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Instrumentation Documents Handbook is handy resource for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Instrumentation Technicians, Electricians, Scientists, Researchers and everybody in the field of Electrical Engineering.

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At the highest level, the instrument technician is interested in the interconnections of process vessels, pipes, and flow paths of process fluids. The proper form of diagram to represent the “big picture” of a process is called a process flow diagram. Individual instruments are sparsely represented in a PFD, because the focus of the diagram is the process itself.

At the lowest level, the instrument technician is interested in the interconnections of individual instruments, including all the wire numbers, terminal numbers, cable types, instrument calibration ranges, etc. The proper form of diagram for this level of fine detail is called a loop diagram. Here, the process vessels and piping are sparsely represented, because the focus of the diagram is the instruments themselves.
Process and instrument diagrams (P&IDs) lie somewhere in the middle between process flow diagrams and loop diagrams. A P&ID shows the layout of all relevant process vessels, pipes, and machinery, but with instruments superimposed on the diagram showing what gets measured and what gets controlled. Here, one can view the flow of the process as well as the “flow” of information between instruments measuring and controlling the process.

Functional diagrams are used for an entirely different purpose: to document the strategy of a control system. In a functional diagram, emphasis is placed on the algorithms used to control a process, as opposed to piping, wiring, or instrument connections. These diagrams are commonly found within the power generation industry, but are sometimes used in other industries as well.

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