Preparing Piping & Instrumentation Diagrams using 3D laser scanning technology
Aug 12, 2016


Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) are considered one of the most important drawings a company should maintain if running process systems. P&IDs play a significant role in the maintenance and modification of the process that it describes. It is critical to demonstrate the physical sequence of equipment and systems, as well as how these systems connect. During the design stage, the diagram also provides the basis for the development of system control schemes, allowing for further safety and operational investigations, such as a hazard and operability study commonly pronounced as HAZOP.

So what is a P&ID:

A P&ID is a diagram which shows the piping of the process flow together with the installed equipment and instrumentation. P&IDs enable engineers and even HSE to be able to clearly understand the process and safety features incorporated into the process design philosophy. P&IDs will clearly identify asset tags for individual items including line numbers, equipment numbers, valve numbers and instrumentation tags.

ALS working with P&IDs

ALS has accumulated over 40 years’ experience creating, surveying and updating P&IDs across petrochemical, chemical, detergents, pharmaceutical, food and gas industries. Our experience ensures P&IDs are drawn to a high CAD standards using correct symbology. ALS can advise clients with drawing standards and best practices based on each client’s particular process. Our P&IDs can be drawn either in a basic schematic or in a geographical format and ALS can advise, depending on the clients requirements. They are created for easy data extraction, enabling client to easily download P&ID content into client’s asset management systems. Our experience in surveying, preparation and updating of P&IDs has been accomplished using systems including AutoCAD and Bentley software.

With the accumulated experience with traditional surveying ALS now use this in bringing 3D Laser surveying techniques that enable the service of P&ID preparation using 3D scan files.

3D scanning technology to P&IDs

The first thing to understand is that P&IDs can’t be created directly from 3D scan data. The data captured from the laser scanner is 3 dimensional whereas a P&ID is drawn in 2 dimension and on occasions in a schematic format. There are however huge benefits in having your site scanned prior to P&IDs being updated or created:


Using our experienced 3D laser surveyors, ALS collect large amounts of information whilst spending the minimum time on client’s site. The information is collected safely and without the traditional need for temporary access platforms where elevated or restricted areas are encountered. As a result our trained staff are able to create the P&IDs from our offices using  the high resolution images created by the 3D laser scanner.

One survey, multiple outputs

Our 3D laser scanner captures absolutely everything within the survey area enabling the data to be used to model out 3D or prepare 2D document types including:

•            4D Video files

•            3D Smart Models

•            3D Steel work

•            3D Topographical data, including cut & fill data

•            3D Tank Analysis – API653

•            2D P&IDs

•            2D Orthographics

•            2D Isometrics – API570

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