Constant Spring Supports Designed for up to 9-1/2” of Travel

Constant Spring Supports Designed for up to 9-1/2” of Travel

Type: Constant Spring Supports
Size: 29″ L x 14″ W x 18-3/4″ H |  76″ L x 26″ W x 37-3/8″ H
Material: A36 Carbon Steel | HDG | Neoprene
Design: 124 lb. to 10,570 lb. Load | 3-1/2″ to 9-1/2″ Travel
Testing: Q.C. Inspection | Load and Travel Tests

PT&P designed and manufactured U-Type and D-Type constant spring supports for a facility in Mexico. The constants frames are fabricated from A36 carbon steel and have a hot-dipped galvanized coating. The spring coils are alloy steel and have a neoprene coating. The dimensions range from 29” L x 14” W x 18-3/4” H to a max of 76” L x 26” W x 37-3/8” H. The 200-U-Type constants were supplied with graphite plates on the load table. The supports range in load from 124 lb. to 10,570 lb. The total travel ranged from 3-1/2” to 9-1/2”. Standard Q.C., load and travel tests were performed.

Cryogenic Pipe Supports Designed for an Ammonia Plant

Cryogenic Pipe Supports Designed for an Ammonia Plant

Type: Cryogenic Pipe Supports
Size: 14” L x 4″ W x 6″ H | 2″ Dia. | 2″ Thick Insulation
Material: Polyurethane & Foam Glass | Galvanized Steel
Testing: Q.C. Inspection & Tests

PT&P manufactured multiple pre-insulated pipe supports for cryogenic temperatures in an ammonia plant in Louisiana. These cryogenic pipe supports, also known as “cold shoes” are designed with 2” thick polyurethane and foam glass for insulation and fabricated from galvanized steel for the shoe, with alloy bolts and nuts. They are 2” diameter 14″ L X 4″ W X 6″ H. These insulated supports are designed for insulating and supporting temperatures down to -300°F with a PSI of 200 to 800. Q.C. inspection and tests were performed prior to shipment.

Custom Manifolds Designed for a Polyethylene Facility

Custom Manifolds with Globe and Gate Valves Designed for a Polyethylene Facility

Type: Custom Manifolds with Globe and Gate Valves
Size: 72” Height | 1″ x 1-1/2″ | 1″ x 2”
Material: SA-105 | SA-106B | SA-36
Testing: 100% Dimensional | Inspection Q.C. Inspection
NDE(RT,PT) Hardness | Hydro-test @ 430 PSIG

PT&P supplied 41 custom manifolds with globe and gate valves to a manufacturing complex in La Porte, Texas. The manifolds were installed in a hot water tracing supply and return system at a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) facility. Each manifold was welded to the exact specifications listed on the production drawing developed. The body was fabricated from 2” and 1” seamless XS pipe. The ports were FNPT and flange connection for field installation. All Manifolds were supplied with welded brackets and vertical support stands. The material used for the valves and flanges were SA-105, pipe SA -106B, and the supports are manufactured from SA-36. The overall height is 72″, and the dimensions are 1″ branches x 1-1/2″ run line and 1″ branches x 2″ run line. Inspection and Q.C. tests were performed by an internal and TPI team including 100 % dimensional inspection, NDE(RT,PT), hardness, and hydro-test at 430 PSIG.

Custom Designed Pipe Shoes for a Facility in Louisiana

Custom Designed Pipe Shoes for a Facility in Louisiana

Type: Pipe Shoes
Size: 20” x 20”x 12”
Material: A 516 Gr. 20 Carbon Steel | 304 Stainless Steel
Testing: Standard Q.C. Inspection

PT&P custom designed and fabricated multiple pipe shoes for a general industrial contractor in Louisiana. The shoes are fabricated utilizing low temperature carbon steel A 516 Gr. 20, and the clamps are 304 stainless steel. The pipe shoes provide rigid support to the pipeline in all directions perpendicular to the pipe while allowing axial movement. The dimensions are 20” x 20”x 12”. A standard Q.C. inspection was performed prior to shipment.

