Engineering Drawings using Excel

Many engineering applications involve units with similar designs. For example, a civil engineer may be designing several row houses having the same layout, an electrical engineer may be working on a motor control panel (MCC) for different motors but with the same wiring arrangments or a mechanical engineer may be designing similar pressure vessels but for different clients. The row and column structure of a spreadsheet makes it very useful for creating a database for such similar units. In this tip, we will see how we can create Engineering Drawings out of these databases. These drawings are basically reports out of the database.

This idea will be illustrated by the following example: As part of an expansion project, a chemical company wants to install 10 new mixing vessels at their plant. Each vessel is provided with a motor driven agitator and the raw materials are gravity fed from two vessels via pipe lines with ball valves. We wish to produce Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) for each mixer. The labels for the equipment associated with each mixer is shown below:


The drawing is created for the first mixer and then VLOOKUP functions are used to generate the drawings for the rest of the mixers. A drop down box is used to get the drawing for the required mixer as shown below.


The file used in this example can be downloaded here (42KB). The first sheet contains the drawing and the second contains a list of equipment labels. This method can be applied in many situations - dimensional drawings for similar mechanical parts, single line drawings, instrument loop drawings and process flow diagrams to name a few.

Also See:

Engineering Lists in Excel

Lookup from SQL Table into Excel

Custom formula for reverse lookup in Excel