About two decades ago, in India, the Audit procedure for piping systems for Refineries, Petrochemicals and Fertilizer Plants, in magnitude, depth and complexities were not fully evolved. Only in the recent past, we were exposed in detail to this field. Now we are self-sufficient in the field of piping technology.
Piping systems in any plant are comparable to the fluids, vapors, slurries, solids, etc., flow under various conditions, as imposed by the process design of the plant. Piping network is subjected to almost all the severest conditions of the plant such as high temperature, pressure, flow and combination of these. In addition to the above, corrosion, erosion, toxic conditions and radioactivity add to more problems and difficulties in piping. With the process conditions becoming more and more severe by the advancement in process development, a continuous effort is required to be carried on simultaneously to cope with the demands of process. This makes the job of piping engineer more complex and responsible. In addition to that, now a days it becomes mandatory to audit such processes.
Piping, because of its nature, requires a number of day to day decisions on matters of detail, which, in some ways are often more difficult to solve than major issues connected with the project. All too often in the past, piping has been regarded as an unimportant job in the overall project engineering instead of being treated as a function requiring as wide a knowledge, experience and variety skills as any other branch of engineering.
In almost all industries, the installed capital cost of piping is a major factor in plant investment. It exceeds the next largest component by a factor of two. It is also observed that piping exceeds all other field costs by a substantial amount. It indicates that engineering skills utilizes approximately 45% of engineering man-hours and 50% of these are used in piping.
In addition to the above, the lost time in piping has an effect, which goes well beyond its direct cost, as it involves financial loss in some proportion to the total plant investment. The delay caused losses in plant earning capacity.
In the recent years, the trend is to develop better techniques so as to save time in piping activities. E-Technologies are being used extensively to obtain rapid solutions to more complex problems of plant and in so far as piping is concerned, to the solving of problems of pipe stressing. More recently, to optimize the production in the plant, the piping technology plays important role, which further responsible in understanding & application of continually growing techniques of this nature.