What is Pipe Support?
Pipe support entails objects that transfer the weight of a pipe to a supporting structure. Theoretically, any object that provides support can be used. However, it is essential that a correct selection be made.
Pipe supports fulfill four basic functions that make them effective:
These four functions prove extremely effective in maintaining the structural integrity of the piping system.
What is the basic purpose of Pipe Support?
Piping structures used in industries are very complex. Piping structures in their true essence contain pipes incapable of supporting themselves. This proposes a safety hazard and calls for a supporting mechanism. Pipe supports provide structural integrity to the piping systems. This is achieved by providing support to the piping system at different points. They fulfill the following purposes:
- Support the weight of the pipe during operation and testing.
- Take expansion load.
- Take wind load that causes pipes to sway from their original position.
- Take earthquake load as it can cause vibrations in the system.
- Absorb vibrations of the piping system.
- Provide noise control.
- Support the system during the transient period that is the startup and shutdown periods.
Al Safrik Steel manufactures durable and long-lasting supports. We fulfill all the above-mentioned necessary qualities; a pipe support should have:
How can the Pipe Supports be classified?
Pipe Supports can be classified based on:
- Structural Details
- Functional Details
- General details
Generally, they are classified into the following two categories:
The primary pipe supports are directly attached to the pipeline. Examples are Shoe support, Clamp Support, Guide Support, Line Stop Support, Trunnion Support, etc.
The secondary pipe supports on the contrary do not attach to the pipeline. Rather they directly attach to the foundation/ structure. Examples are Support Brackets, Secondary Steel members on which pipe or primary supports rest, etc.
On structural grounds they can be classified into the following categories:
- Rigid supports
- Elastic or String supports
- Adjustable supports
Rigid Pipe Supports:
The construction of these supports is rigid, hence the name. They offer little to no flexibility. They rest on the foundation that supports the pipe. Rigid supports restrict the movement in at least one direction. Common examples of such supports are welded shoe, clamp shoe, trunnions, valve holders, etc.
Elastic Pipe Supports:
Elastic or spring supports are used in hot pipes. They can also provide support to pipes that experience a lot of vertical movements. These vibrations are caused because of multiple variables such as pressure, temperature, etc. They utilize a compression spring to support the secondary load.
Adjustable Pipe Supports:
Adjustable supports are basically rigid supports but are more adjustable. This essentially means they are rigid in construction but with fewer nuts and bolts. This allows more adjustability to the overall structure. The adjustability is with respect to the actual erected condition of the pipe. Adjustable Pipe Supports provide better support at critical locations. An example of adjustable pipe support is a hold-down strap.
On a Functional Basis they can be classified as follows:
- Loose Support
- Longitudinal Guide
- Transverse Guide
- Fixed-Point or Anchor
- Limit Stop Support
This type of support gives support to the pipe weight in the vertical direction only. While it allows the pipe to move in axial as well as transverse position, it restricts only the vertical downward movement. It comes in two ways: With a shoe and without a shoe.
This type of support limits the movement in the transverse direction. This essentially means that the movement is allowed in a longitudinal direction but not perpendicular to the pipe that is Transverse Direction. It is a common way to use it along with loose support.
The transverse Guide is mostly similar in design to Longitudinal Guide with one major difference. Unlike the Longitudinal Guide, it restricts the movement in the longitudinal direction. However, the pipe is allowed to move in the transverse direction. This phenomenon is known as an axial stop. It is also a common practice to use it along with loose support.
Fixed Point or Anchor Support:
A fixed point or anchor support is used where we want to restrict the movement in all three directions. Fixed point support is not welded. It is used where linear three directional movements need to be restricted. Fixed point support however does allow rotational movements.
Anchor Support on the contrary restricts movements in all directions. Be it rotational or linear directions, all of them are restricted by anchor supports.
Limit Stop Support:
Limit Stop supports are used where we want to allow free pipe movement but not beyond a certain limit.
What are the generally used types of Pipe Supports?
The types of supports generally used are as follows:
- Shoe Type Supports
- Trunnion Supports
- Hanger Supports
- Valve Holders
Shoe Type Supports:
Shoe Type Pipe Support is the most used type of pipe support. It has easy usability as it can be welded to a clamp and put around a pipe. It is used for supporting lines with insulations. What’s interesting is that it can be used as a guide, fixpoint, transverse guide, limits stop, etc. It comes with a variable shoe height.
