Positioning Relationships - Intergraph Smart 3D - Help

Intergraph Smart 3D Equipment and Furnishings

Intergraph Smart 3D
2019 (10.0)
12.1 (2019)

The following positioning relationships between equipment and reference elements are available.


The mate relationship is applied between a surface of the equipment and another equipment surface, structural surface, elevation plane, or grid plane. The surfaces are constrained to be parallel with the indicated offset distance between them. The normal vector pointing out from the surface of one solid points toward the other solid:

The mate relationship can also be applied between the axis of a cylindrical surface and a planar surface. The offset in this situation is applied in the direction of the surface normal. You can use this relationship to orient the equipment's nozzle axis parallel to a wall and offset from the wall a given distance.


The align relationship makes the axes of two cylindrical surfaces collinear or constrains two planar surfaces to be parallel. When planar surfaces are aligned, the surface normals point in the same direction with the indicated offset distance between them:


The connect relationship forces a point on an object to be coincident with a point on another object, such as a piece of equipment, structure, piping part, or arbitrary coordinate in space. The software adds the connect relationship to the relationship list only if the two points connected are both nozzles. Otherwise, the two points are made coincident, but no relationship is saved to the database. Offsets are disabled when establishing a connect relationship.

Press F3 to turn on or off the Surface Locate option. This option makes it easier to create Connect relationships.

The minimum distance constraint is used to locate a point on an equipment object at a specified distance (horizontal or vertical) from a sloped surface, edge, or point.

Three constraint options are available: E/W Distance (horizontal along the East/West axis), N/S Distance (horizontal along the North/South axis), and Vertical Distance (vertical along Up/Down axis).

The referenced axes are in the active coordinate system.

Choose a control point on the equipment that you are placing or editing and a reference surface, edge, or point. Select any control point on the equipment to create the first point of the relationship. The sloped surface can be at any orientation relative to the equipment.

As illustrated in the following example, the three minimum distance relationships can be used collectively to define separate relationships to fully constrain equipment objects.

A - N/S (offset = 20')

B - Vertical (offset = 10')

C - E/W (offset = 30')

Mate to Tangent Plane

Using the mate to tangent plane relationship, you can create a tangent plane at the intersection of a user-defined vector and a selected surface. You establish the relationship by first selecting a reference on an equipment object and then selecting two points in the model to define a vector and identify a surface (in the model). The vector is used to locate an intersection point in the model. A plane tangent to the surface (at the intersection point) is created and used as the mating surface.

Both the vector and the surface are associative inputs; if you modify the referenced surface, Smart 3D recomputes the point and the tangent plane.


Parallel relationships can be set between the following objects:

  • Edge to planar surface

  • Surface to surface

  • Edge to edge

  • Edge to axis (implied axis of cylindrical objects)

  • Axis (implied axis of cylindrical objects) to axis (implied axis of cylindrical objects)

In terms of behavior, the parallel relationship is similar to align. However, while the align relationship rotates and moves an equipment object, the parallel relationship only rotates the object. As such, if you orient a pump by setting a particular nozzle axis parallel to a nozzle axis on a different equipment object, only the orientation of the equipment is affected, not its location. This option is not available for Designed Equipment.

In the following illustration, the motor of the object on the right is selected as an input for the parallel constraint, and the motor of the object on the left is selected as the reference. The result is that the right-hand object is rotated (but not moved) so that the two motors are parallel.

See Also

Rotate Equipment
Place equipment from the catalog
Replace Equipment
Set positioning relationships for equipment