Equipment Supports and Piping Supports, Know Your Industrial Power Backbone

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Equipment and piping supports are the foundation of industrial systems. This article provides a  detailed overview of some of the most common Equipment Supports and Piping Supports that are used in practice.

Mostly, the equipment and piping support are rested or connected by using flanges, collars, nuts, and bolts, or welds. Furthermore, give consideration the equipment and pipe design, the location, and its application.

In this article, I will aim to discuss the most common types of supports mostly used in refinery and power plant applications, and why they’re necessary.

Piping and Equipment Support Systems – Why we need them?

In brief, piping supports or equipment supports, helps in providing proper protection of equipment, or piping, from its weights during operation, testing, wind loads, expansion loads, and earthquake loads. Moreover, these support systems help keep them safe from any hydraulic thrusts during operation, unwanted vibration, noise, movement, or damage. Thereby, preventing frequent maintenance from leaks from flange gaskets, or strains on joints leading to failure. 

Moreover, helps in the successful operation of the system and longevity with a proper design o support system in place.

What are the pipe supports and the equipment supports?

The pipe support, in general, supports a length of pipe in its direction, elevation, or for underground systems.  The Supports for Piping or Equipment mostly are of concrete, steel, cast iron, or wood depending on the process or atmospheric conditions of service.

Whereas, Equipment supports gives structural support to the weight of the static type of equipment, like Columns, boilers, and vessels. These supports do not retain the pressure of the equipment or piping. For instance, bracing, frame, saddles, skirt, lugs.

The equipment support structure should support the equipment. It should transmit the loads associated with gravity, lateral load, and operating load between the equipment and the structure. The most commonly used supports are the channels and beams interconnected with a nut and bolt system for ease of arrangement and free from any weld limitations onsite.

Most importantly, the support detail classifies as primary support, where direct load acts from top, and secondary support, as the supporting member on the reaction end.

What are the different types of supports for piping?

Support fabrication and installation can be done according to the design requirements. Moreover, the support can be a standard design, or different from what has been done elsewhere.

In general, while inspecting or installing the appropriate construction drawings are a mandate. Moreover, careful consideration should be given to the piping sizes, the temperature during operations, the weight in service, and the fittings of piping.

The following are some of the supports found in most oil and gas industries. Let us see based on the general classification of supports.

Classification of Pipe Supports

Rigid Pipe Support

Pipe support that is Rigid Types have almost no erection tolerances. The Pipes are totally fixed arrangement, with either welded support or movement restricted at the pipe, and its base rested on a foundation or structure.

Pipe Guide (Slide)
Pipe Clip
Riser Clamp
Wall Support
3 Bolting Pipe Clamp Support
Base Anchor Support (Welded)

Elastic Pipe Supports

When the support is to be moved frequently or on the ground, elastic support can be used, but it has a small tolerance. Elastic Supports can be Variable Type Spring Support or Constant Type Spring Support.

Typical Hanger and Roller
Variable Spring Support

Adjustable Pipe Supports

Adjustable type of support is the most common type of pipe supports. The height can be adjusted, like moving up and down, or even sideways. They are of rigid type that have nut bolt or thread arrangement to support actual site conditions used for longer pipes, such as for water supply pipes, gas supply pipes, sewage pipes, and telephone cables.

Adjustable Pipe Support
Threaded Base Stand
Pipe Support for Flanged (adjustable)

Classification of Equipment Supports

We will discuss on the two groups of equipment supports, firstly, fixed and secondly, mobile.

Fixed Equipment Supports

In common, fixed supports can be installed on a job site or in a building. Fixed or otherwise, static equipment support can be either permanent or temporary.

A typical example of fixed support is a Vessel Saddle for Horizontal Equipment, and a Vessel Skirt for Vertical Equipment. This includes, the common support structural members that hold the roof of a building and the Process Tank.

An example of fixed support is a steel post that is driven into the ground to support a building or a portion of a building.

Vessel Support
Hinge and Pin Type Support

Mobile Equipment Supports

Mobile supports are used to temporarily support equipment. They can be either hand-operated or motorized and can be moved from one location to another.

A typical example of mobile support is a suspended swing end cover blind for equipment flanges. This hook and swing arrangement welded on the flange greatly reduces the effort for manual removal and installation, thereby saving time. This implies to all temporary arrangements, even shifting material by cranes.

What are the common Support Symbols in Isometric Drawings?

The below represent common symbols for supports in construction drawings

Resting Support
Anchor Support
Guide Support
Line Stop Support
Spring Support
Spring Base Mounted Support
Hold Down Support
Rest and Guide-support
Trunion Support
Vertical Guide Support
Dummy Leg Support
Dummy Leg Guide and Stop

Wrapping Up

An efficient oil and gas pipe and equipment plant are increasingly using the piping and equipment supports. There is a risk of stress failure and equipment damage if a support system is not in place.

Each design needs a specific type of equipment and piping support system according to process and operating conditions.

Hope you found this article on common supports informative. Do let me have your feedback.