Monday, July 16, 2012


For those seeking resources, how to learn piping design, or wanting to ask the questions, "tell me about piping design" or "help me with me with my project", see the following that has been developed by the professionals in Piping Design Central.

To be a piping designer you should know about (not necessarily in this order):
  • how to read P&IDs, i.e. know the plant process.
  • drafting practices: i.e. drawing content and drawing revision process.
  • plot plan development.
  • basic understanding of fluids and fluid flow.
  • piping materials and piping specifications.
  • application of company standards: shoes, anchors, guides, base ell supports, dummy legs, etc.
  • application of client standards: clearances, platforms, operation, maintenance, etc.
  • the meaning of piping classes, e.g. 150, 300. etc.
  • the meaning of piping schedules and wt, e.g. sch. 40, 80, etc.
  • pipe connections, i.e. threaded, socket-weld, butt weld and flanged and the associated fittings to achieve this.
  • basic welding practice and welding symbology.
  • types of valves and why and where they are used.
  • the many types of equipment and their function/operation.
  • how to pipe to the many types of equipment.
  • the function and required installation of the many types of instruments.
  • the purpose of and how to create and dimension a general arrangement drawing.
  • the purpose of and how to create an isometric.
  • spool fabrication, field welding, and spool erection.
  • module design, fabrication and erection.
  • construction execution.
  • basic understanding of stress analysis.
  • safety codes and practices (Process Safety Management, construction safety, etc.)

A few things you have to understand:
  • Defining scope of Piping engineering is quite difficult. Because it is vast: Process piping, off-shore piping, underground piping, sub-sea piping, cross-country piping, Nuclear piping, Mineral industry piping, Lined piping, Low & high temperature piping. The list goes on.
  • Importance of piping In a "normal" plant (No specially built, high cost equipment) piping (design, engineering, erection, testing, rework etc) constitutes 30% to 45% plant total cost.  Hence, if you use a good design & engineering practice, right away you could save 5% of plant cost (3% saving always exists). If you calculate this amount, it is huge & hence proper importance should be given to piping at all stages.
  • Importance and limitations of advanced 3D modeling tools. There are many 3D modeling softwares used widely in the piping industry. PDS, PDMS, Bentley etc. Don’t rush to learn the software thinking that that is Piping Engineering or Deisgn. If you get an opportunity learn it. They are good tools, but a tool is good only when the operator knows how to use it. If you know piping design, these tools are very handy. Other wise they are nothing at a minimum, dangerous at worst.

Some separate tasks or disciplines include

Piping layout & design engineering – A guy specialized in this area is called “Piping Design Engineer” or “Piping designer”..  If you wish to be in this field, you need to be good at International codes, layout capability with a vision for daily operation, maintenance methods, erection, dismantling methods etc. This field need more common sense than hi-fi engineering skills. This field also include, Pre-bid engineering (Proposal engineering), Conceptual engineering, Basic engineering and Detail engineering (Don’t ask me what are these. You will know them in due time)

Piping stress analysis – A guy specialized in this area is called “Piping stress Engineer” or “Piping flexibility engineer”. If you wish to be in this field, you need to be good at stress analysis skills using software line CAEPIPE, CAESER, AUTOPIPE etc

Piping material & specifications engineering  – A guy specialized in this area is called “Piping Material engineer” or “Piping Spec. Engineer”. If you wish to be in this field, you need to be good at materials & their properties, thorough knowledge of international codes (ASME/API/ASTM to name few), good knowledge of corrosion engineering & very good knowledge about proper use of valves & pipe fittings.

Piping fabrication, erection & quality control engineering – A guy specialized in this area is called “Piping site engineer” or “Piping field engineer”. If you wish to be in this field, you need to be good at quality control skills (NDT/NDE inspections), work scheduling & progress monitoring skills, dealing with erection contractor on daily basis etc.

Don’t think that the above four fields are independent. They are interdependent. Even if you are in one of the above fields, you need to know all the four fields very well to function as a good engineer. That’s why don’t make up your mind now to pursue any one of the above fields.
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