• Dynamic Duo – AutoCAD Plant 3D and Navisworks: How to view Plant 3D data in Navisworks

    Leandro Rebutoc
    Technical Consultant - INFRA/GIS

    In a data driven world, information can be the currency that can make or break your project. Misinformation, or the lack of, can cause delays and costly errors in a project’s life cycle.

    AutoCAD Plant 3D is a powerful process-piping design tool. Each piping component placed in Plant 3D has useful data embedded in it. This data is crucial for the plant’s overall design. However, this data can only be viewed within the Plant 3D application.

    In plant design, data will pass through many hands and in various stages of the project. How do we then share this information to external parties like clients, fabricators or constructors who don’t have the Plant 3D application?

    This is where the dependable sidekick comes to the rescue. Navisworks!

    Navisworks has the ability to open various file types. It can also read embedded data if the proper object enabler is installed. Fortunately, Autodesk has one specifically for Plant 3D. You can download the 2021 version here.

    Here’s an example of a Plant 3D model in Navisworks without an object enabler. You can see that some shapes aren’t displayed properly, and it is not reading the embedded data.

    Here is the same Plant 3D model with the object enabler installed. All the components are displayed correctly, and the embedded data is being displayed in the properties section.


    With the Plant 3D model in Navisworks, the file can now be saved as an NWD file and delivered to external parties. All they need is Navisworks Freedom to view the file, which can be downloaded for free from Autodesk.

    This is one of many features available in Navisworks. Apart from a robust 3D viewer it can perform tasks such as clash detection and animation.

    If you would like to learn more, Navisworks training is available as a supplementary course to SolidCAD’s Plant 3D course curriculum. Please contact training@solidcad.ca

    In the next blog, we will look at how to utilize the Navisworks plug in within Plant 3D. Stay tuned!