Pig Launchers and Receivers Custom Designed for a Chemical Plant

Pig Launchers and Receivers Custom Designed for a Chemical Plant

Type: Pig Launchers & Receivers
Size: 4-14” Diameter | 72-98″ Long | 48″ Tall Stands
Material: 316 L SS | SA 106-B | SA-105
Design: Operating Temperature: 221°F
Operating Pressure of 117, up to 205 PSI

PT&P ‘s Sweco Fab division custom designed and manufactured pig launchers and receivers for a chemical plant in Saudi Arabia. A pig launcher is a pressurized container used to shoot a cleaning device (called a “pig”) through the pipeline to perform a variety of functions including cleaning, monitoring, and maintenance of the pipe. They are fabricated from stainless steel 316 L, SA 106-B, and SA -105. Dimensions for these pig launchers and receivers are 4”, 6”, 8”, 10”, 14” diameter and range from 72” to 98” long. They are mounted on 48” tall stands. They are designed for an operating temperature of 221°F with an operating pressure of 117, up to 205 PSI.

Why PT&P Spring Supports

PT&P is setup to offer our customers the absolute best value in Spring Supports.  The following are key factors that differentiate PT&P Spring Supports:

  • Global Leadership – PT&P has been providing spring supports for over 40 years and has millions of Spring Supports currently in service. We are the standard used by many EPCs and Operating Plants globally.
  • Superior Engineering and Support – PT&P is the only major Engineered Pipe Support provider that started as a Pipe Stress Engineering company. This one of the reasons why we are the only major global provider of both engineered pipe supports and expansion joints.  When you order from PT&P, you not only get our product, but you also get service from one of the world’s leading Pipe Stress Engineering firms.  We can assist in product selection, installation advice, and maintenance advice.  We conduct 100+ individualized Technical Training sessions each year for EPCs and Operating Plants.
  • Superior Manufacturing – PT&P manufactures to a higher standard than other Engineered Pipe Support providers. One of the reasons we are the only major manufacturer of Expansion Joints and Pipe Supports is that the skill level required to manufacture Expansion Joints is distinctly higher than Pipe Supports.  For example, we TIG weld thin gauge Hastelloy and other superalloys every day in our Expansion Joint production.

    Beyond the superior skills we keep on staff, PT&P has a unique ability to service short lead-time orders.  Some of these are in as little as 12 hours.  Our unique manufacturing approach is explained on this link.

  • Superior Quality – we have seen many Spring Supports in the field that have been highly “cost-engineered’. The easiest way to look for this is to check the support for the use of thin gauge material (you can just tap on it).  This is often accompanied by a painted finish which must be used because galvanizing, while far superior (place link to paint vs galvanized) for most applications, would warp thin gauge material.

    PT&P has not gone through this cycle of cost-engineering.  If you check a PT&P spring support, you will quickly see we use thicker gauge material with a standard galvanized finish that is designed to last for the long term and survive in the most difficult environments.

  • Unparalleled Customization Options – because PT&P has set up it’s manufacturing to easily accommodate customization and has advanced manufacturing skills that other spring support manufacturers lack, we can offer the broadest range of options. These include
    • Material
    • Dimensions
    • Travel
    • Coating
    • Delivery Timeframe

Custom Designed 30 Foot long Rod Hanger Assemblies for a Power Plant in North Carolina

Custom Designed 30 Foot long Rod Hanger Assemblies for a Power Plant in North Carolina

Type: Rod Hanger Assemblies
Size: 3-1/2” Diameter | 30′ Long
Material: A36 Carbon Steel  | SA-182 F1 | A563 Gr. C | Red Oxide
Design: Custom Designed Length & Diameter

PT&P custom designed and manufactured sixty rod hanger assemblies for a power plant in North Carolina. The rod diameter is 3 ½” and 30 feet long and utilizes Fig. 95 clevises. The rod material is A36 carbon steel, the clevises from SA -182 F1, and hex nuts from A563 Gr. C. The assemblies were also painted with red oxide primer to protect against corrosion. The rod hangers had to be custom designed because the length and diameter required was not readily available in the marketplace.

