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Interpreting Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams [Part 1 of 5] Part 1 Introduction

Engineers love to draw. Not necessarily in an artistic sense of the word, although beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. As for me, well, Ive never been accused of having a particular gift in the arts, or photography for that matter (see bio mug shot taken in my natural habitat), but I have done a few process drawings in my 25 years as a process engineer. I guess thats earned me my vice, VP of Engineering and Technology Development to be precise.

Hi there. Im Bob Cook and Im glad to have you along for my premier entry here on ChEnected.com where we explore the interpretation of Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams, or P&IDs for those in the know. This is a topic that can benefit process, project and design engineers, business developers, operators, safety, maintenance and even management. Wow, that a lot of folks!

However, consider this all of the members listed above will either come across P&IDs intermittently or have to work with them as a core aspect of their job. And if I still have your attention then, yes, you too should have a solid understanding of how to read them! Hey you hiding the backdont be bashful. You say that you are two, threefive years out of school and still not sure you really have a good handle on P&IDs? Youre not alone. Having worked for many companies and provided services to a variety of industries over the years, I find it curious how P&IDs are often poorly understood by those who should know them better. In some cases, they exude this aura of intimidating, complex documents that only ChE geeks (and the like) really know how to read.

I believe this is simply due to a dearth of formal training. Folks are just expected to pick it up on the fly. Given the variability in career direction our backgrounds in the best engineering field afford us, this works well for some but leaves others playing catch-up later on. So even experienced engineers and operators may one day discover their lack of knowledge on the topic puts them at a disadvantage. So lets just put a stop to all that by taking P&IDs apart in this multi-part series. Regardless of experience level, you will find many of the symbols are obvious. Others need a bit more explanation. In much the same way ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics thousands of years ago, we process folks (in conjunction with our peers in the electrical, controls and other departments) just come up with our own set of symbols to represent the various equipment, devices and control concepts that go into our plants. When you look at it that way, one could argue

that not much has changed in a few thousand years. I suppose thats true. Hey, if it isnt broke, why fix it?

Enough of my bantering, lets get started already. I look forward to a healthy exchange. Part 2 will dig into P&IDs The Fundamentals. Ill include a few example drawings that we can use as we venture forth down that path of process knowledge.

If you want to get a head start, download them here. Stay tuned!

Part 2 The Fundamentals

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why a solid understanding of P&ID interpretation is important to virtually every discipline involved in a process plant from process engineering and detail design through construction, commissioning/start-up, operations and management. Im glad to see I sold you on that point and welcome you back to part two of this saga.

Things are starting to heat up and soon we will be weeding out the true process engineers from the causal posers who would rather go off and waste time browsing reddit or digg (which I never do by the way). We still have a bit of the academic stuff to cover before we really dig in but its important stuff so sit up straight and pay attention!

Lets kick things off by defining what P&IDs are and the types of information they illustrate. Afterwards, well cover some of their limitations. Its important to know the limitations of a tool so that you dont apply it in the wrong way.

At the end of Part 1, I provided a link to some example drawings that I put together to help illustrate some of the concepts I plan to discuss in this series. If you havent downloaded it yet, please do so now. The file contains: Two typical P&ID Lead Sheets, and A few example P&ID drawings A Word about Lead Sheets

We will talk more about the lead sheets (sometimes referred to as legend sheets) in Part 3 Symbology. If youve never encountered lead sheets before, for now, just know that lead sheets are used to define the equipment and device symbols, tags and other notations, abbreviations and sometimes esoteric conventions that companies use to develop P&IDs for any project they execute. If you compare lead sheets from a few dozen companies, you will find that 90% of them are pretty much Copy | Paste. For that last 10%, there can be distinct differences and company-specific conventions used that are not obvious on P&IDs. Therefore, it is good to know where the lead sheets are in your company so you can quickly track down the meaning of that pipe service label or some other obscure symbol. The Example P&IDs

The last three drawings in the download link include some fairly typical P&IDs. I plan to use these in some upcoming videos to illustrate how the symbols from the lead sheets are applied to a real drawing and then compare that drawing to actual pictures of real-world plants. This will help forge the cognitive connection from the abstract realm of cubicle dwellers at CAD stations to the real world of process plants in action!

Even if you are completely new to P&IDs, Im sure there are some aspects that are obvious to you in these example drawings things like the equipment and valve symbols, tags, etc. If not, thats OK too because we will get into the details later but for now, just look them over and familiarize yourself with whats there. What are P&IDs?

A P&ID (or engineering flow drawing, EFD) is a type of process engineering drawing that describes all process design aspects of a plant. In this context, Process Design means all the stuff that makes up a plant, including: Major and minor equipment the distinction between what is major vs. what is minor equipment is subjective Valves, including vents, bleeders, safety relief, sample (all of them!) Instrumentation, including devices that are used to continuously measure pressure, flowrate, massrate, temperature or some analyzed parameter such as pH, concentration, viscositythe list goes on. Stand-alone controllers that may function independently to perform a particular function, like a PID controller or relay timer.

Buttons used to control motors and devices, be they pushbutton, toggle, or some other type. Motors and drives many motors are single speed, non-reversing but there are other kinds that have variable speed drives, and can operate in both directions. Limit and point devices including devices that only reveal a discrete state, e.g., if a tank is at a certain level (point level), or a valve or actuator is in a particular position (a limit switch) Thats itjust kidding. Piping (of course!). All the pipes, tubes and even overflows in the plant. Not just the main process pipes inherent to the particular process, but even the utilities (steam, air, fuel, etc.). Virtual devices on computer control screens (often as graphical representations real-world objects) that are used to interact with the plant from the control room/panel. This includes things like clickable buttons used to start/stop equipment, operate valves, adjust controller settings, setpoint sliders and dials, evaluate alarms, etc. Computer functions and software links are generally limited because it is difficult to convey complete control meaning using just symbols. However, it doesnt matter if the process is running on a home-brew Excel VBA project with Dick-and-Jane graphics or a state-of-the-art Honeywell DCS the symbology used to represent the control interface will be shown.

