Pipe racks made of Stainless Steel and their diverse usage

PUBLISHED 20 March 2017

Various applications call for pipe and tubing support made in stainless steel. The applications range from food and beverage, to chemical plants, to oil-rigs.

stiffeners in stainless steel as pipe support

Pipe racks in the food and beverage industry

This industry has to respect stringent health regulations. Cleanliness is very important, but the negative aspects are non-productive times. Thus cleaning must be performed in an accurate, but very quick way. This introduces the use of aggressive cleansers and detergents, which are calling for corrosion resisting material.
There are different kind of materials resistant to the various corrosive cleaning agents.
The material grade for the pipes, the pipe fittings, the stiffeners is chosen evaluating the best applicable properties of the material and their costs. Generally, a high corrosion resistance goes in pairs with a high alloy material, meaning a higher value and a greater investment.
Apart from the pipes for liquid conduct as well as their supports, also conveyors and cable trays for machines very often need to be in stainless steel.

Pipe racks for petrochemical and chemical plants

Pipe racks in stainless steel are very common within the petrochemical industry. Stainless steel stiffeners made of standard structural channels in 304 or 316L are a common application. They grant the advantage of being stiff structural components and corrosion resistant at the same time.

Stainless steel Pipe Rack

In these fields of application, pipe racks are generally huge assemblies. These are very often multi-level. A walkway must be present to ease access and service purposes to all installed equipment. All pipes and especially valves for which a quick and comfortable access must be granted – both during normal operation and especially during emergency conditions – shall be placed on the deck or close to access platforms. The same is valid for firewater valves.
The massive structural sections are often made with beams or channels, while the longitudinal struts are made of angle bars or hollow sections.

Pipe racks for oil-rigs

For offshore oil and gas platforms, engineers plan a lighter design for the pipe racks. This is crucial in order to save weight on the topside of the platform.
In this case, a standard corrosion resistance granted by the material grade 316L is generally sufficient. For weight saving purposes, it happens that duplex steel grades are included within the design specifications due to their high yield and the possibility to make sections lighter.
For this application, the high-end pipe rack sections are sharp-edged stainless steel angle bars and channels, both used as longitudinal struts of the rack.
They are precise and the sharp edges allow easy installing of the bolts for the pipe support.

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