System information modeling

System information modeling ( SIM ) is a generic term used to describe the process of modeling complex connected systems. System information models are digital representations of connected systems, Such As electrical instrumentation and control , power and communications systems. The objects modelled in a SIM have a 1: 1 relationship with the objects in the physical system. Components, connections and functions are defined and linked as they would be in the real world.


The concept of SIM has existed since the mid 1990s. It was first proposed in 1994 by an Australian instrument, electrical and control system engineering company – I & E Systems Pty Ltd. Like many technological innovations the idea for SIM was born out of necessity. Since the mid-nineties, the complexity of power, control and information and communication technology (ICT) systems has been exponentially due to rapid advances in technology; This method has been rendered the traditional paper-based methodologies and applications used for system design to become obsolete.

The cost of design of the project can be up to 70% of the total project expenditure in an electrical instrumentation and control system (EICS). Analyzes revealed that the limited nature of paper-based methods / workflows had significant contributions to the high cost design. With this in mind, the company realized there is a need to shift away from the traditional paper-based methods to a more efficient systematic digital modeling approach.

The term ‘System Information Modeling’ was first published in a technical report in 2012 by Peter ED Love and Jingyang Zhou. [1] The report presented empirical evidence to demonstrate that the use of a SIM can potentially improve productivity and reduce the cost to produce EICS documentation. Iron Ore Stacker Conveyor system; Errors and omissions identified from the drawings have been classified and quantified. The postponement Concluded que la traditional use of Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) methods to Produce electrical engineering drawings is ineffective, inefficient and Costly.

Since 2013, a number of scholarly research papers-have-been published That-have Demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of using a SIM INSTEAD of CAD to design and paper EICS in a variety of projects (eg, iron oreprocessing plant, FPSO safety control system, copper Smelter plant, oil refinery , and a geothermal power plant ). [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]


System Information Modeling can be defined as the process of digitally modeling a complex connected system. A System Information Model is a shared information resource of a life-cycle .

Throughout the life-cycle

A SIM containing all the project information can be applied throughout the entire life cycle of the project. [2]


Engineering design and documentation can be undertaken simultaneously when using a SIM. A SIM can be created as the design of an EICS progresses. Draftsman and modellers are no longer required. When a SIM is applied to the design of a connected system, all physical equipment and the associated connections to be constructed can be modelled in a relational database . Components according to ‘Type’ and ‘Location’ attributes. The ‘Type’ attribute is used to define equipment functionalities. The ‘Location’ attribute is used to describe the physical position of equipment. Connections between equipment are modelled as ‘connectors’. To facilitate the design, attributes,

When the design process is complete, a read only copy of the model is created, exported and made available to other project team members. The users can access all or part of the design information within the SIM regarding their respective authorization levels. Private user data can be established and attached to the model.

Procurement and construction

When the design is approved for construction, a SIM, which is a digital realization of the design, can be issued to different parts such as the procurement team and construction contractors. Information management can be achieved digitally and the role of paper drawings is eliminated. [8] The procurement plan and construction schedule can be created for each individual object in the SIM. Construction activities can be assigned to objects or work-packs with weighting factors defined. This is the first step in the development of a new approach to decision-making.

Asset management

A SIM is specifically useful for asset managers, as it allows information to be stored in a single digital model. [2] In a traditional CAD-based environment, the drawings are typically handled over to the asset owner in the form of ‘As Built’ drawings , which reflect, in theory, the actual construction of every system, component and connection of a project. If an asset manager wants to maintain, repair or upgrade any part of the asset, then the ‘As Built’ drawings need to be used. However, recovering information contained in an array of drawings is a tedious and time consuming task. Any error or omission contained within the drawings will potentially hinder the interpretation of the design.

When engineering is done using a SIM card it can be stored in a digital format whereby a 1: 1 mapping is undertaken. Operations such as testing, calibration, inspection, repair, minor change and isolation. The asset management strategy and the asset management strategy. In addition, the SIM can act as a training tool.