I probably forgot some stuff in the list above but you get the idea. Clearly there can be a lot of information to show on a P&ID. And for this reason, there are various degrees of detail that a particular company will generally choose to show. There is no formal standard for the various amounts of information a P&ID must include. Rather, it is left to the discretion of the engineers involved.

In terms of detail provided, my opinion is that a good P&ID will strike a balance of clarity without confusion. If you cant see the process for all the symbols, then its probably overdone. On the other hand, if you cant even discern how a pump may be operated or what interlocks may exist, then you probably need to embellish it a bit. P&ID Support Documents

For those things that are deliberately left off P&IDs for the sake of clarity, other documents are used to provide the details. Common documents that serve vital support functions to P&IDs include:

Process Flow Drawings (PFDs) are simple flow drawings that illustrate the general plant streams, major equipment and key control loops. They also provide detailed mass/energy balance data along with stream composition and physical properties. P&IDs originate from PFDs. Piping and material specifications. Here, you can dig into all the gory details about materials of construction, gaskets, bolts, fittings, etc. for each of the services. (I will talk about this more in a future post.) Equipment and instrumentation specifications. Modern CAD software used to produce P&IDs are sometimes called smart because they can incorporate specifications, standards and details that go into the design. Yea, they are cool but just as you cant fix stupid, you cant see smart. Thus, its good to have tangible documents that folks can access and digest outside the masters of CAD. Functional/process control documents that describe in detail, how the plant operates. A good one will include preferred standards for use on control screens/displays. Folks involved in programming the computers used to operate the plant need these. How Should P&IDs be Organized?

Now you know what a P&ID is and what goes on them but youre not quite ready for the corner office. At this point its worth considering how a set of P&IDs can (and should) be organized for a particular process.

There is no single good answer to this question and most companies will have a defined precedent or standard that they follow but if you find yourself at File | New with nothing to go on, because you just started your own company and (whoa dude I just realized there is no mechanical group anymore) my advice is to keep in mind that when you set out to develop a set of P&IDs you are essentially writing a structured document, not unlike a book or report with chapters/sections and a logical progression. OK, a really boring book with no plot or characters, but you get the idea! My point is, you should plan the structure and break the task down into manageable sections based on area in the plant, function and other criteria that might be of importance to the project/process.

Heres a quick example. Consider a process plant with that receives raw feedstock in a storage area, feeds them into some reactor train(s) to make some product and then includes a storage and packaging back end. This particular process might be sitting inside a larger complex and leveraging existing utility infrastructure and tank farms. In this case, you might elect to break the P&IDs down as such: Raw material receiving and storage

Process trains for product manufacture Product storage and packaging Tie-ins to facility utilities and distribution Environmental controsl and specialty unit operations/vendor packages such as thermal fluid, complex unit operations, etc.

Breaking a set of P&IDs down into logical sections makes the drawing set easier to develop, digest and, perhaps most importantly change. Any of you that have tampered with object-oriented programming should be nodding in agreement at this point. Once you have the categorical areas broken down, the drawing set is then linked together via arrows and notations. Ultimately, it all fits together to like a puzzle to yield a continuous masterpiece.

Some companies like to develop their P&IDs so that if you had a huge wall, you could tape them together and all of the various interconnecting arrows would line up as the parts of a jigsaw puzzle. I have found that such an approach places unreasonable restrictions on the convenient location of equipment and arrows and generally doesnt afford any greater understanding of the holistic process. Its not uncommon for even relatively simple processes to have a dozen or more P&IDs so you would need a really big wall and then you wouldnt be able to read anything without getting close.

My advice is to make efficient use of the space provided, use the interconnect arrows as required to link them together and not get caught up on how well they align with the god of geometric continuity (I think that was a Greek god, not sure). What are P&IDs Used For?

P&IDs really do have vital roles. In fact, if I had to pare it down to the top two, this is my list: Act as the definition of the process from which all engineering, fabrication, construction and operation is based. Serve as reference for Process Safety Information (PSI) in Process Safety Management (PSM).

To effectively accomplish these objectives, a good set of P&IDs should do the following:

Provide a clear and concise illustration of all equipment, pipes, valves, instruments, sensors, etc. so that anyone involved has a solid understanding of the process. Provide information to assist in analyzing process hazards, safeguards and potential faults so that all kinds of errors (design, human/operation, etc.) are minimized, ideally eliminated. Support development of operating and maintenance procedures. Serve as an as-built record of the process so that changes can be planned safely and effectively using Management of Change (MOC).

So its pretty clear that the P&IDs define the process at a root level. They serve as the foundation upon which the system is designed, built and operated. Anyone who tells you that they can design a plant without first generating P&IDs either is a Deity or has endless funds that they enjoy throwing at poorly executed projects during the construction+ phases. P&ID Limitations

At this point, you might be wondering what P&IDs cant do. After all, so far weve painted a picture that they have seeming supernatural powers. Well, there are a few things that P&IDs dont do well and its important that you know what these are so that nobody makes any false assumptions because we all know what happens when one assumes.

Despite their illustrious superhero status in the process engineering world, there are a couple things P&IDs dont do well. Lets get it out in the open now: They dont reveal scale or geometry, They dont serve as a true model for how things are oriented and placed in the real world.

Like I said in the intro to this series, Ive been doing process engineering for 150 years (in the snow, uphill to work both ways) and I still run into instances where somebody will base a decision on how to make a change or try to find something in the plant based on where or how it looks on the P&ID. Heres a ProTip a better way to get a handle on where things really are at in the field is to use the P&IDs as a guide and do a walk-down or find other scale drawings.

Good examples of true scale drawings are the ones used by contractors to build the plant. These include civil and piping plans, sections and/or isometrics, skid/equipment fabrication drawings, instrument location plans, etc. If you just assume that a pipe is located somewhere because it looks that way on the P&ID, you might be disappointed!

