Satish Lele
lelepiping@gmail.com

Process Piping
Process piping is a form of link used to transport materials used in industrial processes and manufacturing. It is specially designed for particular applications to ensure that it will meet health and safety standards, in addition to suiting the needs of a given manufacturing process. Process piping can be installed by plumbers, as well as contractors who specialize in installing factory components, and like other fixed elements of a manufacturing facility, it is subject to inspection and approval by government regulators.
This type of piping can be used in a wide variety of ways. In food manufacturing, for example, process piping can be used to transport food ingredients to various points on the assembly line. Chemical manufacturing facilities use process piping to transport components of their products along with materials like natural gas used in manufacturing. Refineries and similar facilities also utilize process piping to move chemical compounds.

Many different materials can be used to make process piping. An important consideration is the types of materials that will be transported, as there may be special needs like inert glass or ceramic piping, corrosion-resistant stainless steel that can be sterilized in a food manufacturing facility, or inexpensive plastics for transporting materials like water. The designer of the piping also has to consider issues like the amount of pressure the piping will be subjected to and the width of the piping when selecting an appropriate construction material.
The process piping connects with reservoirs, holding tanks, and other containers designed to release or retain the materials transported in the piping. For safety, valves and shutoffs are installed along the line to release pressure, close off pipes, and isolate leaks. Some of these devices are designed to trigger automatically during an emergency, usually while sending an alarm so that a technician can address the problem. The piping can also be controlled electronically using central control panels in many facilities.
Process piping is laid out in schematic diagrams at the time that a facility is designed. Designers now use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to lay out piping and print schematics while others may work by hand, depending on preference. In addition to being used as guides during construction, these schematics are also used in the future as people maintain piping, address problems that arise, and respond to emergency situations. Schematics must be updated to reflect changes made in the piping over time so that the information they contain is current.
One of the most important components of the infrastructure in the industrialized world is the vast network of pipelines and process piping—literally millions and millions of miles. The term “pipelines” generally refers to the network of pipelines that transport water, sewage, steam, and gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons from sources (e.g., reservoirs, steam plants, oil and gas wells, refineries) to local distribution centers (“transmission pipelines”), and to the network of pipelines that distribute such products to local markets and end users (“distribution” pipelines). The term “process piping” generally refers to the system of pipes that transport process fluids (e.g., air, steam, water, industrial gases, fuels, chemicals) around an industrial facility involved in the manufacture of products or in the generation of power. Pipelines and process piping are generally made of steel, cast iron, copper, or specialty metals in certain highly aggressive environments, but the use of plastic materials is growing, especially in hydrocarbon-based distribution lines and in sewer lines. Very large-diameter water transmission lines are often made of reinforced concrete.
The most common method of joining the individual segments of pipe is by welding (or soldering in the case of copper, and gluing in the case of plastics), although bolted flanges or threaded connections are often used in smaller-diameter process piping. In low-pressure piping systems that transport non-hazardous fluids like water and sewage, mechanical joints (e.g., “ball and spigot,” compression) that rely on friction are commonly used. Pipelines and piping are usually constructed and maintained in accordance with national and local regulations and applicable industry standards. For example, the most commonly used industrial code for the transport of liquids is ASME B31.4. B31.8 is most commonly used for the transmission and distribution of gas, and ASME B31.3 most often applies to process piping. Once assembled, pipelines are usually buried, but process piping is usually above ground.
Pipelines and process piping are the safest means to transport gases and fluids across countries or across manufacturing facilities. However, given the extensive network of pipelines and piping, failures do occur, which can be quite spectacular and lead to extensive property damage and loss of life. Given their potential impact, it is important to investigate the cause(s) of such failures, which often involve input from many different engineering and scientific disciplines. As such, Exponent, with its broad range of skill sets, is uniquely positioned to investigate such failures, and has done so on hundreds of occasions, ranging from quarter-inch process tubing to 20-ft-diameter concrete water distribution pipelines.
Equally important, of course, is the prevention of pipeline and piping failures. Our scientists and engineers provide in-depth technical knowledge that has enabled us to make significant contributions to clients during the design, layout, and construction of pipelines and piping systems, and in the development and implementation of integrity and risk management programs. Exponent staff has brought their expertise to bear on preventive projects ranging in scope from reviewing the design and construction of the process piping at petrochemical plants to overall integrity reviews of long-distance oil and gas transmission pipeline systems.
Clients that have utilized Exponent’s pipeline and process piping expertise have included Fortune 500 manufacturing and petrochemical companies, utilities, pipeline companies, insurers, and capital project lending organizations.