A commercial proprietary software package, Dynamic Asset Data (DAD), has been developed based on the concept of SIM by I & E Systems Pty Ltd.

The initial version of DAD was released in 1997, which was a modeling tool used to design and document the electrical engineering system. Since then, it has been possible to use the ICT systems. The DAD software has been continuously maintained and upgraded to complex and rapidly changing EICS projects. The latest release of DAD is version 12, which incorporates a number of features that can be applied to the entire life cycle of a project including Design Portal, Portal Review, Procurement Portal, Portal Construction, Commissioning Portal and Maintenance Portal. It also provides a facility to create Process Layers, Power Layers, Functional Layers and Comms layers to help to understand the way a system operates.

International development

The concept of SIM has been applied and verified in a number of international projects.


There are a number of Australian-based organizations in various industry sectors benefitting from SIM technology. A few examples:

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) based in Western Australia has adopted SIM for all their projects built since 2010. These projects include the large scale Solomon Iron Ore project , the expansion of their export facility and the North Star magnetite project. FMG acknowledges that using SIM on these projects and the results of the project.

Opticomm builds, owns and operates a wide fiber optic communications network. Their network is totally modelled using SIM and all their construction and operations activities are based on the information in their SIM based information model.

In 2016, Perth International Airport adopted the SIM and they had their power distribution network modelled using this technology. (GIS). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the GIS on the interconnection between GIS and GIS. This seamlessly provides full system technical and geographical information about all their electrical system components and cables. Perth Airport has plans to expand the use of SIM to their other connected systems.


SIM has-been applied to model and manage the electrical and Communication Systems of the Wuhan Metro Stations in China in 2014. In 2016, SIM model Was created to digitize the distributed control system (DCS) of the Wuhan International Expo Center. Since 2014, a number of research projects have been undertaken by the BIM Center of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, including SIM application, linking SIM to BIM and linking SIM to Engineering Information Modeling (EIM).

Saudi Arabia

In 2015, SIM was applied by a large Japanese engineering and construction company to model the electrical and instrumentation systems on a very large new oil refinery project in Saudi Arabia. The Procurement and Construction Portals.


System information modeling is different from building information modeling , though Both focus is sharing knowledge and information. The process of BIM has been defined as:

Building information modeling ( BIM ) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle; Defined as existing from earliest design to demolition.

A SIM is akin to BIM; ‘Building’ is replaced with ‘System’ to represent the process of modeling complex connected systems, such as electrical control, power and communications, which do not possess geometry. Essentially, a SIM takes a discipline specific perspective to model complex connected systems, but can be integrated with a building information model when a single point of truth is formed.

The traditional way of documenting the design of the connected system is to use 2D drawings that are created by draftsmen. As the drawings have been created for a variety of drawings, the propensity for errors, omission, conflicts and duplications to materialize. [3] [4] Since the mid 1970s, there has been a trend to replace the traditional manually drafted drawings with computer aided digital drawings. In this paper, we present the results of the study of the numerical modeling of the emergence of ‘digital’ engineering.

SIM is not restricted to the EICS, power and communication systems. It can be used to model a variety of connected systems such as network topology , causal loop and interactions between people and organizations. The application scope of SIM is beyond the physical facility that has been defined for BIM, which allows the SIM to be applied to both physical and virtual networks of the connected systems.

Extended applications

A SIM can be linked to Geographical Information Systems to support the management of spatial information. For example, a SIM model with components assigned by coordinates can be linked to Google Earth to show the real physical locations of the components. A SIM can aussi be linked to third party 3D models, using Applications Such As Autodesk Navisworks , to gain media space and aussi Provide detailed system data to the third parties. Interoperability can be achieved between SIM and a variety of technologies such as image modeling , Google Maps , virtual reality , augmented reality , Quick Response code , and radio-frequency identification .