Bellmouth Reducers & Custom Pipe Spools Designed for an Ammonia Plant

Bellmouth Reducers & Custom Pipe Spools Designed for an Ammonia Plant

Type: Bellmouth Reducers, Ring Flanges, Pipe Spool Elbows
Size: 36” NPS | Opened to 48″ NPS
Material: Carbon Steel  | 304 Stainless Steel
Design: 150°F | 150 PSI Operating Pressure

PT&P designed and manufactured bellmouth reducers, ring flanges and custom pipe spool elbows for an Ammonia Plant in Texas. Bellmouth reducers are a single piece component used to transition a large outside diameter into a smaller outside diameter piping. These reducers are used in the cooling process; the shape allows for drawing in maximum amounts of air while preventing loss. The bellmouths are fabricated from carbon steel and 304 stainless steel. They are designed for operating temperatures of 150°F with an operating pressure of 150 PSI. Dimensions are 36” NPS opened to 48” bellmouth. Tests that were performed are spot x-ray, visual and dimensional, PMI-alloys and stainless steel.

Sway Strut & 3-Bolt Pipe Clamp Assemblies Designed for a Power Plant in California

Sway Strut & 3-Bolt Pipe Clamp Assemblies Designed for a Power Plant in California

Type: Sway Strut & 3-Bolt Pipe Clamp Assembly
Size: 30″ NPS | 44-1/8″ CC | 4″ Adjustment
Material: Carbon Steel | 304 Stainless Steel
Design: Restrain Tensile/Compressive Force in 1 Direction
Permit Movement in Other Directions

PT&P fabricated and designed sway strut and 3-bolt pipe clamp assemblies for a power plant in California. The assemblies are manufactured from carbon steel with 304 stainless steel load pins. They are designed for a 30” diameter pipe. The sway strut has a cc of 44–1/8” and 4” adjustment. The sway struts are designed to restrain either tensile or compressive force in one direction while providing for movement due to thermal expansion or contraction in other directions.

Pipe Clamps Product Video

Have a look at PT&P’s pipe clamps

High Temperature Pipe Supports (Hot Shoes) Product Video

Have a look at PT&P’s high temperature pipe supports (hot shoes)

Pre-Insulated Pipe Supports Custom Designed with 6” of High Density Insulation for a High Temperature Pipeline

29 Specially Designed High-Temperature Supports for a Power Plant in Arizona

Type: High Temperature Pipe Suports (Hot Shoes)
Size: 10” NPS x 6” Hot Insulation x 12” Long
Material: Carbon Steel with HDG finish | Casi & High Density Inserts
Design: 1200°F | 15,000 lb. Vertical | 6,245 lb. Axial

These pre-insulated high-temperature pipe supports were designed and fabricated for a 10” diameter high-temperature pipeline at a power plant in Arizona. The supports are fabricated from carbon steel with HDG finish and include casi & high-density inserts. They are designed to guide pipes that may reach up to 1200°F, high loads of up to 15,000 lb. vertical and 6,245 lb. axial. There were twenty-nine total “hot shoes” ranging in different designs. The “grooves” in the insulation are for steam tracing. Steam tracing is heat tracing performed by circulating steam around process pipes to heat them. The shoe assemblies are comprised of the four guides on the shoe and adjustable stops. They are designed to account for lateral, vertical, and axial movement. Dimensions for the supports pictured are 10” NPS x 6” thick insulation x 12” long base. Standard tests and Q.C. inspections were performed before shipping.

Graphite Slide Plates for an Technology and Engineering Company in North Carolina

Graphite Slide Plates for an Technology and Engineering Company in North Carolina

Type: Graphite Slide Plates
Size: 4”-10” Length | 4”-10″ Width
Material: Graphite Sheets | Carbon Steel
Design: 2000 PSI Operating Pressure

PT&P manufactured multiple slide bearing plates for a technology and engineering company in North Carolina. The materials for these slide plates are made of graphite sheets with carbon steel backing pads. The dimensions range in length 4”-10” and width 4”-10” with operating pressure of 2000 PSI. All carbon steel plates will be galvanized. The graphite pad will then be bonded to carbon steel backing plates with a ¾ lip.

