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Best Practice

SABP-L-005

5 September 2009

Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment


Document Responsibility: Consulting Services Department

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents
1
2
3
4
5
6

Scope................................................................... 2
Conflicts and Deviations...................................... 2
References........................................................... 2
Piping Vibration Introduction................................ 3
Piping Vibration Identification & Measurements.. 4
Piping Vibration Assessment............................... 6

Appendix-I - Vibration Severity Charts...................... 7


Appendix-II - Walk-Through Check List (Table-3)..... 8
Appendix-III - Measurement Guidelines.................... 9
Appendix-IV - Vibration Measurements Example.... 10
Acknowledgment..................................................... 13

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD


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For additional information, contact: Saad H. Al-Dossary on 876-0132 or Mishal I. Al-Zughaibi on 876-0173
CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2009. All rights reserved.

Document Responsibility: Consulting Services Department


Issue Date: 5 September 2009
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Scope
1.1

The scope of this best practice is to establish an effective vibration measurement


and assessment procedure for piping systems. This document provides guidance
for identifying the measurement locations, recording important piping system
information, providing setup details for the vibration instrument and
implementing effective assessment of the vibration severity.

1.2

In addition, this best practice will provide basic awareness of the most common
vibration excitation sources and response mechanisms. This best practice is
intended to be used by field engineers and vibration technicians.

Conflicts and Deviations


2.1

Conflicts with Mandatory Standards


In the event of a conflict between this Best Practice and other Mandatory Saudi
Aramco Engineering Requirement, the Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering
Requirement shall govern.

2.2

Disclaimer
This Best Practice is being provided for the general guidance and benefit of
Saudi Aramco engineers and operating facilities. The information or material
contained here will not release the users from the responsibility of safeguarding
and controlling their operations within Saudi Aramco established guidelines
such as GIs and engineering standards.

References
This Best Practice is based on the latest edition of the references below, unless
otherwise noted.
1)

Energy Institute. Guidelines for the Avoidance of Vibration Induced Fatigue


Failure in Process Pipework 2nd Edition, 2008

2)

SAER-5659: Guidelines for Setting Acceptable, Alarm and Shutdown Vibration


Limits

3)

SAES-L-310 Design of Plant Piping

4)

MEX-621 Piping Systems Vibration Course

5)

Wachel, J. & Smith, D. Vibration Troubleshooting of Existing Piping Systems.


Engineering Dynamics Incorporated, 1991

6)

Wachel, J. & Morton, S. & Atkins, K. Piping Vibration Analysis. Engineering


Dynamics Incorporated, 1990
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7)

SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

ASME OM3 Requirements for Preoperational and Initial Start-Up Vibration


Testing of Nuclear Power Plant Piping Systems

Piping Vibration Introduction


4.1

Piping Vibration Types


Understanding piping vibration types is fundamental in order to have better
approach for conducting reliable vibration measurements, accurate assessment
and consequently effective solutions. Vibration in a piping system can be
classified based on vibration frequencies and overall levels. Excitation
frequency can be either discrete (single) or broad-band (multiple). Discrete
frequencies appear in the vibration spectrum as single components, e.g., vane
pass frequency emanating from pumps. Broad band vibration appears over a
range of frequencies, e.g., pump cavitation. The following chart shows the
interaction between vibration types:

Figure 1 Types of Piping Vibration


4.2

Piping Vibration Sources


Piping system can be excited by many sources, most common sources are:

Mechanical Excitation: for example; due to machinery unbalance.

Pulsation Forces: for example; caused by reciprocating compressors and


pumps, centrifugal compressors and pumps, rotating stall, vortex shedding,
and vane pass frequency.
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4.2

SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Gas Flow Excitation: for example; due to flow through control valves or
orifices.

Liquid or 2-phase Flow Excitation: for example; due to cavitation,


flashing or hammering.

Piping Vibration Consequences


Vibration in piping systems causes dynamic stresses, and when stress level is
critical, fatigue crack initiation and/or propagation can occur. Fatigue cracking
can lead to through thickness fracture and maybe rupture. In addition, piping
vibration can result in fretting, which occurs when two surfaces in contact are
being worn due to a cyclic relative motion.

Piping Vibration Identification & Measurements


When a piping vibration problem has been observed, the assigned engineer should
conduct a site walk-through, and then the vibration group should take vibration
measurements to evaluate the vibration severity.
5.1

Conduct Walk-Through to Identify and Document Problem Areas


Before conducting vibration measurements, it is important to walk-through the
piping system that is suspected of having high vibration, it is recommended to
walk down each vibrating pipe from the downstream equipment to the upstream
equipment. During the walk through it is important to look for potential
cause(s) of vibration like control valve, rotating equipments, orifice etc.
Also, during the walk-thought, it is important to record information on general
observations that can help in identifying the source of the problem, e.g.,
identifying the high vibration locations.
A comprehensive checklist can be found in Appendix II which should be
completed during the walk-through.

5.2

Measurement Guidelines
The following are general measurement guidelines:
o Select suitable measurements locations and operating condition
o Document the measurement locations on a piping Isometric drawing or a
sketch.
o Ensure the proper application of vibration transducer.
Detailed measurement guidelines are outlined in Appendix-III.