Since were exposing the superman P&IDs to a bit of kryptonite, lets review some other weaknesses of P&IDs just to make sure weve covered all the key points: Not to Scale as stated above, P&IDs cant be relied on as a scale guide for where pipes, equipment or other items are in proximity to equipment in the real world. Yes, Im repeating that again because it will be on the quiz. Not Geometrically Accurate P&IDs dont illustrate geometry. The level of detail that goes into symbols for equipment will vary, but is almost never geometrically correct! Color Blind P&IDs are not good at using color to convey meaning. While the folks who draw them often use color to help spot things on a monitor, dont try too hard to glean meaning from color printouts or you may just end up seeing stars Not Definitive P&IDs do not include complete specs for all of the equipment in the process. They are, after all drawings, not documents. If you need details, grab the pertinent data sheets or vendor specs. Or ask someone for some help. Not Drawn Consistently Sadly, P&IDs seldom look consistent between companies. Thats because there is a lot of flexibility in how one can go about drawing a P&ID (due to various standards, CAD systems, etc.) and that leaves them open to company and/or personal preferences. As a result, P&IDs often take on a different look and feel from company-to-company or even from job-to-job inside the same company. This can be a point of confusion when you get used to a certain way of seeing them. But dont sweat it; just reorient yourself to the ways and means used by the process tribe in your group. Did you just think about lead sheets! Bonus point for you!

OK, so now you have a solid feel for what P&IDs are, the purposes they serve and their limitations. Hopefully, youve taken the time to at least glance at the example drawings provided. Great, in Part 3 of this series we will dig into the symbology used so we can interpret the geek speak of process engineers! Part 3 Symbology Primer

Welcome back to Part 3 folks! Let me apologize at the outset for the delay in getting this posted sooner but we had our Labor Day holiday here in the USA last week and oddly enough, we tend NOT to work on Labor Day. Go figure I suppose it should be called slacker day because I really didnt do much the whole weekend. In any event, Im back in the saddle so lets recap the last two parts before we hit the trail again. We have a lot of ground to cover before sunset. Part 1 talked about why the interpretation of P&IDs is important to everyone involved in the planning, design, and construction through operation of a process plant. Part 2 described the various functions P&IDs serve and highlighted the kinds of information they convey, along with the support documents that are commonly associated with them. We also talked about some of their weaknesses.

With the requisite academics out of the way, its time to focus on the exciting stuff P&ID symbology interpretation. Thats the goal I had when I started this series and by golly, Im sticking to it. However, Im going to warn you up front this is a big part in the series, figuratively and literally speaking.

I might even be pushing the limits of Chenected.coms server capacity but I did my best to balance breadth of content with depth of detail. If you think I shortchanged any areas and would like more detail on any topic, please let me know via the comment system. Ill do my best to oblige. Lead Sheets Define Symbology

As I mentioned in Part 2, the meanings of the various symbols used on P&IDs (aka, symbology) are defined on separate drawings called Lead Sheets (or Legend Sheets). These are your secret decoder rings to P&ID symbology interpretation. Every company that builds process plants should have a set of lead sheets customized to their particular ways and means.

Having seen a number of lead sheets over the years, I can tell you that most of them are just variations on a core set of generally accepted symbols and notations that engineers and industry organizations have settled on as defacto standards over the years.

The lead sheets I provide in the supporting file download to this series include the following; D001 Instrumentation and Valves

D002 Codes, Tags, and Labels

Heres the good news these lead sheets include 90.000.05% of what you need to know. Seriously, the significant digits are right here, I checked them. Yeah, I realize some companies have more than two lead sheets, four or five even.

Probably even a few with six or seven just to prove a point I suppose, but the number of lead sheets isnt important. What is important is that they are logically organized so that the symbols and tags can be located easily. Poorly organized and/or incomplete lead sheets will just frustrate folks who turn to them for help so its important to keep them neat, concise and logical. And the two I present here should be up-front-and-center in your set.

Related to the content I include on the example lead sheets, you might have noticed a conspicuous absence of lead sheets for major equipment, i.e., tanks, pumps, and sundry items typically included in process plants, etc. Its good to have lead sheets for that kind of stuff; Im not going to say otherwise. However, I have generally stopped using them in my group because; It is almost always self-evident what a symbol represents for major equipment, and Even if its not apparent, the major equipment is always tagged and named with some general specifications provided along one edge of the drawing. I underline always because thats the way it should be. I dont want to debate it. Just make it so!

Aside from these reasons, its tough to keep an equipment lead sheet updated when new or custom equipment that doesnt really have an industry standard symbol is added to a drawing for a particular job.

I could go on regarding the topic of symbols for major equipment but this is a topic I decided not to expand on in the interest of focusing more on the instrumentation and controls side of symbology. Shoot me a note if you want to discuss this more. Caveat Emptor

Before we move on, I want to address the operations folks here in attendance: Keep in mind that reading and understanding P&IDs is a core topic of operator training. And that training happens long before you step on-site. In fact, you

should know this stuff before you enter the room as a team member on a Process Hazards Analysis.

As a process engineer at heart, I view operations as my #1 client and work hard to make sure that they fully understand the plant and its procedures so that it can safely and efficiently meet its objectives. If you are in an operations group, you are not expected to have it all figured out just from reading this series alone. However, the following sections should serve as a solid primer.

And I will make you a simple promise so long as you dont get bored and start daydreaming about whether Brock Lesner will remain the UFC heavyweight champion for the next five years (I dont even), you will definitely walk away from this series with a solid, functional understanding of P&IDs! If you dont, call me and I will refund your money, no questions asked. Instrumentation and Controls Symbology

Well kick things off with what has traditionally been viewed as the hardest part of P&ID interpretation, that of course being instrumentation and controls. In my experience, this is the area that gives newcomers the most grief. Trust me, its not that hard and once you have this area conquered, everything after that is stupid simple and the learning curve will skyrocket.

The main symbols used for Instrumentation and Control (I&C) are shown in the table above. When you spot one of these on a P&ID, you will be able to glean three things from it, including: What is that device? Where is it located? Why is it there?

The what and where aspects can be determined from the symbol shape. The why part comes from text placed inside the symbol that is made up of two parts that form the tag number. This includes: An abbreviation for what the device is (based on ISA S5.1), combined with a

Loop number based on your companys preferred numbering system

Before I dig into this topic more heavily, its worth providing a couple simple tag number examples as a lead-in. Pressure indicators have the abbreviation PI and temperature indicators use the abbreviation TI. It follows logically that flow and level indicators use the abbreviations FI and LI, respectively. Since most plants can have many instruments of the same type, a unique number is applied so that each one can be individually identified.