Personnel Protection Shields Designed for a Power Plant

Personnel Protection Shields Designed for a Power Plant

Type: Personnel Protection Shields View PDF
Size: 8″ Dia. | Up to 36″ Lengths
Material: Galvanized Carbon Steel
Design: 1050°F Operating Temperature

PT&P custom designed these personnel protection shields for a power plant in Wyoming. The personnel protection shields are used when insulating the line is not necessary, but operating temperatures require safeguarding personnel from coming into contact with the pipe. These shields are designed for an 8” diameter pipe operating at 1050°F. They are fabricated from carbon steel and range in lengths up to 36”.

Customization Addendum for Spring Supports (PT&P’s Pipe Supports Catalog)

View PDF Version

CUSTOMIZATION: Spring Supports

Unparalleled Customization from Unmatched Manufacturing Capabilities

Producing the broadest set of customization options with minimal impact on delivery timeframes.

Materials

  • Stainless Steel
  • Chromoly
  • Super Alloys (Hastelloy, Incoloy, Inconel, Monel 400…)

Stainless Steel Constant Spring Supports
Stainless Steel Constant Spring Supports for an Oil Refinery in the Virgin Islands

Monel 400 clamps
Monel 400 Clamps

Finishes

  • Galvanized (Standard)
  • Paint / Primer
  • Paint over Galvanized
  • Red Oxide
  • Neoprene Coating

Big Tons Spring
Big Tons w/ 3-Coat Urethane Paint, Cadmium Plated Components & Fluorocarbon Coating

Variable Spring Supports Designed for a Furnace Application in Oklahoma
Variable Springs with Red Oxide Primer Designed for a Furnace Application

Dimensions

The size can be optimized to specific dimension requirements, and customized to fit in restricted spacing.

Nano constant drawing
Nano Constant – The Worlds Only Size-Optimized Constant Spring

Custom “Mini” Big Ton Spring Supports Designed for a Centrifugal Fan
Custom “Mini” Big Ton Spring Supports Designed for a Centrifugal Fan in a Chemical Refinery

Load

We can supply spring supports with custom load capabilities of
800,000 lb. + loads.

Load Adjustment

Standard is +/- 10%, but we can customize up to +/- 60% Load Adjustment)

600,000 lb. Load Mega Ton Spring Support with Bronzphite® Slide Plates
600,000 lb. Load Mega Ton Spring Support with Bronzphite® Slide Plates

Big Ton Constant Supports Designed with Bronzphite® Slide Plates for Oil Refinery in China
187,393 lb. Load Big Ton Constants with Bronzphite® Slide Plates

Travel

Standard is +/- 10%, but we can customize up to +/- 60% Load Adjustment)

Travel Stops

We can provide wire or chained travel stops.

Ptp constant load hanger
Constant Spring Support w/ 46” of Movement

Variable Spring Supports for a Gas Storage Facility
Variable Spring Supports with Chained Travel Stops

Sensors for Remote Monitoring

We can provide sensors on spring supports to monitor the conditions remotely, and give warning alerts whenever a support does not perform as it should.

Smart spring sensor Smart spring design concept (2)

Unparalleled Customization from Unmatched Manufacturing Capabilities

PT&P has developed a unique approach to its manufacturing operation that produces the broadest set of customization options with minimal impact to delivery timeframes. Most producers operate as smaller scale steel fabricators or highly standardized mass production organizations. PT&P is the only organization that is set up for both scales with over 500 production employees, customization capabilities, and artisan manufacturing skills. For example, PT&P is the only Major Global Supplier of both Expansion Joints and Engineered Pipe Supports. This unmatched manufacturing technique was achieved through proprietary systems, a highly engineered approach to manufacturing, and incorporating 10+ Industrial Engineers in the production operation.