Scope of Piping Engineer
A piping engineer is anyone who installs, repairs and maintains pipes in Chemical Plants. Piping engineers must understand the functions of the types of pipes involved and have a grasp of a plant's piping. They need to know which pipes are used for heating or cooling.
Basics: Piping engineers typically start with a draftsman's blueprint, which illustrates where piping needs to be positioned. Their responsibilities range from laying down pipe to making repairs. They often work odd and long hours and spend a fair amount of time traveling to multiple job sites. Many work as independent contractors and are available for long periods in the event that an emergency repair is needed.
Skills: Piping engineers must possess strength and stamina, as they often lift and position heavy material, as well as stand or bend over for extended periods. They need to be skilled with their hands and cautious on the job, as one mistake could set a project back or create additional (and unwanted) costs. Piping engineers should be attentive to detail. Although these professionals must be able to work independently, they must also be capable of following instructions. In addition, they must exhibit the analytical skills necessary to read a blueprint.
Background: There are no set requirements to become a piping engineer. Many learn their skills on the job or in apprenticeships. Some receive a certification after attending a piping courses. Others work in related fields, such as construction, before making the transition to piping engineer. A background in math may prove beneficial to an aspiring piping engineer.
Prospects: Projects jobs for piping engineers increase 10 to 15% percent every year. This growth rate is higher than the national average for all occupations.
Earnings: Salaries depend on experience, the specific industry involved.
Piping Designer Job Description Table

Training and/or Experience Level Pay Scale Job Description Approximate years In Piping and SR (Supervision Requirements) Functional (or job assignment) Job Description
Heavy Principal Designer

Year 12 (plus or minus) Depending on the individual, prior experience or additional training, job assignments, etc..

SR= Minimum

Lead Piping Design Supervisor Area/Unit supervisor (Complex Unit)

Heavy equipment and piping layouts

Vessel orientation

Field Piping Engineer

Pipe Fab Shop Monitor

Heavy Senior Designer

Years 9 or 10 plus

Depending on prior experience, additional training and job assignments

SR= Minimum depending on assignment

Assistant to Area/Unit Supervisor

Heavy equipment and piping layouts

Large complex vessel orientation

Complex CAD files or drawings

Checking

Medium Designer

Years 6 through 8 or 9 Depending on prior experience, additional training and job assignments

SR= Minimum to moderate depending on assignment

Medium equipment and piping layouts

Medium vessel Orientation

Complex CAD files or drawings

Checking

Medium

Designer -1

or

Designer - I

or

Designer - A

Years 4and 5

Depending on prior experience, additional training and job assignments

SR= Moderate to heavy as required

Medium equipment and piping layouts

Light vessel Orientation

Complex CAD files or drawings

Light

Designer -2

or

Designer - II

or

Designer - B

Years 2 and 3

More depending on prior experience or additional training and job assignments

SR= Moderate to heavy as required

Simple equipment and piping layouts

Simple CAD files or Drawings

Piping isometrics

Light

Designer -3

or

Designer - III

or

Designer - C

Year 1

Entry level/new hire/no experience trainee to one year (+/-) depending on the training, the trainee and the job assignments