This number is often referred to as the loop number. Thus, the device abbreviation + loop number become the unique tag number. While the device abbreviations are largely based on accepted standards (ISA S5.1), the loop numbering system is company specific.

My group happens to use a four digit numbering system. In this case, typical tag numbers for pressure and temperature indicators in our plants will be PI0134 and TI4348, respectively. You could even reuse the loop number 0134 to define other types of devices, such as a level indicator, LI0134 or flow indicator, FI0134. The same holds true for loop number 4348; it may be used for PI4348, LI4348 and HS4348 (where HS stands for Hand Switch).

The key point is that the abbreviation + loop number must be unique for each device otherwise, it cannot be uniquely identified. You can get creative and apply special prefixes (or suffix) numbers to the tag number when you want to reuse the same tag (like in cases where you have redundant devices but you dont want them to have different loop numbers). I will get into those when we look at the example P&IDs. But that is detail stuff. What is that control symbol?

Refer to the first row in the table above. A circle symbol is quite simply any physical instrument or device in the field or on a panel. It doesnt matter if it is a level transmitter, a flow meter, a pressure gauge or some other type of indicator. If it is a physical device that measures or displays something, it will be illustrated by the use of a circle on a P&ID.

Notice also how I placed the tag number PI0134 inside the symbol. The common practice is to place the device function abbreviation on the top line, with the loop number at the bottom. When the device is ordered and a stamped tag is requested, it should match the tag number placed inside the symbol on the P&ID.

Aside: Sometimes, you will hear folks refer to the symbols as instrument bubbles. This is just jargon that is commonly used. When you hear it, they are simply referring categorically to the symbol shapes I am talking about in this part. Just act like youve been calling them bubbles for years and show now sign of confusion!

Move down to the symbols on the second row of the table the ones that show a circle inside of a square. These are used to represent a graphic on a computer screen or control panel that you can see and possibly interface with via touch panel or a computer mouse. It might be used to show the level in a tank (as the tab number in the bubble shown here suggests) or represent a hand switch that you can click on with the mouse to start a pump (or a million other things!). The point is if you can see it on a control screen, it will be represented as a circle inside a square on P&IDs. Dont ask me who decided this, it wasnt me!

The last two rows are for symbols that let the reader know a computer is used to do some sort of complex processing. In the case of the hexagon, it means a computer is used. Thats a pretty vague description dont you think? I mean, is your plant a PC or a Mac? I dont want to get into that debate (my wife uses a Mac, otherwise I would) but my point is that some of these symbols begin to show their quaint age.

In the case of a square with a diamond in it, that means a programmable logic controller (PLC) is used. Ah yes, the venerable PLC still hanging tough after all these years. Even if you are not familiar with control computers or PLCs, dont sweat it. Just know that these symbols really represent software instructions that engineers write to define the automated behavior of the plant.

For example, code that tells a pump to automatically stop when the tank it is pumping from runs low. That would be a so-called low level interlock type function that would exist as instructions inside a PLC. In this instance, a level element provides the input and the computer runs a set of instructions that say stop the pump if tank level is low.

These symbols are often left off of P&IDs because they really dont provide any usable information that you could get out of just looking at the symbol. For example, in the simple example that I just provided, how could you describe the low level interlock using a symbol that looks like a square with a diamond in it? You couldnt!

You would need to supplement the P&ID with a written description of what the plant is supposed to do with all of the input it receives. So the symbols would just take up space and clutter the drawing for no good reason other than perhaps provide some pointer via a tag number to coded instructions. But the P&IDs serve the process, not the programmer so we cant have that! Symbology Star Power!

This brings me to the arbitrary star rating I gave all of the symbols in the table (see Bobs Review key at bottom of table). Folks, this isnt published by the ISA (as if I had to qualify this) but weve been together long enough for you to know

that this is how I roll. Its my way of explaining the frequency and importance of these symbols in most cases. Here goes.

For each symbol, I rate it based on how often it typically shows up on drawings that I have worked on over the years. Every plant is different but there is a general theme here. I view symbols with only one star as pretty much useless because the abstract concept they are trying to illustrate simply cant be done effectively with just symbology.

Two star symbols have value but may not show up very often or at all in many cases, depending on the type of plant and its design. Anything at or above three stars is a celebrity in our P&ID feature presentations. Were talking Arnold Schwarzenegger, whereas the one star symbol is akin to the nondescript ensign killed off in the first five minutes of a Star Trek episode.

So what about those quizzical computer symbols that I poke fun of? Well, you can still use them if you want but they need heavy support from a document that describes all of the functional requirements of a plant and that is typically called a Functional [Control] Description. Maybe in a future series (if youre good), we will cover functional control aspects. Oh Goody! I can almost sense your joy at the thought! Hey, pay attention and no smart remarks. We still have work to do here! Where is the device located?

If you glance back at the table, you will see that there are four columns that provide the Where part of a symbol. Now, as we discussed in Part 2 of this series, P&IDs generally arent good at showing you where something is located in the field. We arent talking about that kind of where. In this case, we are using where as a relative reference. Relative location is indicated via the presence of a centered, horizontal line (or lack thereof), a dual centered horizontal line, or a dashed centered horizontal line placed inside the symbol; Single horizontal line located on a main control panel near the control room or some computer screen in the main control room, No horizontal line located somewhere in the field, probably close to the general area shown on the P&ID, Double horizontal line on some secondary (satellite) local panel in the field. Single dashed horizontal line inaccessible or not generally located where it can be easily accessed or viewed. May also be used for hidden or password protected areas of a control system.

Notice in the above items, no specific location information is provided, only that the device or graphic is associated with a relative, general location. In many cases, its not hard to figure out where something is just from where the symbol is at on the drawing. But there are limits to what the symbol can convey. More on the Dashes

I have found that the dashed line symbols can cause confusion so I want to speak on those a bit more. When you see a symbol such as the one shown at left, that simply means that you cant normally see it or work with that device it in the field. It might be installed behind or inside of a panel so that it is normally not in view (inaccessible to the operator).

