Overview of Pipe Installation Techniques
I was an engineer at sea for many years, spending my last twenty years before retirement as a project Engineer in the offshore oil and gas construction yards.
Whether working as engineer at sea or commissioning equipment on the oil platforms, I always investigated any vibrating pipework with some urgency. The problem was normally pipe support clamps working loose, spring hangers or machinery anti-vibration mountings (AVM’s) needing re-adjustment, or machinery coupling misalignment.
The urgency to find the cause was due to the damage that could be done to the piping runs: cracked pipes, leaking flanges, or malfunction of associated equipment.
Piping installation is a specialist trade and should be left to the piping engineer and his team of pipe-fitters, however most mechanical/production engineers are familiar with the basics that follow.
Pipes are fabricated to isometric drawings and full material traceability of the pipe and pipe fittings is required by piping standards. Once fabricated the pipes are painted prior to being fitted as per the installation drawings. If the fluids being carried in the pipe are subjected to temperature fluctuation, expansion bends will be incorporated along with expansion bellows or expansion gimbals that allow the safe expansion and contraction of the pipework.
Pipe guides and shoes are fitted to the pipe to ensure the piping remains axially aligned, with the spider type being the most popular and reliable type.