SR= Full time during training. Heavy during first project assignments

Simple drawings or CAD files

Isometrics

Drawing or CAD Corrections

Project Organization Chart

Project Piping Engineering Leader is responsible for the entire piping group functions for assigned project(s). Provides supervisory and technical management for piping personnel.
Duties of the Piping Engineering Lead (PEL) include
  • Responsible for coaching, teaching, and effective supervision of assigned personnel.
  • Develops plans for the project execution. Determines Project Piping Engineering organization.
  • Initiates the piping department section of the scope of work and services.
  • Initiates and compiles estimates for Piping Engineering labor hours, computer charges and field/shop trips. Reviews estimate with Piping Engineering Management for approval and submission to Project.
  • Develops and maintains the Piping Engineering Work Plan. Establish need dates for assignment of all personnel.
  • Initiates and approves the development of project specific piping standards and specifications.
  • Initiates discipline document distribution list for the project.
  • Attends kick-off, Project staff, Client, Construction, Supplier, Flow Diagram reviews or other meetings as required.
  • Maintains contact with Client and other discipline Engineering Leads to assure accurate, timely communications and flow of information is taking place.
  • Responsible for the piping engineering section of the Project Procedure Manual.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates deviation notice.
  • Monitors and controls project budget/schedule including labor, trends, change orders, and progress.
  • Initiates and presents piping engineering's recommendations for materials inspection, identification, certification and expediting to Project.
  • Monitors, controls, schedules and reports pipe shop fabrication and delivery (when applicable).
  • Reports discipline progress to project and discipline management on predetermined intervals.
  • Initiates and monitors quality control checking.
  • Responsible for issuing piping design documents and drawings.
  • Coordinates field construction inquires for resolutions.
  • Initiates and assures completion of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Lead Piping Design Supervisor: He supervises, assigns, and schedules work, usually for a major project or several minor projects, simultaneously, under general direction of the Project Piping Engineering Lead(s). May supervise specialized technical subgroups.
Duties of the Project Piping Lead Design Supervisor are
  • Responsible for coaching, teaching, and effective supervision of assigned piping design personnel.
  • Responsible for developing piping design estimates, schedules and staffing requirements.
  • Responsible for developing piping design administrative and technical practices, specifications, and procedures.
  • Responsible for Plot Plan development and maintenance.
  • Assures that design continuity is maintained throughout the entire project.
  • Reports to the project Piping Engineering Lead the status of piping design activities.
  • Ensures communication flow, both verbal and written, is maintained within piping engineering and with other design and engineering disciplines.
  • Coordinates piping design activities with other design and engineering groups.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates deviation notices.
  • Monitors and controls budget, schedule labor hours, costs, deviation notices, and progress.
  • Prepares and distributes design instructions pertaining to plant design requirements and drafting procedures.
  • Represents piping design in meetings with suppliers, subcontractors, licensors, clients, and other Company disciplines, and produces documentation required for conference or meeting notes.
  • Submits Piping Design standards, specifications, drawings and isometrics to Project Piping Engineering Lead for issue.
  • Executes quality control procedures.
  • Distributes shop fabricator and field construction inquiries for resolution.
  • Assists in the development of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Piping Area/Unit Supervisor Supervises, assigns, and schedules the piping design activities for a specific Area/Unit. Normally reports the Lead Piping Design Supervisor and may supervise five to ten designers or detailers.
Duties of the Project Piping Area/Unit Supervisor are
  • Responsible for coaching, teaching, and effective supervision of assigned piping design personnel.
  • Responsible for developing piping design estimates, control level schedules and, staffing needs for the assigned area.
  • Reports to the Project Piping Lead Design Supervisor status of Area/Unit piping design activities.
  • Initiates the development of all required discipline deliverables for the assigned area.
  • Ensures communication flow, both verbal and written, is maintained within Piping Engineering and with other design and engineering disciplines.
  • Coordinates piping design activities with other design and engineering groups.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates deviation notices.
  • Monitors and controls budget/schedule including labor hours, deviations, and progress.
  • Receives and distributes design instructions pertaining to plant design requirements and procedures.
  • Represents Area/Unit piping design in meetings with suppliers, subcontractors, licensors, clients, and other Company disciplines, and produces documentation required for conference or meeting notes.
  • Reviews and approves Area/Unit piping design drawings and isometrics.
  • Submits Area/Unit piping design drawings and isometrics to lead design supervisor for issue.
  • Monitors quality control for assigned area.
  • Researches Shop Fabricator and Field Construction inquiries and drafts responses.
