Placing Parts

This task shows you how to place a part on a run. This function allows you to filter (or search) a catalog for parts that meet the criteria that you specify. You are presented with a list of parts that meet these criteria so that you can select the part that you want to place.

The same procedure is used for placing parts at a location other than a run.

See also Detecting Clash in Parts Placement and Placing Parts Using a Schematic. If you are placing 'heavy' ducts then you must change a file that defines object naming rules. See Modifying the Object Naming Rules.

Note that this application incorporates intelligent design functions. This means that during the design process the application ensures your design meets a selection of criteria. These criteria are established by Design Rules. For instance, the design rules will match the threaded end of a pipe to the threaded end of a part. (You can override the design rules if necessary.) There are certain general design rules that apply to all parts you place. Other rules apply to parts you place from a specifications catalog or a standard.  Theoretically you can create a new standard and not incorporate any design rules. However, your parts will not place correctly if you do so.

The standard and specifications catalog that you use for parts placement must be defined in the setup data. See Understanding Project Resource Management.

It is recommended that you place a datum point on each part connector to which a flexible may be routed. This is needed to allow a flexible to update when you move a part in a design.

NOTE: There is a command in the menubar - Insert> Place Object from Catalog, that can also be used to place parts. However, the command works differently from the normal Place Part command described in this task. The command Place Object from Catalog is meant to be used with parts that are not typed, and is normally used in spatial products like Plant Layout. If you use this command to place a part, it will not have the technology associated with a normal typed part, such as automatic object naming or resizing capability, nor will it be a unique reference. A typed part is one that has been assigned a class and sub-class in the feature dictionary.

When you place an object using this command, a unique reference will be created and placed in the CATTemp directory. The instance will not point to the catalog. If you want the instance to point to the catalog reference then you need to add a keyword to the family to which the part belongs. Add the following to the family, using the Catalog Editor:

  • Name - LoadType;
  • Type - String;
  • Default Value - SameReference.

To learn how to add a keyword see Creating a Catalog in the Component Catalog Editor user guide.

Parts that are placed in free space inherit some property values from the Line ID menubar. See Using the Line ID Menubar.


With the run displayed, click the Place HVAC Part button . The Place HVAC Duct dialog box displays. (In the image below the user has already made some selections.)

The first row of buttons provides you with placement options. This can aid you in selecting a placement location in a busy document. Move the cursor over the button to see its name.

  • Select or Indicate: This is the default selection and allows you to select or indicate a placement location.
  • Select Run Only: You can only select a run.
  • Select Connector Only: Allows you to select a part connector only. First select a part - all connectors display - then select the connector.
  • Indicate On Local XY Plane: You can select a location that is on the XY plane of the local axis of the document.
  • Indicate on Compass Plane: You can select a location that is on the compass plane. If the compass is inactive then the local plane will be used.
  • Select Surface: Select a surface and then select a location.
  • Select part to display connector list: This button allows you to use a dialog box to select the connector on which to place a part, and is useful in busy documents. Click this button if you want to select the connector on which to place your part by using a dialog box, instead of selecting the connector in the viewer. With your document open, select the part you want to place, click the Select part to display connector list button and choose the part on which you want to place your part. A Selected Part dialog box will display, showing all the connectors on your selected part. The selected connector will be highlighted, and will be orange in the viewer. Select the connector on which you want to place your part and click OK.
  • Use Compass Z for Placement Up Orientation: The part will align itself with the compass Z direction, and not the default 'up' direction of the part. In the image below the damper on the left shows the default up direction (the up direction is at the top of the part), the damper on the right aligns to the compass Z direction. The run has been shown in single line mode for clarity.

  • Place at the Current Compass: This allows you to place the part at the compass location. The button is available only after you have moved the compass. To use, select your part, move the compass to the location where you want to place the part, and click the Place at Current Compass button. The part will place at that location.
  • Ignore Compatibility Check with Neighbors: When you click this button you can place bendables and stretchables without invoking compatibility rules. NOTE: This button changes a Tools > Options setting (under Equipment & Systems > Design Criteria). However, this function depends upon a project resource management entry "Ignore Neighbor Compatibility", which takes precedence. Certain options (e.g. Options 0 & 1) you define for this resource in the PRM file will result in the button being grayed out.
2. Select a location for the part - you must do this before the Class Browser will display. See below if you want to multi-place parts.
You may want to place the same part in more than one location - for instance you have a run with several bends and you want to place an elbow at each bend. You can multi-place parts in one of two ways. Before you select a location (Step 3) click the Multi-Place Parts button. Or do a Shift-Click when you select the location. Now when you select a part it will be placed at all compatible locations. This works with elbows and ducts.