Manufacturing Approach for Pipe Support/Expansion Joint Manufacturers

Steel Fabricator (Owner/Operator) Mass Production PT&P Mass Customization
Machinery Simple Scale Scale and Artisan
Advanced Skills (e.g. TIG welding Inconel) Varies Limited Yes
Systems Limited For Mass Production Advanced Systems allow Management of Complexity
Customization/Flexibility High Low High
Short Turnaround Yes No Yes
Scale Low High High
Outsourced Offshore No Yes No
Engineering Knowledge Low Medium High
Ability to Manage Contamination Across Materials ? No Yes
Breadth of Product Line Medium Low/Medium Large
Target Customer ? Major EPCs All

 

Benefits of G10 Micarta® for Insulation

Download PDF

Pipe Clamps

G10 Micarta® can be very cost-effective insulation as compared to Polyurethane foam (PUF), especially for medium and large shoes. It offers tremendous benefits at various stages of a project, including but not limited to:

  • Procurement
  • Installation
  • Handling, transportation, and storage
  • Plant Maintenance
Cryogenic Pipe Supports with Micarta® Insulation for an LNG Plant

Major Advantage of G10 Micarta® Supports for Procurement

G10 Micarta® supports involve fewer steps to manufacture, allowing for a quicker fabrication turnaround. It takes 2-3 weeks less on average than PUF supports for delivery. This enables the ability to catch up on deadlines and reduce downtime.

  • G10 Micarta® shoes cost less than PUF shoes of the same size, meaning Low Capital Expenses:

Advantages of G10 Micarta® Supports During Construction/Installation

G10 shoes can be sent to the pipe fabricator and can weld directly to the pipe spool, meaning there is minimal installation in the field. It takes 3-5 hours to install a PUF shoe in-field, depending on the size. G10 Micarta® shoes save that FIELD installation time.

Micarta® Block Assemblies for Placement Beneath a Saddle Support of a Vessel

Shop welding of G10 Micarta® shoes is much cheaper. As G10 shoes are weld to pipe spool at the fabricator’s shop, they can be inspected and tested in the shop; no inspection and testing in the field. More cost savings as inspection and testing is done at cheaper rates at pipe spool fabricator facilities rather than in the field.

As G10 Micarta® shoes are handled along with the pipe spools, there are fewer chances of missing supports in the field. Less OS&Ds to worry about for both the client and supplier.

Major Advantage of G10 Micarta® Supports while Handling, Transportation & Storage

G10 Micarta® supports are less fragile than PUF, making the handling, transportation, and storage of G10 to be trouble-free. No special packaging required, saving the time & the cost of special crating. Stronger G10 supports reduce the chances of accidental damage, thereby the need to re-fabricate the support.

Cryogenic Pipe Supports with Micarta® G10 Insulation, and Axial Stops for an LNG Facility

G10 Micarta® supports have insignificant water/moisture absorption rate, this means:

  • No structural deterioration in adverse weather, especially in the wake of heavy rain and storms. PUF deteriorates in wet weather or humid climates
  • Better life of the support
  • Less maintenance and more saving

Testing of G10 Micarta® Support

Micarta test Micarta test close up Micarta testing

Comparison of G10 Micarta® vs. PUF from previous test reports:

Time-dependent temperature variations at the stated locations using G-10 Micarta®.
(i) T-pipe; (ii) T-top; (iii) T- ambient; (iv) T-Bottom, (v) T-BOS.
Time-dependent temperature variations at the stated locations using Polyurethane.
(i) T-pipe; (ii) T-top; (iii) T- ambient; (iv) T-Bottom, (v) T-BOS.

Variable Spring Supports Designed for a Highly Corrosive Environment in Peru

Variable Spring Supports Designed for a Highly Corrosive Environment in Peru

Type: Variable Spring Supports w/ PTFE Slide Plates
Size: PTP-4 | 9.5″ – 11.5″ Height
Design: 1/8″ Upward & 3/16″ Downward Travel
Material: HDG Carbon Steel | Gloss Aliphatic Polyurethane Topcoat | PTFE, 25% Glass Filled Slide Plates
Testing: Standard Load Testing & Q.C. Inspection

Piping Technology & Products, Inc. recently designed and fabricated F-type variable spring supports for a plant in Peru. The variables are fabricated from carbon steel, hot-dipped galvanized and a gloss aliphatic polyurethane topcoat was applied for corrosion protection. PTFE, 25% glass filled, slide plates are bonded to the top of the load flange to reduce the friction caused by lateral movement. The variables range from 9.5″ to 11.5″ in height and are designed for a travel range of 1/8″ upward to 3/16″ downward. To ensure quality, standard load testing was performed prior to shipping.

