ARCHLine.XP is a building information modeling (BIM) software for professionals.
MEP stands for piping and HVAC which are the current engineering disciplines that are addressed by ARCHLine.XP MEP.
The concept is the idea of using the MEP in a BIM model in ways that allows the common work of architects and MEP designers at each stage of a building project.
Advanced functions help designers to synchronize design tasks, improve project quality, and connect their work.
Automated routing connections, System, MEP calculation, parametric fitting content library with variations.
Available as Add-on module for LT and PRO version.
MEP module is available for ARCHLine.XP 2023 LT with the following content:
MEP tools + system + calculation + interference
ARCHLine.XP 2023 Professional comes by default with MEP tools and the MEP module content is:
System + calculation + interference
Basics of the MEP system
Track: defines the theoretical 3D location of a system
Physical network: pipes, ducts, connected with objects containing connection elements, the connector.
The Connector defines a plane, a profile on it, the system and the flow direction. Depending on the system, it can also carry physical characteristics, which greatly influences the generated 3D parameters of the system, depending on the approximation of the generating algorithm to reality.
The basis of the physical network is that the Connectors are connected to each other, that is, based on their profile, their spatial appearance must coincide, their specified direction must be appropriate, and the systems must also correspond to each other.
The system can be open or closed.
With an open system, the program will indicate an error during the system check. (A plumbing system can also be closed by putting a tap or a sealing element at the end)
A track can only belong to one system. The systems cannot be mixed.
In general, systems can be connected via mechanical elements, that is, several systems can be connected to one object (e.g.: the gas boiler: cold water, hot water, heating, electricity), but only via the Connector belonging to the corresponding system.
An object typically contains at least 2 Connectors. The elements can only be connected via these Connectors.
The software has a set of tools for modeling MEP. These commands are located in the MEP section of the ribbon.
The modeling tools are divided into:
● Cable tray
● MEP objects
The visualization tools are divided into:
● ARCH-MEP view: visual effects to show architecture and MEP models together
● Details: for the representation scale in 2D-View
● Dimensions: for annotating measurements
ARCHLine.XP MEP implements a system concept, i.e. it is able to identify connected elements that are part of the same plant system (e.g. Domestic hot water, or Ventilation, etc...) and perform mass operations such as scaling, coloring, calculating and balancing, always keeping the elements connected to each other.
From the first button of the ribbon it is possible to access the properties of the MEP entities. For example, it is possible to establish the properties of a pipe or duct, save or recall a SET.
Objects and connectors
MEP objects are special 3D-Objects that contain connectors inside. Within the Design Center, the software library, they can be identified by a special marker in the preview.
Connectors are anchor points that allow you to connect pipes or ducts.
The connector is a fundamental component in MEP modeling, it provides the diameter or section properties of the pipe/duct to be connected, as well as the system properties, i.e. the MEP discipline to which that connection point refers. The connector can also be assigned a series of non-geometric information such as the flow rate or direction of a flow, any losses or other values that can be used for design purposes.
By querying the properties of an MEP object, the software displays the connectors.
Connectors appear as Markers/Grips in 2D-View and 3D-View. You can start drawing new pipes from them.
Creating a new MEP Object
To create a new MEP object, simply place any 3D-Object inside the work area and start associating connectors to it.
Using the commands on the ribbon it is possible to create connectors respectively for Pipes or for Ducts, and with a rectangular rather than a circular section.
After selecting the object, click on one of its surfaces. Its center will be detected and the connector inserted on it.
Subsequently, using the mouse and dialogs that appear on the screen, it is possible to determine the outlet direction of the pipe, the effective section profile of the connector, and the system properties.
If the object does not have flat surfaces suitable for positioning the connector, some additional commands allow you to create virtual support planes for the subsequent creation of the connector.
MEP objects from external files in RFA format
The .rfa (Revit Family) format is a very widespread format which is establishing itself as a standard among manufacturers of components for plant engineering. There are several sources on the web from which to retrieve mep objects in this format. ARCHLine.XP imports the .rfa format and allows mep objects to be downloaded directly from portals such as BIM Objects.
NOTE: Manufacturers often "exaggerate" with the complexity of their models because they tend to include many details of a geometric nature (they often use the same 3D models used for production). The use of very heavy objects makes it difficult for the designer to manage a large quantity of them in a complete project. We recommend that you carefully select the objects you use for your design.