So in the symbols shown here, a circle with a dashed line in the middle means it is an instrument or device that you cant normally see or get to. If you are an operator, it is probably something you do not need to get to but it might still be vitally important to the plant control system, so we show it this way on a P&ID.

In a similar fashion, a graphic display symbol with a dashed line in the middle simply means that this portion of the control system is password protected or hidden from normal view on a screen or operating panel so you cant get to it unless you know the secret access code. Its not that people are keeping secrets from you (or maybe they arehmmmm); its just that it might contain important settings that nobody should ever need to mess with. Why is that device here?

Youve come a long way towards understanding control symbology. You can now identify what a control symbol represents and its relative location in the plant. But you still dont know why its there. Its not helpful to know how to identify a control symbol type if you cannot explain what purpose it serves in the plant. That is the point of the textual abbreviations placed inside the symbols.

We touched on this a bit above so now lets cover the essence of what you need to know and keep in mind, come of this is the way I like to do things, which doesnt necessarily mean it is the best or only way.

Refer to the figure below entitled Instrument Symbol Tag Identification. A control symbol will typically contain two lines inside it, as follows: Upper Line an abbreviation for the functionality it provides (based on the ISA 5.1 standard), and Lower Line a loop number that corresponds to the equipment or area it is associated with (or based on your companys preferred standard).

The upper line text abbreviation, along with the lower line tag number makes up the unique symbol identification tag. It is important that each symbol have a unique tag so that it can be individually identified. In this example, the symbol would be referred to as PDIT1703 in a process document or operating procedure.

There may be a bunch of other symbols with 1703 in them, but they must have a different text abbreviation before the 1703 or you wont be able to uniquely identify it. Part 4 of this series will talk more about typical device tagging protocols but for now; consider this your Introduction to Tagging 101.

The letters on the first line are in accordance with ISA standard 5.1, as described in the upper left corner of lead sheet D001. Each letter provides unique information. We can use the table in D001 to determine that this symbol represents: P First Letter stands for Pressure D Second letter is a modifier for the first and stands for Differential

I Third letter stands for Indicating T Fourth letter stands for Transmitter 1703 is the loop number (the Electrical Engineering eggheads need loop numbers too)

I like to base loop numbers off the associated major equipment. Thats just me, and I think it makes good sense. But if your company uses a different technique, roll with it. Now is not the time to be a renegade creator of new tagging systems. Fight your battles but win your wars!

So in this case, we have a pressure differential indicating transmitter installed on equipment 1703. You might see such a device across a strainer inlet and outlet to let you know what the pressure drop is across it so that you can clean it when it gets high. Common Instrument Abbreviations

There are a number of instrument letter combinations that you are likely to come across a lot. A few of these are listed in the figure titled Common Primary Device Symbols. These examples will help you get some practice understanding the abbreviations used for control symbols. You can compare the examples to the table on D001 to get the hang of it. These examples all represent field-mounted devices. We know that because they are all simple circle symbols with no horizontal lines. I told you this was pretty straight forward!

The hardest part in deciphering the abbreviations inside control symbols is figuring out what the letters designate when there are three or more letters used. Here are a couple rules of thumb: In the case of abbreviations with four letters, the second letter is a modifier to the first. When only three letters are used, the second letter probably is not a modifier.

As with any rule of thumb, you mileage may vary, so if in doubt, look it up using the table on D001 (or your own company lead sheets). Symbol Attributes

Depending on the symbol purpose, various other attributes may be placed near control symbols in supporting role. The section called Instrument

Abbreviations on lead sheet D001 defines some of the more common ones you might run into. These are simply helpful bits that provide further clarification for the situation at hand.

In many cases, it is helpful to know at a glance that a valve is FC (Fail Closed) or that DI is a (Digital Input). Refer to this table when you encounter abbreviations used around control symbols. Instrument Input-Output (I/O)

Despite major advances in computer technology and communications protocols, many instruments still transmit their signals using a trusty analog signal (via a 420ma, 24V). For switched devices, the input is typically a switch that simply provides a voltage input.

While it is not a common practice to show the type of signal a particular device sends to and/or receives from the control system (collectively referred to as the I/O), in my company I like to employ simple triangular symbols along the interconnecting lines to help illustrate the I/O flow (if you will) on a P&ID. This is illustrated using the symbols shown in the figure below.

The important point to remember when you see these symbols is that the I/O flow is always from the control computers perspective. Thus, all outputs (DO, AO) come out of a output module and go to some field device. Conversely, all inputs (DI, AI) are signals from field devices that flow into some input module.

Other types of I/O that may require specialized transducer cards or network protocols are sometimes used. For example, the KT signal is a common type of signal that a thermocouple employs. You may have also heard of RTD temperature sensors. There are a myriad of transmission protocols used today and as process engineers, we dont need to get caught up in that. But it is helpful to understand the flow of I/O in a plant and using these symbols is a cheap, easy way of showing that with no penalty on the complexity of the drawing!

All of the I/O symbols invariably link to the software line type (described below), as this is used to illustrate software processing within a computer or PLC. You dont know what is taking place just by looking at a line, but you can be sure that whatever it is, the Functional Control Description is the place to look to find out. Line Symbols

The key line types are highlighted in the figure at right. By far, the most common line type is the solid line, which is used to represent a pipe. Although not shown, a process line with long dashes means the pipe is existing or is outside the battery limits (OSBL) of the plant.

Other common line types that you should be able to identify are electrical signal (anywhere wires are employed), instrument air to control valves/devices (labeled as pneumatic signal) and software or data link which includes virtual communication such as what occurs inside a computer program or PLC ladder logic.

The software can include anything that happens inside a computer, but you need a functional description to actually know what that is, as we discussed earlier in this

brief. Just know that when you see a software line, it means computers are at work linking the devices in some meaningful way that relates to the system controls. Computing Functions

These symbols describe the types of functions that run inside a computer program. A problem with applying these symbols is that they do not really provide solid insights into how the plant is controlled in complex instances. For this reason, most P&IDs will make limited use of computing function symbols.

You can safely ignore these and not miss out on much because the functional control description is really intended to describe control details that these symbols try to illustrate.