Custom Designed Pipe Spools for a Plant in Texas

Custom Designed Pipe Spools for a Plant in Texas

Type: Pipe Spools
Size: A36 for flanges and plates, A 106 for pipe, and for stud/nuts A193 B7
Material: Carbon Steel
Testing: Visual & Q.C. Tests

PT&P custom designed these Pipe Spools for a plant in Texas. pipe spools are relatively short assembly, consisting of a pre-determined length of pipe welded to a specified fitting (tee, elbow or reducer) or valve (gate or ball), with flanges typically welded at each end of the pipe. The materials used are carbon steel A36 for flanges and plates, A 106 for pipe, and for stud/nuts A193 B7. This order contained 2 pipe spools, ring retainer, pad eyes, & mount supports. Operating loads were 2200 lb. with standard shipping.

157 Embed Plates Designed for a Construction Company in Texas

157 Embed Plates Designed for a Construction Company in Texas

Type: Embed Plates
Size: ¾” x 14” x 18” | Nelson Studs: ¾” x 7”
Material: HDG Carbon Steel
Testing: Visual & Q.C. Tests

PT&P designed and manufactured 157 embed plates for a construction company in Texas. Embeds are essentially anchor bars used to secure steel to the concrete. The plate is ¾” x 14” x 18”, and the Nelson studs are ¾” x 7”. All components are fabricated from carbon steel with a hot-dipped galvanized finish. Visual and Q.C. tests were performed prior to shipment. This job was a 15-day turnaround in order to meet the customers’ construction schedule.

Preventative Maintenance Best Practices: Replace Spring Support Audits with Pipe Stress Audits

Humber refinery looking south from nicholson road
Image Source: By David Wright, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8563768

 

Piping Technology and Products has a unique perspective on best practices in preventative maintenance. PT&P has a database built from over 1,000 audits performed in 41 countries. PT&P also has experience from over 3 Million pipe supports and expansion joints currently in service.

 

 

The following is a summary of the strategies PT&P sees at operating plants:

  • Only fix spring supports when something is wrong (e.g. vibration, leaks, …)
  • Perform regular inspection and replace damaged spring supports
  • Periodically return piping line to its original design specification and/or set new design standard if the design has changed

The design of the piping system is a major part of the engineering of an operating plant build. On average, piping constitutes 40-48% of the engineering hours in a new refinery. The challenge facing piping engineers is rotating equipment locations and process design are defined and the piping engineers must make the piping system fit within the designated space while dealing with thermal stress, proper flow, and allowable loads for all equipment. With temperatures in high energy lines often well over 1,000 degrees, this can be very challenging. The following are some of the goals of pipe stress engineering and the placement of spring supports and expansion joints in the piping system:

  • Ensure stress at the interface to moving equipment is below maximum allowable loads
  • Minimize turbulent flow through the piping system
  • Ensure the longevity of piping system components

Figure 1 – Pipe Support and Expansion Joint Maintenance Strategy
*Shows the strategies that PT&P commonly sees at different operating plants:

Strategy Pros Cons
Fix When Broken
  • Maximize short term cash flow
  • Potentially moves financial impact from Opex to Capex
  • Limits overspending on preventative maintenance
  • Likely leads to allowable stress being beyond max for some moving equipment
  • Will lead to maintenance issues with moving equipment
  • Can lead to premature failure of piping system
  • Could lead to a plant shut down
Periodically Fix Broken Springs (Component Level Focus)
  • Insures broken spring support are replaced prior to causing issues

 

  • Does not ensure the proper functioning of each spring without adjusting Spring Supports which are out of position
Periodically Return to Original Design Specification (System Level Focus)
  • Ensures the system is brought back to original design minimizing strain on moving equipment
  • Minimizes stress on the piping system
  • Higher short term expense
  • The business case can be challenging due to the medium/long term nature of savings
  • Potentially more Opex vs Capex
  • Minimizes risk of an unplanned outage

PT&P has seen many examples of each of the strategies above. Typically, the strategy taken at an individual plant is closely related to overall operating philosophy of the organization, including finance. However, we also speak to a number of organizations who have placed an emphasis on preventative maintenance but are not sure of the best practices for the engineered pipe supports and expansion joints.

