Fabrication of pipe supports requires attention. How the pipe supports are prefabricated and how they are installed is important. Wrong prefabrication/installation of pipe supports could cause unwanted effects (high repair costs, failure of the pipe support etc.). Pipe supports often contain a mix of metallic materials together with non-metallic components. The fabrication of such items requires good workmanship. It starts with a good design and fabrication friendly solutions/philosophies, but also the fabrication process has its challenges. It is very important to follow up both vendors of pipe support standard details and the main fabricator contractor to ensure good workmanship in all phases of the pipe support fabrication.
EXAMPLES OF TOPICS TO BE AWARE OF:
PIPE SUPPORT STANDARD DETAILS
Pipe support standard details (line, stops, clamps, shoes etc.) comes in many types depending on function, required strength etc. There are different materials used, both metallic and non-metallic. Good prefabrication and installation of these standard details are essential to avoid huge maintenance/repair cost.
Bonding – Many standard details have non-metallic material bonded to metal (e.g. lining inside clamps, low friction pads). It is important that these items are being bonded in a controlled atmosphere and according to approved bonding requirements. This to ensure quality throughout the lifetime of the installation.
Cold forming – When cold forming standard details, it is important to ensure that bending radius do not exceed allowable limits (e.g. R=2 x t). This to avoid the risk of cracks.
Installation weld Guide/Stop – Welding guides adjacent to e.g a pipe support shoe is a challenge. Because the guide-weld towards the shoe needs to be from one side, the type of weld to be used is a challenge. A full pen. weld is not possible if we want the intended function between the guide and the shoe base plate. A type of K-weld could be evaluated.
PIPE SUPPORT FRAMEWORK
The prefabrication of the pipe support frames usually follows the standard and procedures for structural steel. However pipe supports may have a different material philosophy (using stainless steel like 316L or Lean Duplex). In those cases we may use hollow sections with thin wall (due to higher strength).
When welding such sections, attention should be made to the places where partly penetration welds are used (ref. highlighted weld in fig.). When we have a section wall thickness less than 6mm we might come in conflict with minimum weld size requirements. This needs to be clarified before design/fabrication starts.
These are a few topics that could be a challenge in the pipe support design if not addressed in a proper way. There are many other issues as well.
A good pipe support fabrication is crucial for a successful pipe support design – and it starts in the engineering phase of a Project.