In 2022 we got a request to create a documentation of all cooling machinery supporting their production of one of the largest breweries in Eastern Europe. It had to be a P&ID documentation which had to have an integration with OrthoGraph’s 3D BIM functionality. All maintenance points had to have their unique identifiers to support identification later in workflows.

The main goal was to increase safety for the fire-safety people in case of a catastrophe, but also the normal maintenance operation had to be supported with controllable workflows by OrthoGraph and Operational BIM.

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Main Project Data:

It was winter time, freezing cold close to zero Celsius degrees inside the buildings to. The fully automated environment was equipped with kilometers of pipers and hundreds of production equipment. The surveying environment was not only very loud, but also dusty, far away from being a perfect condition for typical surveying tools. Obviously we didn’t ask for any existing documentation as the goal was not to update the existing materials, but to capture the real as-built, working situation. In addition to creating the digital twin for the factory’s cooling technology we also got a person knowing the current functionality, key properties of the of the installed objects.

As applying unique identifiers on all valves, key machinery we decided to use QR Codes instead of the regularly recommended RFID technology. The reason was simple: majority of elements are made of steel, and that needs a special set of RFID chips that would make the inventory to expensive.


We found out that we can produce UV resistant QRCodes placed on plastic plackets, which will withstand the harsh environment inside and out, and is also easy to capture using any kind of smart device.

Capturing the whole system, all floor plans and all piping in 3D, recording all QR Codes and the key information connected to the assets took us 3.5 weeks.

As OrthoGraph works directly on the iPad to create an Operational BIM, the temporary ongoing survey could already be accessed by the Client during the realty capture process too, and obviously after and since the project was finished.

Interestingly we learned that the model will not only provide a strong background to support the operational workflows, but in case of catastrophe prevention it can easily be shared via a simple web link to the firefighters to be able to plan their intervention, and by using the QR Codes even their work can e further assured.


Saving human lives:

This title might sound strange, maybe a bit overkill, but its the bare truth from our experience. Many of the factories in these segments work with ammonium, a kind of gas used in cooling besides other areas that can kill a person within 8-15 seconds. Disaster prevention offices require a clear P&ID documentation that is continuously updated during the operation of the factory to be able to act as fast and as safe as possible, when it is required.

Imagine that you have a detailed 3D model containing all pipes, valves, meters and all units that is a part of maintenance operation, they contain QR Code or RFID unique identifiers on them and all important parameters are stored with them digitally. Also you have panoramic photos at every important position. Imagine that all this data is collected within weeks and can be kept updated by your maintenance crew as part of their normal operational work with ease.

How does it save lives? Imagine the situation that there is a leakage of ammonium that you can find out based on the values of your automation system, and you simply share the above 3D model in a web browser referring to the valve which should be closed by the disaster prevention department. Even more, you can tell them that from the 16 valves sitting besides each other which one should be accessed, and the QR code on it can be checked before closing it. This means the firefighters can access the location with a clear known path by using the panoramic photos, can go to the proper valve and before closing something else they can ensure that they are going to work with the proper one minimizing the risk of any additional accident. And we all know that they work under pressure, so failures can be deadly, minimizing them is crucial.

Now this saves time and minimizes risks thus save lives at the same time.

Saving money:

What if the same model can save money, a lot. The most expensive problem to avoid in a factory is the unexpected downtime, which might have an affect on the whole production chain, or even on final shipping dates. To prevent that, maintenance procedures must be as short as possible and also many preventive maintenance tasks should be applied on the objects needing that.

In many cases the most time in operation is spent on finding the proper equipment. In addition, it might also happen that not the proper object is maintained, but a similar one in its neighbourhood. Have you experienced that before? This can even be understood as finding the right valve in the forest of valves is sometimes a pretty hard challenge.

In OrthoGraph all maintenance points have their own reference links and we also recommend using unique identifiers on all assets. To send out the maintenance person to the proper valve just send the related link to it, and OrthoGraph will show it instantly. Both the technician – by using an iPad -, both the leader – in a web browser – sitting in the office can see where is the particular maintenance point is in 2D and 3D.

