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Introduction - Piping Engineering & Design

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Piping Engineering is a specialized discipline of Mechanical Engineering which covers the design of piping and layout of equipment's and process units in chemical, petrochemical or hydrocarbon facilities. Piping Engineers are responsible for the layout of overall plant facilities, the location of equipment's and process units in the plot and the design of the connected piping as per the applicable codes and standards to ensure safe operation of the facilities for the design life.  

Piping can be defined as an assembly of piping components used to convey or  distribute process fluid from one item of equipment to another in a process plant. The piping components that form a part of this assembly are pipes, fittings, flanges, valves, piping specials, bolts and gaskets. This definition also includes pipe-supporting elements such as pipe shoes but does not include support structures such as pipe racks, pipe sleepers and foundations. As per ASME B31.3, the piping designer is responsible to the owner for assurance that the engineering design of the piping complies with the requirements of this code and any additonal requirements established by the owner. Piping Engineering is a very important aspect of plant facility design and extends way beyond designing piping as per ASME Codes. There are various ASME codes used for piping. Most of the plant facilities in the petrochemical and hydrocarbon industry will use ASME B31.3 code for design of process piping. 

What does the ASME B31.3 Piping Code cover

It may be noted that ASME B31.3 code is not a design handbook. The code does not serve as a substitute for sound engineering judgements by the owner and designer. Many decisions that must be made to produce a sound piping installation are not specified in detail within the code. The introduction section of the code clarifies this aspect of ASME B31.3 code.

ASME 31.3 provides ample guidance and set of rules on the following aspects of piping design: