Quick yet comprehensive guide regarding Pipe Fabrication
We may not notice, but pipes play a vital role in ensuring industrial and commercial facilities. These facilities are essential because our society is relying on them. Construction projects involve a high level of pipework. And for that, the professionals and experts known as fabricators use the process of pipe fabrication. This blog includes the introduction of Pipe fabrication, its types, tools used in the process, steps and processes, and essential characteristics of a pipe fabrication facility
5 essential things to explain to understand Pipe Fabrication:
What is Pipe Fabrication?
In pipe fabrication, the pipes, elbows, tees, flanges, and more go through cutting and welding to form a predesigned structure. These predesigned structures must be following the needs and desires of the client. The officials document the design that is to be followed in fabrication. That document is called a Pipe fabrication facility.
Pipe fabrication is a delicate process. It requires a high level of precision. It has hundreds of components with complex assembly and installation processes. In any construction project, which involves piping or plumbing networks, pipe fabrication requires proper and detailed planning. It is also vital to meet predesigned structures. Moreover, staying inside the allotted budget and minimizing unexpected hazards and accidents during pipe fabrication.
Two Types of Pipe Fabrication:
Pipe fabrication is classified into two categories. These categories are based on the site of fabrication. It can be Shop fabrication Or field fabrication. Where to assemble or fabricate the pipe can be based on several factors. The factors include profitability, ease, nature of work, accessibility of material, equipment, and more. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss each category separately.
In this type of pipe fabrication, the fabricators do the designing, fabrication, testing, and painting at the piping facility. And the professionals then transport the assembled spools to the construction sites. Essential features of shop fabrication are:
- Fabricators use high-quality material.
- Shop fabrication ensures accuracy because of the controlled environment.
- Labor cost at shop fabrication is lower than that of Field fabrication.
- Productivity at shop fabrication is higher as compared to on-site fabrication.
- Mobilization cost at shop fabrication is lower with respect to field fabrication.
- Safer and more comfortable than field fabrication.
- The pipes are fabricated ahead of their time.
- There is less possibility of delays on work.
In this type, the professionals do the fabrication, cleaning, assembling, and painting of the pipe on the installation site. The unfabricated material is first transported to the site. Features of On-site fabrication are:
- Generally, the material used in field fabrication is of lower quality than that used in-shop fabrication.
- Field Fabrication is a preferred method for repairing already installed pipes.
- Professionals prefer field fabrications when they need to see what they are working on and the specifications on site.
- Labor cost at field fabrication is higher as compared to shop fabrication.
- The probability of delays in pipe fabrication is more when it comes to field fabrication.
- Weather can cause delays in work.
- Field fabrication has higher mobilization cost.
- Field fabrication is less safe for workers than shop fabrication.
Modern Pipe Fabrication Workshop:
A pipe fabrication facility or workshop is where the process takes place. The facility’s construction is planned such that it has different areas for different jobs. It requires a large area where we can build the workshop. Around 40 to 50 workers work hard and operate different machines to get the finished material out of the facility.
In the pipe fabrication shop, everything is on monitors. There is a calendar for work schedules. They keep track of the time pipes and materials take through each area. The workers project and track the production throughout the targeted time. In this part, we will discuss the working of the pipe fabrication facility.
There is an area dedicated to new employees and workers. New workers take training regarding designing, fabrication, and specifications in this area. They also get training on using different software vital in the fabrication process. And how to monitor the activities.
- Virtual Design and Construction Area: The skilled workers design and develop the fabrication model virtually. The fabricators follow these designs, which are documented in pipe fabrication specifications.
- Storage Area for Piping Material: This workshop area contains all the raw piping material. Supplier transports the piping material to the facility. Fabricators further use the stored material fabrication process.
- Cutting and Beveling Area: Next part of the piping facility is the cutting and beveling area. This area of the workshop contains cutting and beveling machines. The machines can be cold saws, Arc plasma cutters, and more. The distribution of pipes is per the size and cutting that the fabricators need according to specifications. First, the professionals cut the pipes and then do the beveling and fitting.
