There are many ways NOT to use AutoCAD to create 2d Schematic diagrams, wire summaries and P&ID (Process and Instrumentation Diagrams). Many users that I talk to have Microsoft Visio installed on their machines. If you have Visio 2003 or higher installed, you can use SolidWorks and Visio together to overthrow AutoCAD. Here is how it works: In a SolidWorks drawing, from the pull down menu’s, Click Insert, Schematic. The Position Schematic PropertyManager opens. Under Schematic Templates, select a template. These are all the templates the come with Visio or the ones that you have customized. Note: The PropertyManager lists the templates most commonly required in SolidWorks. To choose from the more extensive list in Visio, select Other from the bottom of the SolidWorks list, or else make no selection. Next, Drag-select a box in the graphics area of your drawing to size and position the schematic. Now you can drag and drop components from the Visio library to create the schematic in SolidWorks. Click outside the OLE object that is dropped into SolidWorks to accept it.
Even better yet, there may be a way to use a Visio diagram to drive a 3D Pipe route. In SolidWorks 2010 and beyond, you can import a Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) file created with an external system , which could be Visio, and use that file as a guide in building route assemblies. To import route specifications from a P&ID file, click Piping and Instrumentation tab (If you have SolidWorks Routing turned on) from the SolidWorks Task Pane, select the P&ID file, and click Import P&ID. Note: You must import the P&ID data file in .xml format. For an example, see Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataSolidWorksSolidWorks_Versiondesign libraryroutingpipingpnid sample.xml. The path to the Application Data folder depends on your operating system. The XML format is something that I am looking into with the help of SolidWorks, so stay tuned on any developments or feel free to shoot us a comment.
A wizard will then guide you through the process of dropping in the piping components. As a best practice, import schematics from a P&ID file to design a piping route so that the piping design matches the connectivity and pipe sizes in the schematic and the design validation tools in SolidWorks Routing warn of any deviation from the schematic.