To import an MEP Object use the commands from the File menu - Import - RFA, TVT
Once the file has been selected, or downloaded via the internal ARCHLine.XP browser from one of the compatible portals, the software will automatically open the sketch mode, temporarily closing the project you were working on.
Within this modality there is only the imported object, and exploded in all its components.
In this mode, if necessary, we can clean the object from unnecessary 3D parts, or add others.
To save the object use the Sketch Mode menus.
The software will ask where to save the object in the library.
Note:the imported BIM parameters are saved together the object. If there are any, the connectors are also stored.
The Pipe element allows you to draw connection pipes between the MEP objects. Like any software entity, it has a section to define the properties before its insertion.
The basic properties are related to the 2D representation, such as color, line type, line thickness. etc.
Note: The priority can be a field that helps to optimize the representation of the design when several pipes pass one over the other because it allows you to define up to 8 overlapping levels.
Moving on to the geometric parameters, we find the parameters for defining the profile-section, which can be circular or rectangular, the material, and other parameters relating to the information associated with the duct, which are used for calculation purposes.
SETS can be saved or recalled to manage frequently used types.
MEP entities are special entities: the properties defined before insertion are valid if the "free" drawing technique is used, starting from an empty point in the work area. Since these are connection elements between MEP objects, in the most common use of the instrument, many properties will be overwritten and set dynamically in relation to the specific situation. (Eg the section is set on the basis of the connectors of the MEP objects, or the colors can be forced on the basis of the system to which they belong).
Creating a pipe in the work area is possible in two ways: with a free pipe starting point, or starting from a socket point.
Drawing a pipe with a free pipe starting point is similar to the 3D extrusion, polyline commands, [...].
The commands in the properties bar inform you about the current inclination, which can be modified with the given values or with the "modify inclination" button on the ribbon.
The "vertical movement" allows you to continue the path by moving in height.
Depending on the current situation, the next pipe may have one or two degrees of freedom. This can be changed by clicking on the blue or green grid icon.
It is possible to enter a height difference, or an exact elevation to which the Pipe must move.
To add a branch you can insert a fitting on the Pipe.
The Tee fitting is among the quick options, alternatively other fittings are present in the library. It is possible to insert them with the Drag&Drop technique.
The size of the fitting is assigned based on the Pipe it is inserted into. It is possible to modify them by accessing the properties of the single fitting.
By clicking on the green node, you start drawing a Pipe, whose properties remain unchanged with respect to those previously defined, except for the diameter, which is detected by the starting connector.
If a Pipe route is selected, regardless of the active View, grips appear. The entire segment is recognized as a single polyline if the pipes are connected to each other. Dimension grips show stroke lengths and stroke lengths, if any.
Nodes are connectors that the software automatically generates at the beginning and end of each tube. Red nodes represent connected connectors, green nodes represent free connectors.
Other Pipes can start (or arrive) from a free connector.
Offset and Add Node
By clicking a Grip-side, you can offset the selected side.
The direction of the offset is taken from the active view.
For example, if we perform the operation on a section view, the software fixes it to the vertical direction, while if from a 2D view, it performs the horizontal shift.
The same concept applies to the "Add Node" command.
The software takes care of connecting the Pipes using the Fitting most suited to the angle, using the object defined in the Fittings properties.
The Duct entity has a similar behavior to the Pipe. It too can have a circular or rectangular profile. The underlying command is basically the same, with the same modeling options. It differs in the logical organization of project elements, for system properties.
The Cable tray presents a behavior similar to the Pipe. It differs in having an open profile and a dedicated fitting library.
MEP modeling and connections
MEP modeling, unlike architecture, is a much more rigid modeling, closely related to connecting elements together. ARCHLine.XP offers techniques to support the user in modeling, facilitating the connections between elements.
As previously said, the software allows you to insert a Pipe or duct starting from a connector. This command is accessible via the menus or via the grips.
The pipe or duct is inserted with the general properties set, except for the section which is taken from the connector.
Select the "Draw from Connector" command from the MEP menu, then select the MEP object. The software will show the available connectors.Select the starting connector.
Directly select the grip on the MEP object, and from the menu activate the "Draw from connector" command
The “Draw from Connector” command is the default command when the connected green grip is clicked. If the grip is red it means that the connector is already occupied.
When tracing a pipe or duct, the software allows you to take references, by passing the mouse over other connectors of the same system (we will explain the concept of system later), a blue grip appears. If I finish drawing over a blue grip the software connects the pipe or duct to the connector.