Valve Symbols

The figures below show the key symbols for the various types of manuallyoperated valves and actuator details for automated valves. Note the attributed stems on the actuators to indicate fail state. This is a good example of using attributes to provide key information that is valuable to operations.

Connection Types

Regarding connections, the symbology shown in the figure below is standard. One point I will make is that in plastic piping systems (PVC, CPVC and ABS), everything is generally glued using a connection type called socket weld. However, socket weld can also be applied to metallic piping systems where a welded connection is employed using socketed (versus butt weld) fittings.

There is no specific designation between glued or welded socket connections. Nor is there a symbol for threaded connections.

When you start getting into what type of connection should be used in a particular pipe, this is not really something that is based on personal preference or simply what you might have on hand in the maintenance trailer. This is something that is based on things like the line service (whats in the line), conditions (temperature, pressure), and other factors (like supporting requirements).

This kind of stuff is defined in a Material and Line Specification Standard. We wont cover that in detail here but you know what? I just got an idea! This is great topic for a future series. The fun never ends does it? What about pipe fittings?

In case you are wondering (and I know you were), P&IDs generally do not show pipe fittings (elbows, tees, unions, o-lets, etc.). Nor will they include all the various flanged connections that might actually exist in the plant. These are details that show up on piping plans/sections, isometrics and fabrication drawings. So, unless it is important to the process design for some reason, fittings and extraneous flanged connection are generally not shown. If you need to get a fitting take-off, look elsewhere!

Transducer Functions

This is an area that defines signal conversion. Only electrical engineers get excited about this stuff, and you really dont need to focus too much on this. In fact, I almost skipped it but I just know that if I did someone would ask, so lets get this out of the way because this electrical stuff is starting to get a tad boring

A transducer is something that takes a signal in one form and converts in into another form so that it can be used by a downstream device. For example, a control valve may need air to actuate but receive an electrical signal to tell it to do that. Somehow, you have to get the electric signal converted into an equivalent air signal so the valve can move. Hello signal transducer.

In this particular example, an I/P (current to pneumatic) transducer is necessary so that the valve can be positioned to any desired opening point with just an electrical signal. This is the most common transducer function used in many plants; the others listed are comparatively rare.

So, understand what I/P means when you see it and dont worry too much about the rest of them for now. When you graduate to Master Ninja P&ID interpreter, then we will focus on these details.

Primary Flow Elements

These symbols are nothing more than graphic illustrations that complement the control bubbles to help readers of the drawing more easily identify the type of flow element being employed. The most common types are shown in this table on D001.

These symbols are not really critical towards an understanding of the instrumentation or controls. Level elements dont have an equivalent. Nor do other common instrument types.

Breaktime!

OK, so now you have a solid feel for what P&IDs are, the purposes they serve, their limitations and supporting document requirements and now a pretty solid handle on the symbology used. Despite all the ground we covered in this part, we havent really had a chance to go through a few examples.

Everyone knows that when it comes to learning new information, application it is key. The old adage use it or lose it applies. I still aim to get to some examples but for now, just take a well deserved break and let this stuff sink it. Besides, Im sure they need to go buy a couple more hard drives for Parts 4 and 5. Be sure to drop me any comments you have so that I can tailor the remaining parts.

Hang in there, we are almost done. Your on the back side of the race and heading towards the finish line. Thanks for joining me! Part 4 Codes, Tags and Labels

So you are back for more in Part 4? After all we went through in Part 3, those still standing probably deserve a medal or something. That said, unlike Part 3 where we really covered a lot of detailed nuts-and-bolts, this part will be a comparative piece of cake. Kind of like the last day of school where you know you still need to go and it might even be kind of fun, but you dont have to do any real work and the stuff you do take home will be memories not homework. Thats the frame of mind you need to have for Part 4, ok?

But before you take this as a cue to start shooting spitballs at your host, sit up straight because this part is vital to your understanding and development of clean, clear, odor-free P&IDs.

Since this series is kind of long (hey, who snorted!?), lets get the requisite recap out of the way for those who missed the previous parts and need to circle back: Part 1 talked about why the interpretation of P&IDs is important to everyone involved in the planning, design, and construction through operation of a process plant. Part 2 described the various functions P&IDs serve and highlighted the kinds of information they convey, along with the support documents that are commonly associated with them. We also talked about some of their weaknesses. Part 3 covered the nitty-gritty aspects of instrumentation and control symbology. Along with that, we dissected tag abbreviations and how loop numbers uniquely identify devices. Since we were on a roll, we closed out this part with all the ancillary I/O symbols, line types, piping connections and other various sundry items peripheral to the main theme.

Up till now, we have spent a great deal of our time focusing on the first lead sheet, D001 Instrumentation and Valves, provided along with other drawings in the supporting file download to this series. In this Part 4, we will turn our attention to the remaining lead sheet, D002 Codes, Tags, and Labels.

As I have mentioned previously, D002 is an example lead sheet typical of the ones I have used in the past. It may look different from the ones your company uses and thats OK. Its not as important how a company prefers to do labeling on a P&ID, only that they do it clearly, consistently and based on a robust system that is amenable to future change and additions. An extensible tagging system if you will. Thats a concept that may be a bit unfamiliar to some so I will discuss that as a sort of prerequisite. Hang in there, I see the finish linejust around the corner! P&IDs Are Really Databases, Wait..what?

While P&IDs are representations of the process to the casual observer, their underlying structure more closely resembles a relational database. In fact, for those of you familiar with todays common computer aided drafting packages, you may realize that a CAD drawing is really a database of objects assembled in a structured manner. Even if you reuse the same object over and over in a drawing, the CAD system keeps track of it with a unique identifier. This is very similar to a process plant in that, well for starters, we apply tags to keep track of equipment, piping, valves, devices, etc.things that we reuse over and over again in any given process design.

So I am here to tell you folks, when you design a process and develop the P&IDs in CAD, you are really assembling a database along the way. This isnt lunacy with half a bowtie. Im serious and I would urge you to get familiar with relational database design, if only from an academic standpoint. Like object-oriented programming, these abstract concepts are extremely valuable towards implementation in our line of work.