Appendix A shows an example of a program PT&P executed March of this year on a turnaround. For preventative maintenance, best practice is to not just focus on the health of the piping system components, but on the health of the overall piping system. The following are some of the issues that PT&P has found that cause system level issues:

  • Spring Support Failure Impact – the failure of a spring support will impact other supports and cause them to possibly fail as they attempt to take on the additional load of the failed spring
  • Damage to Piping or Rigid Supports Changes Elevation of Spring Supports – a variety of issues can cause the piping to undergo strain, which causes deformation. This will cause a change of elevation or distance from the pipe support to the pipe and impact the load setting and connections to other equipment
  • Improper Travel Stop Management – if travel stops are not removed, the spring supports are essentially a rigid support, and the load can be redistributed among the spring supports on the same line in a way that is not consistent with the original design
  • Improper Initial Installation – one of the most common issues PT&P finds in its audits is that engineered supports are improperly installed during initial installation

By the time a plant reaches 10+ years of age, PT&P’s experience is that most plants have encountered one or more of the issues above. For this reason, it is essential to take an approach of resetting the line to the original design specification. Best practices for performing a “reset to design specification” are the following:

  • Hot and Cold Audit – required to understand the range of movement
  • View of Functioning of Springs/Expansion Joints Across Line – the view of how a spring is functioning can be highly dependent on whether there are many failed supports on the line versus just one
  • Plan for Adjustments and Replacements – the overall plan for a turnaround must be comprehensive in terms of adjustments
  • Proper Management of Travel Stops – we have found tremendous confusion on the proper timing for placement of travel stops; if this is not done correctly, in many cases it is not possible to reset the line to the original design specification
  • Repair Rigid Support Issues – a common issue we have run across is a damaged or removed pipe shoe or saddle resulting in the piping sitting on the supporting pipe rack
  • Assess Elevation Changes – changes in elevation due to changes or deformation of piping can cause a spring support to be out of position; this issue should be addressed as an issue with the line rather than the spring support
  • Identify Design Changes – PT&P sees many situations where there have been alterations to the line, such as new equipment without an update of the stress analysis; the best approach is to redo the stress analysis; however, the budget or time constraints may require a quick and dirty approach such as weighing the line
  • Adjust in Real Time as Needed – Given all of the issues above, resetting a piping line to design specification takes real-time decision making during an audit

The challenge with this approach to preventative maintenance is that it takes a much deeper level of expertise than a component level inspection. PT&P’s experience is that even the ability to operate a pipe stress modeling software program such as CAESAR is far different than a pragmatic understanding of the proper functioning of all the elements of the piping line. Many personnel and firms supporting piping system maintenance are challenged with managing a broad range of equipment at an operating plant, and this can make it difficult to have the depth in pipe stress that may be required to properly execute a system level audit and execute a plant to return the piping system to the original design specification.

The sole purpose of performing audits is to maintain the piping system and equipment to remain in the proper condition. Therefore, the system level (pipe stress audit) that considers the physical condition of the system, along with the spring supports system should be preferred. As mentioned earlier, the component level audit is an important part of the system level which if put together with other system and/or deformation assessment can give the overall picture of the system and finally a better direction for the proper maintenance.

An Example of System Level Repair Work: Spring Supports Issues on Manifold of a Heater

PT&P performed an installed inspection on all the springs supporting a manifold of a heater. The installed (or ”cold”) condition inspection showed that most of the supports were operating properly. However, after performing a second inspection in the operating (or ”hot”) condition, it was concluded that most of the spring supports did not show any signs of movement. This issue was brought up with the customer, and it was determined they were having some issues with the heater tubing affecting the efficiency.

During Cold Inspection
During Hot Inspection
During Cold Inspection During Hot Inspection

Since this issue needed to be addressed to prevent any failures in the future, all the supports from the manifold were assessed and concluded that there is a need for system level repair. Therefore, on a 2019 turnaround, all the spring supports of the manifold were replaced.