Even better: if the equipment has photos assigned to it when it was last maintained, and it is taken apart, then the maintenance worker can easily decide which tools and materials will be required to do the job. This way when going to the work site, the technician can stop by the warehouse to take the proper tools and materials. Another trip back-and-forth is saved between the site and the warehouse.

This significant time saving means the same people can do more, and also as we have everything electronically documented, you can expect the same quality of service independently which professional does the maintenance.

Knowing that the right equipment was repaired:

We always emphasize the importance of using unique identifiers on every maintenance point. Not only on each machine, but maybe even on different parts of it, if that’s so critical to control what’s happening with that. By requiring to scan the given RFID / QRCode / barcode by the technician ensures that the proper object is going to be maintained. Even more, if there is an SLA contract with a subcontractor, then we can even register when the given object has been accessed.

Keeping the data updated:

Gathering the building and asset documentation is a time consuming work, but keeping it updated is even harder. Actually, not anymore. OrthoGraph is that simple to use, that it can be learned in hours how to update all inventory changes, object moves, replacements in the factory. This means any technician who does a repair can easily document the changes, make and attache new photos to the given equipment thus providing an always updated building and asset documentation. This means independence, as if anyone is getting a new task to be done on a given object, it will be easy to find, and all attached properties, documentation can be accessed by using OrthoGraph. Prior or right at the place of work.

When a production chain is modified, rebuilt, moved, then all these changes can instantly be recorded in OrthoGraph so that all connected systems – CMMS, automation, monitorin etc. – can be notified about the changes. Later, if there is an overtemperature, an overpressure, then everybody will know where is it happening and can act in the fastest possible way.

Floor plan changes might also happen sometimes. Walls, doors, windows are modified. This can also be recorded by own employees, though we recommend choosing for this those technicians, who have the most talent for technology. As inventory changes is as easy to write a post on any social media platform, changing the main floor plan elements needs a bit more. Not much, but it needs a 3 days long training to learn how to do it in a professional, digitally controlled way. There is no need for architectural knowledge, education, but a good 3D understanding, reading a floor plan is necessary for that. Following up these changes with the proper knowledge takes again only hours, maybe a day, but not more.

Integration – making the most out of Operational BIM:

Data only generates value if it is used and maintained. OrthoGraph is a platform of data warehouse. Any system that needs building or asset data, graphical representation, maybe graphical reporting can integrate with OrthoGraph. For this the API is free to use, free to integrate. The more system connects to OrthoGraph the more value it can generate.

A proper integration to a CMMS system gives rapid and controlled workflows – also by using the unique identifiers on all assets -, a building or machinery automation system can monitor easily what’s going on in the factory, and can react fast if there is something out of range. Even a financial system can run graphical reports on the worst or best performing machines that should be compared to the other ones to bring performance to the highest level.

Speaking about reports bring out the most of the integrated Operational BIM ecosystem by continuously analyzing data. AI could do a lot, but a person with good financial approach can do it even today. We intentionally don’t call it a BIM manager, as this should not be someone having architectural or civil engineer knowledge, rather a process oriented thinking person with financial way of thinking can better find those points, that have a critical affect on current performance. With this approach by using reports, highlighting the weak points OrthoGraph Operational BIM controlled by this person can instantly generate money by the improved performance.

What else do we get, if we use unique identifiers, RFIDs / QRCodes or barcodes on all maintenance points?

Exact element identification and workflow control. If we have an important object, equipment that needs to be touched for any reason, then these unique identifiers can help to easily identify the given object. If we use the proper workflow based issue tracking system that is based on using these unique identifiers, then the site worker can be requested to scan the given equipment’s identifier to confirm that the proper one is going to be maintained. If the system is prepared for that, then we even can check the time of work to find our more information about the given work.

Have you got a similar project in your mind? Have you got further questions? Want know more in a personal meeting or want to start a pilot? Click the button:

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