export compatible file for loading in Autodesk Navisworks software, where the model can be vividly reviewed, walked through and checked for all types of interferences.
It can be conclusively summarized that it is high time to take a serious unbiased look at software like EPLANT and compare it with other famous counterparts both with respect to price and features. This gives an opportunity for such users who are scared of price of so called well known packages, but want to use them and those who are tired of complexities of the modeling work.