The multi-place function applies to one run. If your run is broken, and you use the multi-place function, it will apply to a single run. If the Break Run at every placed part option is checked then the multi-place function may not work. To check or uncheck the option go to Tools - Options - Equipment and Systems and select/unselect the Design Criteria tab.

3. If the Clear Filter button is enabled it means that values from a previous part placement exist in the Filter Definition dialog box. (See Step 4.) Click the button if you want to clear these values.
4. If you want to change the values of one or more properties of the part you want to filter for, then click the Filter Definition button to display the Filter Definition dialog box. Select the property whose value you want to change and then select the new value from the drop down box in the Discrete field. (The Discrete field will display after you select a property.) This new value will appear in the Override value column. The values in the Override value column will be used when searching for parts in the catalog.

  5. Other buttons in the Place HVAC Duct dialog box are:
  • The Swap Height/Width ... button lets you flip the height and width of the part you just placed, and rotate it 90 degrees. The geometry remains the same.
  • The Override button brings up the Manage Override Parameters dialog box, allowing you to change attribute values.
  • The Flip Part button allows you to flip parts that can be flipped, such as a reducer.
  • The Move/Rotate button displays the Move/Rotate dialog box, allowing you to manipulate the part.
  • The Pipe Selection Shortcut button is a shortcut that lets you select part type.
  • The Change to Schematic Mode button lets you toggle between schematic and non-schematic mode. You will exit the command when you click this button and need to click the Place Part command again.
  • The Close button exits you from the command.
6. Click the Class Browser button to display the Class Browser. Double click on HVAC Part Function to expand the list.

Note: You can choose to display the class browser expanded, as shown above, or collapsed, by using a setting. To display it expanded, go to Tools - Options - Equipment & Systems, click the Design Criteria tab, and check the option Expand Class Browser. Uncheck it to display it collapsed.

7. Select a function and click OK. The function will display in the Place HVAC Duct dialog box.
  8. The HVAC Material Definition Table button brings up a dialog box that lets you define the material value of a part you want to place. In order to allow this, the material must not be defined as a default attribute in the HVAC specifications catalog you are using.

Click the HVAC Material Definition Table button to display the HVAC Material Definition dialog box. The image above shows the user has made a selection. Click the Clear button to clear a selection. The selections are based on size information obtained from the placement location, as shown in the Filter Input field. Click the Show All button if you want to see all selections available to you. Click the OK button to apply your selection and place a part. NOTE: Perform the above step after selecting a function (Steps 6 & 7) but before selecting a part type.

9. In the Place HVAC Duct dialog box, click on the down arrow in the Part Type field to display a list of part types (if there is more than one) and select the part type you want. If there is only one part type it will be preselected for placement. If the Part Type field is grayed out then click again on the location where you want to place the part.
10. The Part Selection box will display after you select a part type - if there is more than one selection. It will not display if there is only one selection available to you.

If the part you want to place can be created as a light object, you will be able to differentiate between heavy and light sample parts. Heavy parts are identified by the letters HV in the part name. Light parts do not have any designation.

11. Select the part you want to place and click where you want to place it. The part will be placed. In the image below a rectangular elbow and straight duct have been placed on a run. If there is only one selection available to you then click after Step 5.

To ensure correct placement of ducts in a run you should first place all the in-line components and then place the ducts.

You can choose to display or hide a "preview" of the part you are placing. To do this click on Tools - Options and select Equipment & Systems and the General tab. Check or uncheck the box Display image while placing catalog object in 3D viewer to obtain the effect you want.

By default, when you click (in free space) to place a part the center of that part will be placed at that location. The center is determined by the application by drawing a box around the part and selecting the center of the base of the box. You can also choose to place the origin of the part at the point where you click. To do this click on Tools - Options, select Equipment & Systems and the General tab. Check the box Place at component's origin when placing in free space.

After you move or modify a run or part, click the Update Part button and select a part to update that part, or select the run to update the run. You only need to do this if the application does not update the object.