  • Assists in the development of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Piping Designer(s): Under the direct supervision of the Project Lead Piping Design Supervisor and/or Area/Unit Design Supervisor, develops and checks system design CAD files or drawings in conformance with project specifications, scope of work, design parameters, codes, and industry practices. Work assignments should be made based on the training and experience of the designer weighed against the complexity and critically of the equipment and piping.
Duties of the Project Piping Designer are
  • Review project specifications, administrative and technical practices, design instructions, plot plan, flow diagrams, and supplier information.
  • Performs manual/computer layouts using specifications, standard drawings, design instructions, plot plan, flow diagrams, line list and supplier information.
  • Draw and update material and stress sketches.
  • Communicates and interfaces with other project design and engineering disciplines.
  • Complete manual/computer drawings and isometrics.
  • Check, back check, and correct manual/computer drawings and isometrics.
  • Check other departments' design drawings and supplier equipment drawings.
  • Update master flow diagrams.
  • Update location control plan.
  • Reports progress to the project piping area/unit supervisor.
  • On assignment to the field, supports construction in drawing and specification interpretations, design modifications, scheduling, and system checkout and testing.
Project Lead Piping Material Engineer Supervises, assigns, and schedules work, for a major project or several minor projects simultaneously under general direction of the Project Piping Engineering Lead (PEL).
Duties of the Project Lead Piping Material Engineer are
  • Provides direct supervision for the personnel assigned to them.
  • Responsible for developing estimates, schedules, and staffing.
  • Responsible for developing piping material specifications and procedures.
  • Reports to the project Piping Engineering Lead regarding status of material engineering.
  • Ensures communication flow, both verbal and written, is maintained within piping engineering and with other design, engineering, and purchasing disciplines.
  • Coordinates material engineering activities with other design, engineering, and purchasing disciplines.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates trends or change orders.
  • Monitors and controls budget/schedule including labor hours, costs, trends, change orders and progress.
  • Represents material engineering in meetings with suppliers, subcontractors, licensors, clients, and other Company disciplines, and produces documentation required for conference or meeting notes.
  • Submits material engineering Specifications and Line List to Project Piping Engineering Lead for issue.
  • Reviews and approves bidders list.
  • Develops and submits recommendations for materials inspection, identification, certification and expediting to the project Piping Engineering Lead.
  • Reviews quotation summaries.
  • Assists in the development of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Piping Material Engineer develops and checks specification, line list, and line numbers flow diagrams in conformance with project requirements, design parameters, codes, and industry practices. Normally reports to the Project Lead Piping Material Engineer.
Duties of the Project Piping Material Engineer are
  • Develop material, insulation and coatings specifications.
  • Review flow diagrams for internal cleaning requirements.
  • Assign line numbers and line class specifications to flow diagrams.
  • Develop line list.
  • Identify and list special piping components.
  • Develop the piping material dimensional data book.
  • Perform pipe wall calculations.
  • Update master flow diagrams.
  • Compile the commodity catalog.
  • Assist in development of the Request for Quotation packages.
  • Review bid tabulations and substitutions for technical acceptability.
  • Develops piping pressure test data and test system packages.
Project Lead Piping Material Controller supervises, assigns, and schedules work for a major project or several minor projects simultaneously, under general direction of the Project Piping Engineering Lead (PEL).
Duties of the Project Lead Piping Material Controller are
  • Provides direct supervision for the personnel assigned to them.
  • Responsible for developing estimates, schedules, and staffing.
  • Reports to the project Piping Engineering Lead regarding status of material control.
  • Responsible for material requirements identification and initiation of procurement activities.
  • Ensures communication flow, both verbal and written, is maintained within piping engineering and with other design, engineering, and procurement disciplines.
  • Ensures utilization of approved material control practices and guidelines in performing the work.
  • Coordinates material control activities with other design, engineering, and procurement disciplines.
  • Prepares piping logistics plan for the project.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates deviation notices.
  • Monitors and control budget/schedule including labor hours, costs, deviation notices, and progress.
  • Represents material control in meetings with suppliers, subcontractors, licensors, clients, and other Company disciplines, and produces documentation required for conference or meeting notes.
  • Submits bills of material, bills of material/field material requisitions, and material summary to the project Piping Engineering Lead for issue.
  • Reviews quotation summaries.
  • Monitors material receivers from jobsite and shop fabricator.
  • Distributes shop fabricator and field construction inquiries for resolution.
  • Initiates and monitors quality control procedures for assigned work.