In trunnion supports, a dummy pipe is welded to the main pipe. That way the dummy pipe becomes a rigid part of the pipeline. It can either be vertical or horizontal. It can be used for rest supports, transverse guides, fixpoint anchors as well as adjustable supports.
In hanger support, a pipe is hung from a structure. It moves in all directions except downwards. It is used as rest support which is usually free to lift.
Valve holders serve their purpose by directly supporting the valve body through its flanges. It is used in plastic piping as it is incapable of transferring the valve load. Therefore valve holders are expensive. It is generally used as rest support, guide support, and fixpoint.
The main purpose of the spring support is to absorb the vertical displacement of a piping system. This can be caused by various reasons such as temperature change etc.
What are the different types of Loads Pipes can face?
Pipes face different types of loads over their lifetime. Some are listed below:
This includes the weight of the pipes and the fluid it carries. Pipe fittings carry additional weight. The collective weight of all these things is known as dead weight.
Internal/ External Pressure
Pipes are subjected to internal/ external pressures because of the fluids they carry. The pipes endure variations in temperature and pressure. This can cause problems. Hence the pipes must withstand the stresses at various pressure and temperature ratings.
A lot of piping systems are based outdoors and are subjected to winds. They especially become more relevant in places with high altitudes. Sometimes the winds blow at high speeds. Winds can cause the pipes to move from their original position. This can cause severe issues for the piping system itself.
Earthquakes play a vital role in causing vibrations. Vibrations pose a great risk to the integrity of pipes. This directly translates to the safety of your plant. They can also be the aftermath of poor insulation in the plant. The rattles from the machines etc. also induce vibrations in the pipes and can potentially harm the piping structure.
Pipe Supports are focused on but are not limited to the structural integrity of the piping system. They also need to take into consideration the above-listed points. Al Safrik Steel pays close attention to all the variables that can affect pipes. These variables are dealt with to ensure a safer environment for our clients.
Problems that can arise in Pipe Support Systems and how to mitigate them?
Over time certain problems can occur in pipe support systems. The best way to avoid the disasters caused by them is to mitigate them before they happen. The following problems can arise in your Pipe Support Systems:
The Use of Rubber Buffers
You might be confused as to why this is listed in possible problems that can arise in the pipe support systems list. Rubber buffers have been used and are still used to avoid metal-on-metal contact. The problem isn’t with “Rubber Pads” but what they can do with your systems. These are made of a porous material. They are liable to moisture absorption and can prove to be the birthplace of corrosion-inducing bacteria. Corrosion can over time eat away the metal and prove to be detrimental to your piping system, causing failures.
A solution to the problem can be to avoid the use of Rubber Buffers. But the question that arises is, if not rubber pads, then what? The answer to that question is composite pipe shoes, etc. Using these materials is an effective approach to addressing the problem. They have corrosion-proof properties. They essentially perform the same job as that of rubber buffers, but more effectively.
Metallic Guides without Lining
The use of metallic guides without lining can cause damage to the pipe support system. Here are different problems that can arise to your pipe support, if used without lining:
- Metal-to-metal friction
The solution to these problems is simply to use linings or some sort of material that mitigates these issues. Keep in mind that the material should be corrosion proof, or it could cause more problems down the line.
A common problem that many people can face is proper pipe spacing. While installing pipe supports make sure they are properly spaced. Sometimes, people use fewer pipes to save money. Although saving money is perfectly fine, but it should not come at the expense of the safety of your plant. If proper pipe spacing is not ensured, it can cause pipes to droop or sag. This can over time cause the pipes to collapse. It can cause a safety hazard and should not be taken lightly.
Why choose Al Safrik Steel?
Al Safrik Steel firmly believes in client safety. We ensure the usage of the best quality materials. We make sure that all the problems are taken care of before the delivery of the final product to the client. The use of improper material leads to pre-mature wear and tear and adds to a bad experience overall. We take pride in not only providing the best products, but also an excellent customer experience. Avoid Long-term repairing costs, choose Al Safrik Steel.