Pipe support design is an important component of piping engineering design. The ideal piping support design and configuration requires the consideration of installation cost, pressure loss effect on production, stress level concern, fatigue failure, support and anchor effects, stability, easy maintenance, parallel expansion capacity and others. It is also the least expensive over a long term basis.
Piping support is often times referred to as pipe hanger, which is quite different from piping support. Pipe hangers are basically the metal elements that carry the weight of the supporting pipe and follow the physics rule of tension, whereas piping support are the elements which carry the weight from the supporting pipes and follows the physics rule of compression.
If the piping system is not adequately supported, many problems may arise. Ideally, the problems that commonly occur are due to bending in the flange joints, sagging of pipes, vibration, excessive movement, higher deflection, line overstress and equipment nozzle overload and faulty piping support design. To avoid all these problems, it is very essential that your pipe support design is spick-and-span. Let us understand important points to consider for it.
- Objective of piping support design: Piping supports designs and the selection of support material help improve the quality of piping. There are certain ASME standards laid down to ensure proper piping support.
- Identification and tagging: All the piping supports in the drawing should be neatly tagged for identification. Normally organizations specializing in piping engineering have a standard in place with detailed labelling and nomenclature. These cover the length of the pipe, its height and its range. They are also known as STD Pipe Supports or standard pipe supports. Other factors that can’t be covered by standard pipe supports are known as SPS or Special Pipe Supports.
- Pipe Support Register: Once you have tagged all pipe supports, you must list all standard, special and temporary pipe supports in the index drawing. Special and temporary supports must be listed in structural design too.
- Fabrication Isometrics: When preparing the piping fabrication isometrics, you need to include the details of piping material, pipe support tags, pipe size, quantity, fabrication materials that would be welded to the pipe (shoes, trunions and more), erection materials that would be field fitted (line stops, guides, U-bolts) and many more.
- Support Types and Material: Some of the support types to be used are snubbers, spring hangers and other devices that the stress engineer sees as a good fit into piping support design. Support material helps in extreme weather conditions, vibrations and extreme temperatures. If the right support material is not used, it may lead to problems. Let us take small bore brace for example. This brace helps protect small branches from damage. If braces are not used, branches may be damaged and cause vibrations.
Pipe supports material can be broadly divided in 3 categories – welded attachments, non-welded attachments and structural pipe supports. The first are of same material grade as the run pipe, the second can be ASTM A36 or similar and the third can be structural steel sections and plates.
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