Attention, the connection takes place only if the pipe is aligned in 3D, and therefore if the drawing ends exactly above the connector.
The software provides a command for routing. Routing is an algorithm that the software calculates to automatically generate the connection between two connectors of MEP objects, having the same system.
The Automatic Routing command is activated from the multifunction menu, while a pipe or duct is being drawn. So it is a subcommand.
Select the destination object, the software will propose the choice of connectors of the same system to connect to, if any.
The optimal path (polyline) is calculated by the software, but can later be modified by editing.
Through the software options it is possible to define the default height for each type of system. It means that the routing algorithm first tries to bring the path to the defined height, then finds the optimal path to reach the destination MEP entity, and finally moves up again to connect.
Automatic routing includes in its algorithm the search to bypass other MEP entities
Branches, connector routing
There are two special routing techniques, which are activated before you start drawing a pipe run. Therefore, these are main commands and not subcommands.
Routing from connector allows you to connect a connector of a device to another section of pipe or duct, inserting the branch.
First of all, both commands ask you to identify a point in the section of pipe or main duct where to insert the fitting, then they differ in the connection method. The first makes an automatic connection.
The second allows the user to manually drive the route (to optionally use the automatic routing subcommand later).
Changing the size manually
The software, thanks to the System concept, is able to break down the network of connected pipes or ducts into Sections and Branches.
Branch: set of sections, between one branch and another.
Section: Single piece of pipe or duct between two nodes.
It is possible to modify the section of a section or of an entire branch. The software will take care of keeping the circuit connected, adding the reductions, or modifying the properties of the fittings..
|Edit entire branch
|Edit single part
Sanitary water system
The domestic hot water model can be created using MEP objects with Domestic Hot Water or Domestic Cold Water type connectors.
After having positioned the boiler and the taps, it is possible to proceed by connecting the MEP objects appropriately.
It is advisable to set 2 different elevation levels for the lines so as to avoid overlapping between the pipes.
The model for the heating system can be built using MEP objects with Supply Hydronic or Return Hydronic type connectors.
After having positioned the boiler and the manifolds, it is possible to proceed by connecting the MEP objects appropriately.
It is advisable to set 2 different elevation levels for the lines so as to avoid overlapping between the pipes.
Heating system (underfloor)
The model for the heating system can be built using MEP objects with connectors of the type Supply Hydronic or Return Hydronic.
The "underfloor heating" function allows you to automatically trace the pair of pipes. The element resulting from the generation is to be considered as a terminal of the plant and therefore to be connected to the distribution.
First determine a closed polygon within which to calculate the serpentine.
Then define an entry point for the pipes and then indicate the diameter, elevation and distance between the pipes.
You can add TAGs and Schedules to extract information about quantities.
Mechanical ventilation system
The model can be built using MEP objects with Supply Air or Return Air type connectors.
After having positioned the ventilation unit and the manifolds, it is possible to proceed by connecting the MEP objects appropriately.
A particular "Add flexible" function allows you to connect the pipe to the terminals.
View Templates help to increase accuracy and reliability of MEP design in BIM model.
Enables to alter the appearance of the 3D views between architecture and MEP disciplines.
1. MEP only view displays the MEP elements only.
2. MEP primary view shows the building in the background and MEP elements clearly in the foreground.
3. Architecture primary view is exactly the opposite.
4. Architecture only view shows the building only.
5. Reset view displays all.
The command allows you to modify the properties of a 3D-View, or a Section View to view the mep model and the architectural one together.
For example, it is possible to display the MEP elements in the primary mode, which will thus appear superimposed, or to display only the MEP model.
It is possible to combine this option with the typical options for displaying the 3D-View.
Schematic design phase
In this phase, the designer can place the main units and terminals according to the building requirements. Piping strategy might be coordinated manually on 2D floor plan or automated routing with sizing estimates.
Detailed design phase
The detailed design phase is where MEP system calculation is the core activity. It performs sizing and balancing for all MEP components.
Designers can also switch to manufacturers products, meaning they can create the design with real products.
Material lists are available of all the fittings and MEP objects in the project with selected properties.
Integrated system calculations
The integrated system calculation allow designers to perform calculations throughout the design process in order to visualize planned system performance and to compare design alternatives if necessary. System calculation executes automatic sizing, and verification of compliance with design requirements.