Nothing works without laying pipes (and instruments). No, that’s not a cheap pick-up line, but the engineer’s daily routine when it comes to representing a wide variety of system processes in operating plants. Whether production plants in a factory, processes in nuclear power plants, in the air-conditioning industry or in petroleum technology, pipes and instruments everywhere need to be laid and connected correctly. Piping and instrumentation flow diagrams (P&ID) are therefore the starting point for any planning of operating facilities.

P&ID as a basis for understanding among specialists

P&ID is to engineers roughly what Twitter is to Social Justice Warriors (SJW): a base where everyone speaks the same language, where everyone is on the same wavelength. Unlike the SJW’s rarely truly meaningful Twitter escapades, the engineers’ P&IDs are used for actually meaningful things: As a universal basis of understanding and in terms of safety, they are of enormous importance for the planning, assembly, operation and maintenance of plants and processes in mechanical and chemical process control systems, as described earlier in the sectors used.

Simple P&ID scheme: pipeline (inflow) -> pump -> valve -> tank -> valve -> pipeline (outflow)

The P&ID links pipes and instruments used to control the process in the visual diagram. Here, the complexity ranges from relatively simple diagrams to highly complex P&ID, such as those used in the design of water treatment or wastewater treatment systems with chemical additives. The more complex the system, the more components used, such as instruments and piping, must be shown in detail in the diagram.

P&ID’s are the engineer’s essential documents for all planning, the designer’s essential documents for all assembly and the technician’s essential documents for all maintenance and repairs.

Status quo at P&ID and the biggest pain point

Regardless of the type of system for which the P&ID is ultimately to serve as a visual representation, it remains identical in all cases that the data can be processed and handled as simply and efficiently as possible by the people involved. Once created, the P&IDs pass from hand to hand – often in paper form. When changes are made to the diagrams, they have to be adjusted manually later in the system, which is rather labor-intense. This leads to unnecessary delays in processing the P&ID. Especially in safety aspects, which are highly significant in P&ID plants and system processes, unnecessary postponements generally want to be avoided.

P&ID’s biggest pain point: The efficient and error-free conversion of paper into digital formats.

The intelligent, AI-based OCR handles the data extraction of the P&ID automatically

With P&ID, therefore, practically everything stands or falls with data extraction. It’s about being able to make changes to the P&ID on site, for example during assembly, and then not having to tediously type these changes into the system manually afterward, but instead being able to have the corrections extracted automatically. So, automation is needed in the area of data extraction. This automated data extraction is done with intelligent, AI-based OCR (Optical Character Recognition). OCR manages to read any P&ID while enhancing its data quality for further processing. The intelligent, AI-based OCR classifies and extracts all relevant data, symbols and references from the P&ID automatically. What remains is structured data and happy engineers who can now devote themselves to more important things than typing data to digitize it.

Automated and structured data extraction – synonymous with the integration of intelligent, AI-based OCR.

Numerous added values thanks to intelligent, AI-based OCR

The aim is to meet the high and ever-increasing quality and safety requirements of correct planning. And this without having to accept losses in any respect. P&ID’s automated data extraction through intelligent, AI-based OCR is more efficient and less error-prone than manual processing, and also frees up time for engineers.

High security standards and up-to-the-minute P&IDs – essential to be able to react within the shortest possible time.

Thanks to the automated data extraction with the intelligent, AI-based OCR, continuous analyses of the P&ID are possible, which means that potential operational hazards at plants can be sighted and remedied in advance.

P&ID’s automated data extraction with intelligent, AI-based OCR: All-around workload reduction for engineers and co. – while increasing quality and optimizing processes.