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Pilot test for PlantStream 3D, an innovative software for projects

Published 12.4.2024

This tool of Japanese origin offers the potential to vastly improve the analysis of different options for works. It enables a rapid visualization of three-dimensional modeling and substantially reduces the time needed to calculate quantities, helping to optimize resources.


A multidisciplinary team from Techint Engineering & Construction held a pilot test for the novel PlantStream 3D software and concluded that this would be a highly useful tool for optimizing the company’s projects in their early stages. The conclusions were presented in detail during last December’s IDAY.

“The program enables speedy 3D modeling and the great thing it does is calculate routes for pipelines and electricity cables. It’s really useful for conceptual, basic or extended basic engineering,” explains Julieta Medina, Energy Transition Principal and leader of the pilot test.

Using an easy and intuitive user interface, similar to others already in use at the company, and with only a very small amount of information to go on, it routes lines automatically. If other materials are added, such as pipes, the program can rearrange everything in a matter of seconds. “If you do all of this manually, without using the software, it takes much longer, because every time you add a pipe, you have to move all the others by hand, using different diagrams in Autocad,” details Medina.


A good option for energy transition plants

At the beginning of a project, there’s usually not much definition and there’s a constant need to make changes. “As engineering progresses, you recalculate, confirm, carry out another check, then the diameters change or the location of some equipment is modified, or some lines are added and others removed. This program would really improve the quality of the work we do at the offer stage, when we have to produce estimates quite quickly,” Medina specifies.

She adds that implementation is likely to be extremely positive for the company’s energy transition projects. “Since there aren’t many plants for these new products around the world, there’s little reference material available. So, having access to 3D visualization in the early stages could be very useful,” she says.


Pioneering approach in Latin America

Techint E&C first reached out to PlantStream Inc., the Japanese startup created in 2020 (a joint venture between ChiyodaCorp and Arent Inc.) that developed this software, during the annual Construction Industry Institute conference, held in the United States in July 2023. The company’s representatives indicated that they were interested in accessing industry in Latin America and offered to grant Techint E&C six user licenses to test the program for a month.

In mid-November, online training sessions were held for three hours a day for a week, before moving on to the modeling stage to replicate a part of the Puesto Parada plant, an engineering project already developed for Tecpetrol, which enabled the team to import information from other programs in use.

“We tested its functions on a qualitative level and we found that in under two weeks we had created a model that normally takes us much longer, because the integration of information from different specialties is quite a complex process. Thanks to this program, you just upload the data and get a result fairly quickly. It was very simple to put it together,” says Medina.

The system is easy to install and has low hardware requirements, as well as a high processing speed. In addition, the manufacturer is developing improvements for future implementation, launching new versions every three or four months.

Collaborative work

As always, project coordination is of the utmost importance, and for this tool, it plays a crucial role. “It has a really high potential for modeling industrial plants, but it requires a lot of communication and order, because it doesn’t allow for several users to be working on it at the same time. We can work in parallel, but we always have to be loading the modifications that someone else made. So, this forces us to work more closely together, and be much more connected leading to a more collaborative and enriching way of working for everyone,” reflects Medina.


Finding the optimal design

Medina explains that, “Using this tool, you can move one or more pieces of equipment around in the model, autoroute all the pipes, and then connect exactly the same thing that was initially requested with the same entry and exit points.”

Next steps

Previously, the company had tested another program that seemed promising, but was ultimately not successful. Working with PlantStream 3D took a month and a half and, according to Medina, it was a great experience. “It's very positive to be trying out new tools that make our daily work easier. Obviously, there’s always a learning curve that we have to follow, so that we can get to the point when we can compare it with others. In this particular case, we also needed to rethink the best way of working with a multidisciplinary team,” she points out.

Although the technology still has a few things that need to be improved, on the basis of the results obtained and their potential, the focus is currently on defining the best way forward.

Medina explains that the team is in talks with Innovation and Systems to define whether they should move forward with testing. “The point is to take the plunge and try this out in parallel with the current work methodology, to see what result we reach when we all start from the same information,” she concludes.

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