  • Assists in the development of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Piping Material Controller is responsible for material control including take-offs, procurement support and expediting in conformance with project requirements, design parameters, codes and industry practices, under the direction of the Project Lead Piping Material Controller.
Duties of the Project Piping Material Controller are
  • Review flow diagrams, plot plans, transpositions, and miscellaneous piping details to maintain and update material take-offs (MTO).
  • Communicates and interfaces with other project design and engineering disciplines.
  • Make valve take-off from flow diagrams.
  • Make preliminary MTO and input to the computer using flow diagrams, transpositions, miscellaneous piping details and material sketches from piping design.
  • Assists in developing request for quote packages, both shop and field material.
  • Make intermediate MTO and input to the computer for purchasing.
  • Assist in preparation of purchase requests for shop and field material.
  • Assist in review of bid summaries.
  • Assist in expediting materials.
  • Make final MTO and prepare piping bills of materials.
  • Provide input to resolve field material inquiries.
  • Maintain material control documentation.
Project Lead Piping Stress Engineer supervises, assigns and schedules work, for a major project or several minor projects simultaneously, under general direction of the Project Piping Engineering Lead (PEL).
Duties of the Project Lead Piping Stress Engineer are
  • Responsible for developing piping stress engineering specifications.
  • Determines the level and need for analysis of all lines on the project.
  • Provides direct supervision for the personnel assigned to them.
  • Responsible for developing estimates, schedules, and staffing.
  • Reports to the project Piping Engineering Lead status of stress engineering.
  • Ensures communication flow, both verbal and written, is maintained within piping engineering and with other design, engineering, and purchasing disciplines.
  • Coordinates stress engineering activities with other design, engineering, and purchasing disciplines.
  • Submits all pipe stress engineering specifications and other project related documents to the Piping Engineering Lead for issue.
  • Identifies deviations in job scope, estimates magnitude of changes, and initiates deviation notices.
  • Monitors and controls budget/schedule including labor hours, costs, deviation notices and progress.
  • Represents stress engineering in meetings with suppliers, subcontractors, clients, and other disciplines, and produces documentation required for conference or meeting notes.
  • Submits analyzed stress sketches to piping design for implementation.
  • Reviews quotation summaries for stress related components.
  • Resolves field construction stress related inquiries.
  • Maintains complete and auditable calculation files for all systems reviewed or analyzed.
  • Works with the lead design supervisor to identify pre-engineered support requirements.
  • Identifies inline flexibility element and expansion joint requirements.
  • Ensures that quality control procedures are enforced for assigned work.
  • Assists in the development of the piping engineering project completion report.
Project Piping Stress Engineer is responsible for stress analysis of piping systems in conformance with project requirements, design parameters, codes and industry practices under the direction of the Project Lead Piping Stress Engineer.
Duties of the Project Piping Stress Engineer are
  • Develops piping flexibility, support element, expansion joint and shock arrestor specifications.
  • Performs visual, manual, and computer analysis of piping systems.
  • Compiles calculation packages for each system analyzed.
  • Reviews request for quotation and purchase requests for cost and technical completeness for stress related components.
  • Assists in resolving field construction inquiries.
Project Piping Cad (2D & 3D) Coordinator: Under the direction of the Lead Piping Design Supervisor is responsible for coordination and management of all piping CAD related issues, conventions, practices, and file maintenance. Coordinates project related CAD issues with the Project CAD Coordinator, other project discipline CAD Coordinators, the Piping department CAD Coordinator, and/or the CIE department.
  • Interface with the project CAD coordinator to determine best methods of xref/attachment and layer conventions.
  • In concert with project and other discipline CAD coordinators, determines requirements for sequence of data production and sharing of databases.
  • Establish project specific CAD related E-mail mailing list to communicate all CAD related issues.
  • Responsible for distributing approved piping related CAD symbology and communication.
  • Monitor all piping related CAD standards and conventions.
  • Establish and tracks all drawing blocks, x-refs, and cell libraries.
  • Maintain piping related network space, directory structures, and CAD files. Implements project specific naming convention.
  • Interface with company CAD department on piping related hardware/software problems, concerns, and requests.
  • Provide training and CAD support to piping designers.
  • Prepare and/or gather and distribute approved CAD related written materials, manuals, procedures, and CAD notes to assigned designers.
  • Provide a central focus for CAD within the project piping group. Interface with client CAD counterparts.
  • Assist the company CAD department and the project CAD coordinator in the archival of project piping CAD files.
  • Assist piping lead design supervisor(s) in scheduling, determining work station needs, and forecasting CAD related costs and estimates. Monitors station utilization and forecasts deviations from workstation plan.
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