See also

  • Information model
  • Building information modeling
  • System engineering
  • System design


  1. Jump up^ Love, PED, and Zhou, J. (2012). Documentation Errors in Instrumentation and Electrical Systems: Toward Systems Information Modeling. School of Built Environment for I & E Systems, SoBE 100/2012, Curtin University, July, Perth, Australia.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Peter ED Love; Jingyang Zhou; Jane Matthews; Chun-Pong Sing; Brad Carey (2015-06-19). “A systems information model for managing electrical, control, and instrumentation assets” . Built Environment Project and Asset Management . 5 (3): 278-289. ISSN  2044-124X . Doi : 10.1108 / BEPAM-03-2014-0019 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Sing, Chun-pong; Kim, Jeong Tai (2013-11-01). “Documentation errors in instrumentation and electrical systems: Toward productivity improvement using System Information Modeling” . Automation in Construction . 35 : 448-459. Doi : 10.1016 / j.autcon.2013.05.028 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Sing, Chun-pong; Kim, Jeong-Tai (2014-06-03). “Assessing the impact of RFIs in electrical and instrumentation engineering contracts” . Journal of Engineering Design . 25 (4-6): 177-193. ISSN  0954-4828 . Doi : 10.1080 / 09544828.2014.935305 .
  5. Jump up^ Love, PED, Matthews, J. and Zhou, J., (2014). Systems Information Model for Asset Management of Electrical, Control, and Instrumentation Systems. BIM Journal 11, pp.10-13
  6. Jump up^ J. Zhou; PED Love; J. Matthews; B. Carey; CP Sing; DJ Edwards (2015-10-29). “Toward productivity improvement in electrical engineering documentation” . International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management . 64 (8): 1024-1040. ISSN  1741-0401 . Doi : 10.1108 / IJPPM-10-2014-0151 .
  7. Jump up^ Zhou, J .; Love, PED; Matthews, J .; Carey, B .; Sing, CP (2015-01-01). “Object-oriented model for life cycle management of electrical instrumentation control projects” . Automation in Construction . 49, Part A: 142-151. Doi : 10.1016 / j.autcon.2014.10.008 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane (2016-07-01). “Systems information modeling: From file exchanges to model sharing for electrical instrumentation and control systems” . Automation in Construction . 67 : 48-59. Doi : 10.1016 / j.autcon.2016.02.010 .
  9. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane; Sing, Michael CP “Retrospective Future Proofing of a Copper Mine: Quantification of errors and omissions in ‘As-built’ documentation . Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries. Doi : 10.1016 / j.jlp.2016.06.011 .
  10. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane; Edwards, David (2016-09-01). “Moving beyond CAD to an object-oriented approach for electrical control and instrumentation systems” . Advances in Engineering Software . 99 : 9-17. Doi :10.1016 / j.advengsoft.2016.04.007 .
  11. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane; Lou, Hanbin (2016-11-01). “Object oriented modeling: Retrospective systems information model for constructability assessment” . Automation in Construction . 71, Part 2: 359-371. Doi :10.1016 / j.autcon.2016.08.032 .
  12. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane; Luo, Harbin (2016-12-01). “Systems information modeling: Enabling digital asset management” . Advances in Engineering Software . 102 : 155-165. Doi : 10.1016 / j.advengsoft.2016.10.007 .
  13. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Matthews, Jane (2017-08-01). “Safeguarding the Integrity of Liquefied Natural Gas Infrastructure Assets with Digitization: Case of a domestic gas metering upgrade project” . Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering . 44 : 9-21. Doi : 10.1016 / j.jngse.2017.04.008 .
  14. Jump up^ Love, Peter ED; Zhou, Jingyang; Edwards, David J .; Irani, Zahir; Sing, Chun-Pong (2017-05-01). “Off the rails: The cost performance of infrastructure rail projects” . Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice . 99 : 14-29. Doi :10.1016 / j.tra.2017.02.008 .

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