Thoughts And Perspectives From The Team

Process Piping Fabrication

AUTHOR T Bailey, Inc.

PUBLISHED Dec 13, 2021

Process piping is essential for many industries: commercial, municipal, chemical, paper, textile, pharmaceutical, etc. They may be invisible on a daily basis, but these process piping systems are responsible for carrying water, chemicals, and much more.

T BAILEY, INC. is a reliable contractor for any industry project, understanding the nuances of each sector’s needs. We always aim to exceed customer expectations via innovation, and the same holds true for our process piping fabrication.

In simple terms, process piping fabrication is when plates of metal are cut, rolled, and welded into the proper shape and length to be used in a piping system.

Types of Piping Fabrication

There are three basic types of piping fabrication: penstock, casing, and piling. Although all piping, they serve very different functions. Penstock is used to transport water, usually municipal. Casing refers to vertical or horizontal shafts. Although they can be used for many purposes, vertical casing is typically filled with concrete for support structure while horizontal casing is used to protect utility lines running underground. Piling is used to increase the stability of a structure or building’s foundation.

Regardless of which piping you may require, T BAILEY, INC. can offer comprehensive service where other fabricators cannot, saving you both time and money. For example, if your penstock requires coating, we have an in-house coating facility.

Equipment Used for Pipe Fabrication

T BAILEY, INC.’s team of experts use specific tools to ensure the final product is high quality. Each step of process piping fabrication requires highly specialized equipment, including:

  • Saws
  • Rotators/Tools manipulators
  • Pipe end finishers
  • Pipe benders
  • Welding equipment
  • Beveling equipment

T BAILEY, INC.’s beveling equipment sets us apart from our competitors. We have improved our beveling process by introducing a 5-axis plasma table.  The plasma table provides control and consistency over the plates. This enables repeatability, crucial for pipe fabrication as there are many identical parts needed to complete a single project.

The plasma table is a computer numerical control (CNC) program with a very large cutting table, torch, stamper, and oxy-fuel cutting head. While previous technology was also automated, it did not have the ability to bevel and only had three axes.

A plasma table increases our efficiency and output abilities in terms of combining beveling with the previous stage. Beveling is a very important step because it affects the welding. Using the plasma table, the plate can move from the plasma table to the next stage, rolling, after excess slag is removed.

Preparation for Pipe Fabrication

Almost all of the incoming metal from the mill will be ready to use for pipe fabrication. Depending on the needs of the customer and the chemistry of the metal, some preparation may need to take place before beginning the fabrication process. However, it is usually good to go.

Piping Fabrication Procedure

The piping fabrication process starts as soon as the metal sheets arrive from the mill. Documentation also begins from the beginning and continues throughout each step of the procedure.

  1. Marking. All metal pipe pieces are marked so that they can be traced which is in accordance with code standards. Even after final construction, the heat numbers marked in the beginning can be used to find the chemistry of each piece.
  2. Cutting. Each metal plate needs to be cut to size and ensure the corners are square and in accordance with engineered drawings. Depending upon the specific need and bevel of the steel, it might be possible for T BAILEY to cut and bevel the steel in one pass making an efficient operation.
  3. Beveling. Sometimes it is necessary to bevel the steel plate separate from cutting the plate. Beveling is preparing the edges of the metal pieces for welding; it makes a complete joint penetration weld possible.
  4. Rolling. After beveling, the metal plates are rolled into shape with our plate rolls.  Depending upon the grade, diameter and width of steel,  T BAILEY can roll plates up to 4 inches thick.
  5. Welding. The rolled sections’ seams are welded together at the straight seam sub-arc station. All welds are inspected in accordance with the specified code required. This could include UT, RT, or just visual. Each can-shaped piece of piping will be joined together to create longer sections. 

    A special innovation of T BAILEY, INC. is our laser seam tracker system being developed in-house. The system photographs the weld joint and uses a laser to draw a profile of the groove. If not in the correct position, a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller moves the weld head to the proper spot. Using the laser seam tracker system will enable remote welding and a better consistent weld.

    T BAILEY, INC. also sets itself apart by utilizing tandem welding. Tandem welding increases the efficiency of the piping fabrication process, as well as helping the profile of the weld. The rounded piping pieces will be combined into the desired length.

  6. Coating. While not common for piping, some projects will require protective coatings. If coating is required, T BAILEY has a state of the art facility to apply the coating to specification.

Some projects will have special requirements, such as heat treatments. Heat treatments take place after welding, but are only necessary for certain metals. Additionally, stainless steel by nature requires a completely clean environment and tools in order to avoid cross-contamination and subsequent corrosion.

Every stage of the process pipe fabrication procedure is carefully inspected by T BAILEY, INC.’s certified quality control team.

Expert Process Piping Fabricators 一 T BAILEY, INC.

T BAILEY, INC. is always looking for innovative ways to further improve the quality of our products and services. Thanks to our ever-improving technology and expertly trained team of professionals, we guarantee timely delivery of your piping fabrication projects.

If you have any questions or would like to enquire about a project, please do not hesitate to reach out and call us today!