- Grinding Area for Fitting’s Bevels: The facility has a separate area for fitting bevels. The fabricators use machines and grinders installed in this area. They use the grinders to smoothen bevels. Bevels are made ready to fit this part of the Pipe fabrication workshop area.
- Fitting up and Welding area: The next area in the pipe fabrication facility is the fitting up and welding area. Here the workers use mechanical methods and machines to fit the pipes, elbows, and joints. And after joining, they weld the joints. There are two areas for fitting up and welding.
- Fitting up and welding area for simple spools: For simple and easy joining, fitting, and welding, workers use this area. The area is specified for simple spool-sing.
- Fitting up and welding area for Complex spools: This area is specified for joining, fitting, and welding complex pipes and spools. Workers use heavy machines to do fittings and welding of complex pipes and spools.
- Non-Destructive Testing Area: There are Non-destructive Testing areas in the workshop. The finished spools are passed through the NDT area. Here the operators test the durability and properties of spools without causing them any damage.
- Sand Blasting and Painting Area for spools: The professionals at the NDT area approve the perfect spools. The approved spools move to sandblasting and painting area. Fabricators do sandblast to clean the surface from any impurity and waste material. Then they do paint to beautify and increase the lifetime of the fabricated pipe.
Tools used in the Pipe Fabrication
Pipe fabricators depend heavily on a range of specialized tools. These tools and equipment play an essential role in getting their jobs done smoothly. The equipment used in-shop and on-site fabrication may differ due to the difference in the environment. Safety concerns are minor when fabricators do pipe fabrication on the shop than when they’re doing it on site.
Whatever the condition is, or wherever the work takes place, we mention some of the essential tools. These basic tools are vital, and they help fabricators in the process of pipe fabrication.
- Cutting tools: fabricators use different tools for cutting such as Saws, heat and plasma cutting equipment, pipe cutting machines, CNC cutting system, and more.
- Pipe Jacks: Pipe jacks are mechanical tools fabricators use to push and apply force on pipes. They apply pressure on pipes to push them through grounds from one pit to another.
- Pipe benders and rollers: fabricators use benders to form various curves, angles, and turns. Adjustable pipe rollers are also used to produce arc and curve-shaped metal pipes during pipe fabrication.
- Lifters or Cranes: Lift cranes are the tools that help the professional in hoisting or lowering heavy metal pipes.
- Fitting and Welding equipment: the professionals use these tools to join the different parts through welding and fit up the pipes during fabrication.
- Grinders: the tool is helpful for cutting, cleaning, smoothening, or even leveling welded and joined surfaces.
- Transportation Equipment: The professionals transport the materials and equipment from the facility to the site using transportation equipment. The transportation equipment generally includes heavy vehicles.
The process of pipe fabrication
Carrying out the process of pipe fabrication is a delicate job. It requires high skill and professionalism. It is also essential to follow the predesigned structure. That predesigned structure is documented as Pipe fabrication Specification. Fabricators follow that document to design and fabricate the pipe structures as planned.
Following are 7 essential steps involved in the process of Pipe Fabrication
- Marking and Tagging: Before cutting, the Fabricators, following the predesigned specifications, mark and tag the pipe material. They use paint and stamp to tag the material. Tagging highlights and displays heat numbers of material before cutting.
- Cutting: After marking and tagging, fabricators cut the materials using several methods. These methods include shearing, chopping, sawing, plasma fusion, or flame cutting.
- Beveling and fitting: An essential step in pipe fabrication is beveling and fitting. This step is also known as end preparation.
- Welding: The alignment of parts, assembling them correctly, and welding them.
- Pipe/fitting welding: The pipes and fittings are aligned. They are joined together for inspection. And if they precise inspections based on pipe fabrication specifications, the parts are welded together.
- Inspection: The guidelines provided in the fabrication specification document are used as a standard for inspections. The fabricators use those specifications for the final inspection.
- Transportation: The material is transported to the site using heavy transportation vehicles.
Click here to visit our Facebook page.