Piping Stress Analysis is the most crucial analytical assessment to design a piping system. It defines the piping system’s behavior based on its material, design conditions, layout and boundary conditions including restraints and supporting. Traditionally, it used to be performed manually by experts, solving complicated and time-consuming equations but since the application of computers in engineering, CAESAR II and AutoPIPE have become the defacto industry standard stress analysis software. However, a deep understanding of the fundamental principles underpinning the analysis, good knowledge of industry design codes and standards and practical experience from previous onshore/ offshore design issues are essential for using the software correctly and producing a safe design. Although the current versions of these applications may appear easy to use and various online and offline pieces of training are available to teach users how to use them in a short period of time, the task should only to be performed by experienced and qualified engineers to ensure the outcome is a safe layout, adequately supported and complies with all applicable design codes and standards.
Why Piping Stress Analysis is so important for a project?
Piping Stress analysis has an interface with Piping Layout; Civil/Structural and Pipe Supports; Mechanical (Static and Rotating); Process; Process Safety; Instruments and Electrical disciplines. Therefore Piping stress analysis has a significant impact on all aspects of a project and is fundamental to the integrity of a project. The purpose of carrying out a detailed analysis is to demonstrate the mechanical integrity of the piping system in accordance with the applicable design code(s), most commonly ASME B31.3 for the design of process piping systems. As well as checking level of stresses in the piping, the purpose of Piping Stress analysis calculation is to calculate and review:
Nozzle loads exerted on equipment by the pipework and comparison with the manufacturer’s suggested allowable values
The loading on pipe supports
The loading at flanged/bolted connections and the possibility of leakage
Deflections in the piping system
The natural frequency of the piping system which is a measure of its susceptibility to vibration.
The main Impacts of Piping Stress Analysis
Piping stress analysis activity requires input from other disciplines to start and is itself a key input for commencing the work for other disciplines, in particular, Civil/Structural and Pipe Supports. The analysis often needs to be started in advance of having all the required information to supply other disciplines with the data they need in the specified timeframe as per the schedule. Examples of unavailable information at the start of a project include, typically, valve and actuator dimensions and weights; vendor skid information and, where applicable, blast drag pressures to be applied in the analysis. An adequately structured flow of information across various disciplines should be in place to optimize the design activity and avoid inconsistency and rework. Careful consideration should be given to modelling the stress calculations based on the available information from multiple sources, including Process and Environmental, Structural, Mechanical and proposed piping layout and lines’ supportability. Piping systems on fixed offshore installations subject to wave motion, e.g. flowlines or bridge piping between independent fixed platforms and pipework on floating structures will be subject to fatigue. For offshore brownfield projects, consideration should be given to the avoidance of hot work.
Around 30% of the total manhours on a typical offshore/onshore detail design project is for piping activities including piping material and packages, layout and 3D work, stress analysis, pipe supports and isometric production. (The estimate is based on Meena Development’s extensive experience on many projects but can be slightly different for specific jobs.) With approximately a third of the Piping manhours and budget allocated to the Piping Stress team, the task significantly impacts the total project budget. Although companies may try to use their high-value centers to perform piping stress analysis with a lower cost than the home , the importance and complexity of this activity always require the involvement of experienced engineers and a robust quality control system to review the work done remotely and ensure consistency across the project. It can also be cumbersome to manage the interface between stress analysis work done remotely and other disciplines in the Home such as Civil/Structural or with the client or third party verification body.
The right timing is vital in carrying out the piping stress analysis. What makes it a challenge is that the approved and reliable information required to carry out the analysis is not normally available on time. Whilst piping stress analysis needs to be performed early enough to support the main piping layout and structural design; it requires detailed information from other disciplines and third parties, which is usually not available until a later stage. This will be too late to perform the task and provide the information required for the project’s main milestones, including various stages of model reviews. Aligning the schedule of piping stress activities with realistic timing for receipt of vendor data and interface information from other disciplines is vital to minimize rework and avoid undesirable and potentially costly late changes to the design.
Considering the potential impact of piping stress activities on a project’s budget and schedule, it goes without saying that a robust change management system is essential in order to maintain consistency in detail design and to make sure all calculations are continuously being reviewed in line with the latest project information as well as final vendor data. Based on our experience, this matter is often overlooked by Project Management and becomes a bottleneck for fast track projects.
Approach to Piping Stress Analysis
With some of our co-founders and board members from piping stress background, it has always been our passion to help our clients overcome new challenges whether it’s for an ageing FPSO in the North Sea or a modularized onshore project in Australia.
In Meena Development LTD., we share decades of experience from many onshore and offshore projects within our team which is the backbone of the optimized service we offer to our clients worldwide.
Combining experience and innovation, we have improved the industry’s regular work practices for piping stress analysis and reduced the cost of projects significantly for our clients.
This has been achieved by efficient use of the latest available tools and a flexible and responsive working arrangement.
How we work
We’ll have a free consultation session with our client to understand the problem.
We propose a bespoke and customized solution to outline the best way to fit in with the client’s time and budget constraints.
Allocating the best resources
We allocate our best in the industry resources for each specific task, bringing together our whole team if required!
Using MS SharePoint and other tools, we set up a dedicated portal for each project to facilitate efficient communication and provide live schedule updates and status reports.
We representing our client in all technical discussions and meetings when required.
We deliver a comprehensives solution with our recommendations to improve the original concept.
We provide premium piping engineering & full-service pipe design and pipeline / pipe stress analysis services, from initial concept through final construction. We serve all types of industries across Canada & globally. Using CAESAR II and pipe stress calculations as per API, ASME B31.3, B31.1, B31.8, B31.4, CSA Z662.