In this article, we’re going to cover the Piping module in Creo, a tool that allows users to accurately model complex piping systems. Creo offers two specific design modes when working with the Piping module: Non Spec-Driven Piping and Spec-Driven Piping. While it is possible to model a piping system in either design mode, there are many long-term benefits to using Spec-Driven Piping.

Non Spec-Driven Piping

Anyone who has modeled pipes in Creo is at least somewhat familiar with the Non Spec-Driven Piping design mode. This design mode is easier to get started with since very little setup is required. However, there’s no support for design compatibility checks (e.g., size or end type mismatches) and there is a considerable amount of information that the user needs to repeatedly provide by hand every time they create a unique pipe:

  • Every linestock has to be manually created and associated with a routed pipeline (as can be seen in the screenshot of the dialog below)
  • Every single fitting needs to be individually selected and inserted
  • Project-specific data is not used during pipe modeling, so the same information needs to be re-entered multiple times
Creo interface to create a non spec-driven piping linestock

Modeling a complex piping system in this design mode is very time-consuming and repetitive. Moreover, as the piping system and team grow, the margin of error (and the cost of these errors) grows exponentially.

Spec-Driven Piping

To help with modeling complex piping systems, PTC offers a free extension called Spec-Driven Piping which allows users to define piping design rules. This allows the user a variety of benefits, a few of which are listed below:

  • Linestocks are created on-the-fly and automatically associated with the appropriate pipelines
  • Piping systems can be created using specifications and vastly simplified interface (as shown in the screenshot below)
  • The appropriate fittings are selected automatically during insertion based on the specification and size
  • When reducers are added to a pipeline, the size of the pipeline will automatically change to match the new linestock
  • Intelligent design rule checking is supported during modeling
  • Ability to leverage schematic-driven routing
  • A video highlighting more of these benefits can be found here
Creo interface to create a spec-driven pipeline

This design mode greatly reduces errors by enforcing design rules and allows users to pipe up to ten times faster than they would in Non Spec-Driven Piping. Even at a cursory glance, it’s quite clear that the pros for Spec-Driven Piping outweigh the cons – so why don’t more organizations and teams use it?

Setting up Spec-Driven Piping

Simply put, setting up your specifications and data files can be complex. Configuring Spec-Driven Piping can involve editing and formatting hundreds of text files in specific directories for both a Master Catalog (every pipe, fitting, and insulation in your organization) and Specs (the combinations of pipes, fitting, and insulations that can be used together), as well as creating the required datums and parameters in the CAD model of every fitting.

These files, their formats, and the structure of the directories vary depending on which version of Creo your organization is using. Furthermore, every time a new pipe, fitting, or insulation is introduced to your organization, these files must be updated in the appropriate locations, so maintenance becomes a complicated issue. Finally, because different versions of Creo use different file formats, migrating data is difficult.

Here at CadActive, we’ve developed RsysConfig, a tool that utilizes automation and an easy-to-use interface to tackle all of the challenges involved with setting up and maintaining Spec-Driven Piping in your organization. Over the next few months, we’ll provide more detailed information about how you can get started with Spec-Driven Piping to save your engineering team time and money.

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