Sunday, May 03, 2015

What is a Piping Engineer

(Cross-posted from my Quora answer to the question- "What is a piping engineer?" Hope it helps!)

Since I work in Oil & Gas field, I can only speak about the piping engineers from my field.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of Piping engineers - Layout engineers and Stress Engineers. 

Layout Engineers- As the name suggests, they are responsible for proposal and finalization of the layout of the entire area. Though they are piping engineers to start with, since pipes are ubiquitous in a plant, they ultimately become responsible for layout of the entire plant including the civil, electrical and other items. For this reason, a major part of their job involves coordination with other departments and resolution of conflicts as and when they occur. They decide the routing of the pipes, the requirement of items such as manholes and vents as per requirement or standard practice and almost anything else you can imagine to do with pipes. However deciding the size and material of the pipe is done by a Process Engineer and not by a Piping Engineer. Depending on the size of the project, some layout engineers might be required to do specialist jobs like that of a Material Engineer or a Support Engineer. A Material Engineer is required for creation of datasheets, BOQ (Bill of Quantities) etc for respective materials. He may also be the one responsible for selection of material for certain piping items such as supports and springs. A Support Engineer designs supports and creates support standards which contain information about the type of supports required, their respective designs, the acceptable support span etc. If a project is comparatively smaller, you might find Layout Engineer, Material Engineer and Support Engineer all rolled into one.
Stress Engineers- Stress Engineers are responsible for checking whether the proposed pipe routing is safe from a stress point of view or not. A pipe must not fail i.e burst, bend or go out of shape beyond acceptable limits due to pressure, temperature or any other ambient conditions. A stress engineer is responsible to ensure that. The analysis is usually done by software such as CAESAR or Autopipe. In case of failure of the pipes, the stress engineers is also required to suggest alternative routing and measures which will ensure the safety of the pipes. Apart from pipes, stress engineer also analyses piping associated with equipment such as pumps, compressors , pressure vessels , storage tanks to ensure that the pipes at the interface (usually nozzles) do not fail while in operation or on standby.

Hope it helps. 

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