The following pictures show that the new supports are moving as designed and system-wide repair was indeed required.

During Cold Inspection (March 2019)
During Hot Inspection (May 2019)
During Cold Inspection (March 2019) During Hot Inspection (May 2019)
Spring supports manifold replacement 2019
5 Spring Supports from a Manifold were Replaced During a 2019 Turnaround

All together 35 spring supports on manifolds were replaced due to failure of previous spring supports.

Appendix A: Turnaround plan and Execution for a Major Refinery

A. Pipe Supports
10 Units
> 600 Spring Supports
12% Adjusted
14% Replaced
B. Expansion Joint Installation Supervision
36 Expansion Joints Replaced
Work Scope:
  1. Pipe supports inspection during the installed or cold condition
  2. Supervision on adjustment of the spring supports
  3. Installation of spring supports as per in Table A for the period of 30 days

In addition to the above, PT&P provided a supervisor (Expansion Joint Technical Expert) to supervise the installation of expansion joints.

Planning:

PT&P provided two engineers about a year before the turnaround to perform the operating inspection of the spring supports while a cold inspection was done by PT&P in the previous turnaround. All these inspected supports were documented in a report and the conditions were categorized as good, replacement or adjustment required.

Pre-Turnaround:

Based on the location provided in the inspection report, and constant communication between PT&P engineers and turnaround co-coordinators, the location where the scaffold is to be built was pre-planned.

The materials were purchased a few months before the turnaround. All the required safety training, drug tests, background checks were done prior to the turnaround date.

During Turnaround:

Out of 10 units, 4 units were “shut down” upon arrival at the site. PT&P engineers performed a quick walk-down on all the spring supports in the units to see if there were any new issues since the last inspection which required immediate attention. This gave enough time to order the materials and necessary hardware.

After the quick inspection, PT&P worked with a few client technicians on two different units. The adjustment and installation work on the two units were done concurrently.

Once those units were completed, PT&P engineers were mobilized to other units. There were a few new discoveries where PT&P engineers ordered materials for adjustment and replacement. Within a couple of days, PT&P managed to supply the parts (shipped through hot shot) and resolve the issues.

There were five times, PT&P provided the materials during the period of turnaround within 48 hours. It was very convenient to have engineers supervising the installation and repair as it allowed for design and/or engineering changes to be made on the spot.

In addition to the pre-planned turnaround work, PT&P engineers assisted, on several occasions, to help resolve issues such as bent struts, check the condition of counterweights (old style), some new expansion work which included the addition of new pipe supports.

Pictures of replaced cans:

Cracked Spring Support After Replacement
Cracked Spring Support After Replacement

 

Bent Rod During Turnaround Work After Repair During Follow-up Hot Inspection
Bent Rod During Turnaround Work After Repair During Follow-up Hot Inspection

The rod was bent during the turnaround because the contractor working did not reinstall the travel stop while working with the line. The support should have been locked and disengage from the system for this specific work on the pipe coming out of the reactor. The line seemed to have higher movement than anticipated during the turnaround work. This was the second time the rod was bent. PT&P engineers, which were on site for other spring supports work, were contacted immediately. Less than an hour, PT&P field service technicians went and assessed the condition and suggested an improved, robust design. The materials were purchased as per PT&P engineers’ recommendation. Since the order came directly from the field from a PT&P employee, the approval and manufacturing process was smooth and quick. Within a couple of days, the materials arrived and were successfully installed. Everything operated correctly during the follow-up hot inspection.

For Expansion Joints (EJ):

PT&P supervisor was on site the entire time helping the contractor remove and INSTALL the new expansion joints. Almost all of the CLIENT contractor workers were inexperienced or very limited experience working with expansion joints.

PT&P supervisor gave a quick training about removing and installing the new EJs. They also pointed out the importance of being sensitive towards the EJ fabric since one small improper cut could damage the belt.

PT&P supervisor assisted the contractor with the proper marking of “backing bar” while removing the old EJ. He inspected the condition of the joint and guided contractors to efficiently install the new expansion joint. He also showed the proper way to splice the fabric materials to complete the EJ Installation.

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