Ideally, you have everything set up in your Pipe Types before you begin routing piping. To start automatic pipe routing, first assign your equipment to a Pipe System. Select two or more pieces of mechanical equipment and, from the Modify | Mechanical Equipment tab, click Create Systems Piping (see Figure 11.10a) and then name your Piping System (see Figure 11.10b).
Next, select any piece of equipment assigned to the system and click the Generate Layout button. You have four options for generating the layout: Network, Perimeter, Intersections, and Custom. Each one has several routing solutions from which you can choose, consisting of a main (blue) and branches (green):
Network This solution creates a bounding box around the components selected for the piping system and then bases several solutions on a main segment along the center line of the bounding box with branches coming from the main segment.
Perimeter This solution creates a bounding box around the components selected for the system and proposes several potential routing solutions. You can specify the Inset value that determines the offset between the bounding box and the components. Inset is available only when the Perimeter option is selected.
Intersections This solution bases the potential routing on a pair of imaginary lines extending from each connector for the components in the system. Perpendicular lines extend from the connectors. There are potential junctions in the proposed solutions along the shortest paths, where the lines from the components intersect.
Custom The solution becomes available after you begin to modify any of the other solutions.
The autorouting feature is most useful in small, simple layouts. Usually, the greatest benefit comes from using the autoroute pipe as a starting point and finishing with additional manual layout. You can set the mounting height by clicking the Settings button and inputting a new Offset (see Figure 11.11).