Some examples? Ok, behold my exhibitslike a database, a process plant illustrated using CAD on a set of P&IDs: Contains collections of similar objects with unique tags so that even identical objects (valves, pumps, instruments, etc.) can be uniquely identified. Is assembled in a structured manner that lends itself to additions, deletions, changes, etc. with a granularity as coarse as whole unit areas, down to a single valve on a pipe anywhere in the plant. Contains lots of metadata in the tagging systems that can inherently provide (or link to) much more detail such as specifications, materials of construction, data sheets, etc.

Theres more than just the above but I will rest my case. I hope you agree that while the tags and labels themselves are self-evident, the real power is in the underlying tagging system used. And so youre still thinking, why must a tagging system be so robust and extensible? I mean, come on Bob, arent you making a mountain out of mole hill?

Well, glad you asked; the answer is quite simply because most plants change over their useful life. Change comes from a lot of different angles:

Operational Tweaksimprovements often come from the operations folks. In my experience, some of the best improvements to a plant dont come from the egghead engineers sitting in their cubicles, but from the folks in the plant dealing with the machine each and every day. It is in their interest to make it work better, safer and cheaper. Capacity/Production Changesoften, a particular unit operation needs to be expanded to meet new production requirements or changes in feedstock or product requirements that shift the process design needs. Ive seen instances where complete new trains have to be added to a system. PSM Audit ReviewProcess Safety Management requires that process documentation be kept up to date and routine plant audits and Process Hazard Review may reveal changes that should be implemented to a plant that is already in operation. The P&IDs are the reference upon which such reviews are based and must always be in a current As-Built state.

The key take-away from the list above is that the P&IDs serve initially as the process definition upon which the plant is designed. But then they serve operations long after the plant is built. This is why earlier in this series I espoused the need for engineers to be routinely, actively engaged in ongoing operations. Not only will you learn a lot about the plant that you yourself may have helped build, the feedback you receive will be invaluable to maintaining a safe operation. Plus, you can implement the lessons learned on future projects.

Now that Ive driven home the importance of a structured tagging system, lets turn attention to the meat of this Part 4the actual tagging of equipment and devices. Equipment Tags

Lots of companies use what appears initially to be an intuitive, simple system to tag equipment. It later reveals itself not to be very intuitive or robust. Lets pause for fictitious example (that bears no resemblance to my past, really).

GitRDun Process, Inc. has decided to build a new plant to produce Trimethylkabif, a precursor to a drug that yields quick weight loss, improved memory and muscle tone while eliminating irritable bowl, gastric reflux and attention deficit. The process folks start out tagging equipment as follows: Pumps are simply tagged P-1, P-2, P-3 (makes sense right?) Agitators are tagged AG-1, AG-2, AG-3, etc. Dude this is so simple!

And of course tanks and vessels are tagged TK-1, TK-2, TK-3 (or V-1, V-2, V-3). Could do this in my sleep

And so onLife is good. Later on, though less common equipment starts getting added, and this starts to stress the intuitive nature of the system.

For example, a centrifuge is initially tagged C-1 but now they need to add a conveyor but C is taken so they decide to call the conveyor CO-1. Now they think, well, we will just revise the centrifuge tag to CE-1. Crisis avoidedBut wait, later they need to add a chemical feed package and want to tag that CF-1. OK, thats cool but then a bunch of cross flow filter modules is added they decide to steal the CF label for those and change the chemical feed to CE, no waitcant do that, CE is taken by the centrifuge. So they bite the proverbial bullet and call the chemical feed skid CS-1 where S is intuitive for supply. Right? Try again quiz kid. Nobody is going to see that as intuitive. And then one day, it hits GitRDuns process engineers that their initially conceived so-called intuitive tagging system is a heap of broken confusion and nobody knows their CEs from their COs. Cue the Jackson 5 song A B C, simple as 1 2 3! A Better Tag Numbering System

To avert the problems inherent in the above example, many process industries utilize a numeric-only system for tagging equipment. This helps simplify the logical categorization of equipment during the process design phase. Moreover, a structured tag system is more intuitive for the development of design documentation, operating procedures and training, and general documentation upkeep/maintenance. With that in mind (and considering the points presented earlier in this Part), the following method is but one example of how to tag process equipment using an extensible system.

Area Number, AN

Most sizable process plants are comprised of multiple areas. An area is a physical, geographical, or logical grouping determined by the site. It may contain process cells, units, equipment modules, and control modules (more details can be found

at isa.org). To facilitate a hierarchical organization of equipment, equipment tags should then incorporate area designation.

A small or simple project may have only one area. Conversely, larger more complex projects may have multiple areas. The assignment of areas is at the discretion of the process engineer and can be subjective. The only general rule that I like to employ is that common equipment that serves multiple areas, e.g., utility and infrastructure system be placed into a Common Resources area rather than be made a part of any other process area. Once areas have been designated for a particular project type, engineers should strive to maintain common area designations on future, similar projects. For example, the areas shown in the figure above may be defined on the lead sheet for a fictitious project. Equipment Types, ET

Equipment can be identified based on its type using a numeric system such as the simple one shown below. In cases where equipment has multiple functions, user discretion is advised in selecting the most suitable type code.

Sequence Number, SQ

This is the consecutive numbering of like equipment in a particular area. The sequence begins with 01. All equipment is to a have its own sequence number. The use of alphabetic or other tag suffixes is to be avoided. Example Equipment Tags

Using the system outlined above, a four-digit system emerges that may not be instantly recognizable in terms of what the specific equipment is (or where), but it will eventually become very familiar to those who are intimate with the plant. A few examples using the area numbers defined above are provided below: 1101 The first pump in the tank farm area. 1701 The first tank in the tank farm area. 1405 The fifth mixer in the tank farm area. 2901 A vendor package in the Train 1 area.

The equipment tag number should be prominently displayed near the symbol used for the equipment. For example, the tag number for a centrifuge might appear as follows on a P&ID.

Lastly, all major equipment should be named and provided general specifications in a label placed along the drawing border. A couple examples for a pump and tank follow.

