The Renaissance System®
For Instrument Engineering ...
Terry Wilford's customers are engineers who didnt
give up on the idea of automating their document production.
After trying everything from spreadsheets and databases
to project engineering packages, along and in combinations,
they came to Wilford, who is President of Renaissance
for the Renaissance System® for Instrument Engineering.
Before Renaissance®, users systems generally
stored information in multiple databases for different
software packages. It was difficult to figure out where
and how to look for data, and hard to control revisions
of multiple databases. With Renaissance®, users
are able to keep all their design data in a single,
The software is designed specifically for instrumentation
and control engineering, says Kevin Andelin, I&C
engineering for Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago,
Ill. It is made to produce I/O lists, loop diagrams,
cable box diagrams, and other I&C documents. The
package is compatible with AutoCAD. "The loop drawing
part was the big seller for me," Andelin says.
"I can access the database automatically and put
out current, as-built loop drawings at any time."
A single, easily-accessed repository for all kinds of
I&C data invites users to store lots of data for
diverse purposes. Roy Prewitt, electrical and instrumentation
department manager at RPM Engineering, Baton Rouge,
La., is assembling complete data on each of the plants
of his major clients. He also has customized report
templates to satisfy each clients requirements.
While there is a significant initial investment to get
the data and formats set up, Prewitt finds he can offer
the client superior service and reduced costs for second
and subsequent projects. "We dont have to
reinvent the wheel every time," he says. "Field
experience can be used to update project management
data such as installation man-hours and product costs.
This information can be used for more accurate product
selection and project costing, adds Prewitt. Fast, accurate
estimates help win bids and build business relationships."
Entering all the necessary data is an onerous,
ongoing task, users agree. But the Renaissance®
package is simple and user-friendly enough to allow
data to be entered by a clerk under an engineers
supervision. "I can outline the work, then have
others, who are less technical, do a large portion of
it," says Andelin. Engineers are relying mainly
on demonstration, tutorials, and examples to figure
out how to use the software. "They came in and
gave us a demo and showed us a little about it,"
says Dennis Thibodeaux, senior control engineer at Olin
Chemicals, Lake Charles, La. "Once you get going,
its pretty self-explanatory." To date, the
applications are DOS-based. A new Windows version is
being distributed that should improve user-friendliness.
"Im looking forward to the Windows version.
On the DOS version, you have to know how to write a
query in order to find a record," says Thibodeaux.
"That should be improved in the Windows version."
Despite the positive response to the package, some users
see room for improvement. Like other users, John Harden,
instrumentation and electrical maintenance engineer
at Quantum Chemical, Clinton, Iowa, found the documentation
to be "not really tremendous. It shows a lot of
examples, but you have to dig some of the stuff out
yourself." He says. While users found the documentation
to be of limited value, they were enthusiastic about
Renaissances customer service. "We had a
real learning experience on the system configuration.
Part of it was our company standards on what memory
manager to use and how were configured. Once we
made a separate configuration, everything worked,"
says Andelin, "but then I had problems with my
hardware." Renaissance worked with Compaq and Microsoft
to resolve the problem, he says. "They were determined
to get us and running."
Package prices range from $15,000 for a single-user
windows version through $38,500 for a five-user network
up to $250,000 for a site license. "Its not
cheap!" says Andelin, but "the value is there
immediately, in loop drawings alone." He says he
paid for the package with his first "couple-hundred
thousand dollar" project. Prewitt says that once
the data is in, loop sheets take only 1-2 hours instead
of 8-12 hours. Savings are there for users willing to
learn that "the object is no longer the drawing,
its the database," he says. "There's
a lot of data to be put in. Either an engineer on a
new project or a technician or a clerk entering that
stuff is going to be a lot easier and cheaper and quicker
than having a draftsman generate all those CAD drawings,"
says Harden. He is looking forward to when all his loop
sheets will be generated automatically. "The value
Reprint from Control Magazine