It is up to your company to decide on the final formatting, location (some companies like to put certain equipment labels near the top of the border), and which particular specifications should be included along with each major equipment label. The system presented here is fairly simple and broadly applicable. Irrespective of these details, I highly recommend that every piece of major equipment receive a label with a similar level of detail. Instrument Loop Numbers

A benefit of using four digit equipment numbering system such as the one presented above is that the tags lend themselves toward application in defining

associated instrument loops. This makes grouping equipment and associated instrumentation devices more logical.

Think back to our friends at GitRDun Process, Inc. Their tagging system consisted of tags like P-1, AG-1, CE-2, etc. These tags are not amenable for use in defining instrument loops. However, a four digit system does neatly tuck into instrument bubbles and when you think about it, most instruments and devices serve or are primarily associated with a piece of equipment. And even when that is not the case, they can readily borrow from the equipment type code 9 in cases where, for instance, a pressure gauge on an air header serving the entire area must be defined.

Considering the above points, the following instrument and device tagging system is but one effective way to tag instruments and devices:

Where; PX device type prefix (as per ISA 5.1) EQ the associated equipment tag (as defined above) SX duplicate or redundant device suffix (see details below) Duplicate Suffix, SX Rules

A suffix is provided to accommodate instances were many devices of the same type are associated with a given piece of equipment. For example, a vessel may have many lines connected to it, each having its own actuated valve. To resolve these instances so that each device has its own unique loop number, there are two suffix tag methods that can be employed, If a piece of equipment has redundant devices associated with it, an alphabetic suffix may be appended to the loop number, e.g., FV1101A, FV1101B, FV1101C, etc. (Note: Redundant means serving the same purpose as another device in a backup fashion.) If a piece of equipment has multiple items of the same type, each of which with different functions (not redundant) then a numeric system should be employed, e.g., FV1101-1, FV1101-2, etc. Example Loop Tags

Based on the above discussion, some example loop tags are provided below. If needed, the reader can visit a more though discussion in Part 3 regarding instrument abbreviations. (Note: In the examples provided, I use the example Area Numbers presented as examples above.) PI1101 A pressure indicator on the discharge of the first pump in the tank farm area. LT1701 A level transmitter on the first tank in the tank farm area. IT1405 A current transmitter (for the motor) on the fifth agitator in the tank farm area. AE1701A One of at least two redundant analyzers on the first tank in the tank farm. Hence, one would expect to see AE1701B, AE1701C as indicated. XV1701-1 An actuated valve on the first tank in the tank farm area. The suffix -1 implies there are other valves associated with tank 1701 but in an alternate service (i.e., not redundant). For example, XV1701-1 may be on the inlet to the tank, while XV1701-2 may be on the outlet. Line Numbers

Similar to equipment and instrumentation, every pipe on a P&ID requires a unique tag number so that it can be uniquely identified during design, or referenced in operating procedures. Since most lines are also affiliated with a major piece of equipment to which they connect, I like to employ a numbering system similar to that used for instrument loops whereby the equipment tag is integrated into the line tag in the following manner (Note: D002 provides an alternate method that

employs drawing number instead of equipment number but I generally prefer the method given below.)

XSVCET:SQLS

Where; X the nominal size of the pipe SVC the service code for the material that normally flows in the line (see examples below for list) ET:SVC a unique line tag that includes two parts, the equipment tag from which the line originates followed by a unique sequential number LS line specification for the pipe, including class and material type, valves etc. Service Codes, SVC

Service codes are abbreviations for the fluid the line primarily handles.

Since some lines can serve many different process fluids, the fluid used to specify the materials for the line should go here. The list should be available on a lead sheet in a manner similar to that provided in the example above. Line Specifications, LS

Line specifications cover all the details related to the piping system used to handle the fluid for the line. This should include all details regarding material of construction, valves and trim, gaskets, fittings, T/P limits, and much more. This is beyond the scope of this series but is such a critical component of plant design that I might expand on this in a future post. Hand Valves

Hand valves require a consistent and clear tagging system for reference in operating procedures. There are a number of techniques that can be used, but one that I generally prefer is as follows.

In the example provided at left, one can discern valve size, spec and tag number. This might be more information than you want to include on some P&IDs. In cases where you just want to show the valve tag and allow the spec and size to be derived implicitly from the line tag, the following method is one option:

V D# SQ

Where; HV or V A literal and required part of all hand valve tags D# last two digits of P&ID drawing number SQ Sequence Number (01 to 99) V0001 The first hand valve on P&ID D100 V1205 The fifth hand valve on P&ID D102 Example Hand Valve Tags V0001 The first hand valve on P&ID D100 V1205 The fifth hand valve on P&ID D102

Wrap-Up

Further to the content in this part, D002 includes a few more examples of common tags and codes applied in P&IDs, such as insulation, interconnecting arrows, etc. These are important parts but are pretty self-evident. Aside from that, most companies have very specific ways and means on these items so I wont cover them in depth here.

Well, I started this out by saying it was going to be fun and simple and I hope you leave this series feeling like I made some solid points that will be of value to you going forward. In a follow-up to this series, I will put together a complementary video where I take a few typical P&IDs (like the ones Ive attached here) and discuss all of these aspects in what I hope to be a much more engaging manner. You will then be able to get a much better feel for seeing and hearing this information.

Now venture forth with your new knowledge and apply it for good. Stay safe and have fun. Part 5 Series Videos

Grab some popcorn and turn the lights down, its beer-thirty and time for a break. Weve talked enough about P&IDs, and now its time to infuse the (sometimes) dry material with a bit dare I say excitement? While Ive had fun with this series and even poked fun at myself for being a little nerdy (which Im not), truth is, reading about process drawings can get a bit stale.

So, as I promised at the outset of the series, Ive put together a few videos to help cement and highlight aspects that are hard to do by the written word. In so doing, I even manage to slip in some bonus features that I didnt talk about in the written parts of this series!

First, an introductory video: Or you can head on over to my page at YouTube to check them out! Hint: Be sure to start with the introductory video and work your way down the series. Since YouTube limits videos to 15 min each, I had to break some of the videos up into parts.

These videos dont cover the second lead and other items that I want to cover. I plan to cover those in an appended post.

Folks, thanks for hanging tough with me on this extended journey. I put you through it because its important stuff and, in all honesty, I still love talking about it. Aristotle said Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.

- Bob