Page 4 of 13

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

For your reference, a comprehensive piping vibration example is available in


Appendix-IV for clarification.
5.3

Vibration Instrument Setup Procedure


Vibration can be defined in terms of displacement, velocity and acceleration.
Displacement and velocity are commonly used for piping vibration assessment.
The amplitude of these parameters is frequency dependent. The following table
shows the type of measurement required for the assessment based on vibration
frequency:
Table 1 Measurement Types
Frequency Range

Discrete

Broad Band

Low Frequency (< 300 Hz)

Displacement and Velocity

Velocity

Medium / High Frequency

Velocity

Velocity

A basic piping system vibration survey will require a (Fast Fourier Transform)
FFT vibration analyzer with suitable accelerometer / velometer.
In all cases three sets of measurements are required:
1.

Velocity-low frequency range.

2.

Velocity-high frequency range.

3.

Displacement-low frequency range.

Note:

In exceptional cases where impulse or shock type vibration is observed, in


order to capture maximum vibration amplitude, velocity time waveform should
also be recorded. The following table shows the instrument setup for the three
sets of measurements:

Table 2 Instrumentation Setup


Measurement
Parameter
Frequency Range

Velocity
(Low Frequency)

Required Setting
Velocity
Displacement
(High Frequency)
(Integrated)

0-500 Hz

0-2000 Hz

0-300 Hz

Low Cutoff Frequency

1 Hz

5 Hz

1 Hz

Number of Lines

800

1600

800

Hanning

Hanning

Hanning

10

10

10

Linear

Linear

Linear

Inch/sec RMS

Inch/sec RMS

Mils Pk-Pk

Window Type
Number of Averages
Scale Type
Measurement Unit

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Piping Vibration Assessment


o Compare overall velocity measurements with allowable vibration levels stated in
Section 5 of SAER-5659.
o For discrete frequencies below 300 Hz:
1.

Plot the velocity values in the severity chart shown in Figure 2 of Appendix I.

2.

Convert to displacement using the relationship below and plot the displacement
values in the severity chart shown in Figure 3 of Appendix I.

If any of the above vibration levels is above the acceptance criteria, or the frequency is
higher than 300 Hz, CSD should be consulted. In such instances, the following
information should be prepared:
a.

Piping safety instruction sheet SIS

b.

Piping Isometric drawing or a sketch showing all measurements

c.

All supports types and locations

d.

The completed walk-through check list (Appendix-II)

e.

Summary table of the vibration points along with main frequencies and amplitude
levels in velocity and displacement

f.

Plots showing discrete-frequency amplitudes on the severity charts. (Appendix-I)

g.

Frequency spectrum plots for the high vibration locations

h.

If available, provide the piping stress analysis electronic records.

5 September 2009

Revision Summary
New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Appendix-I Vibration Severity Charts

Figure 2 Displacement Severity Chart

Figure 3 Velocity Severity Chart

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

General Info &


History

Appendix-II Walk-Through Check List (Table-3)

Line Number: ___________________________________ Design Pressure: _________ Design Temperature: _______


Line Function(from, to): ___________________________________________
When was the piping vibration first observed?

Service: __________________________

When was the piping system constructed?

Was there any operational change lately? Specify

Vibration Type

Observation Description

Yes

No

Comments

Can the vibration be seen?


Is the vibration steady or intermittent?
Is there any noise associated with the vibration?
Does the vibration increase at certain operation conditions?

Valves

Rotating Eq.

Design

Is there any sign of weeping/leaking on piping branch connections?


Is there another identical piping layout in the same plant? If Yes, is it vibrating
also?
Was there any piping/equipment modification on this system lately? Specify
Is the piping system in compliance with SAES-L-310 section 20 Vibration
consideration
Is there a rotating equipment near the vibrating system, if yes, then identify the
following:
1. Rotating equipment type ( centrifugal pump, reciprocating pump,
centrifugal compressor, reciprocating compressor, steam turbine etc)
2. The running condition ( pressure, temperature &flow)
3. The vibration levels on the rotating equipment
Is the vibration near a control valve? If yes, then monitor the valves control
behavior (throttling), and see if the vibration is associated with it.
If there is a check valve in the system, check the following:
1. Is the valve creating slamming noise? If Yes,
2. Is the slamming associated with the piping vibration?
Is there any flimsy support?

Supports

Check supports anchor bolts, stud bolts, U bolts conditions, is there any loose
bolt or sheared bolt?
Check support contact; is every support in full contact?
Is there sliding or rubbing signs on the pipe support? If yes then record the
movement direction
Is there a spring support/hanger in the system, if yes, then inspect its condition,
and check the below:
1. Is the load indicator on the working range?
2. Is the travel stop (lock) removed?

Page 8 of 13

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Appendix-III Measurement Guidelines


The following are detailed measurements guidelines:
o Vibration measurement should be performed at the most severe vibration condition which
may require measurement at multiple operation conditions.
o For main line, take vibration measurements at those locations perceived to have the highest
vibration amplitude, e.g., mid span, near valves, elbows, change in diameters, expansions
and orifices.
o For small bore connections, measurements should be performed at the end flange of the
cantilever arrangement.
o Utilize the piping isometric drawing and mark and label the measurements locations.
o Take data in the vertical and horizontal directions at each measurement location. Where
necessary, also take measurement in a direction along the pipe axis (axial), e.g., at an
elbow.
o Ensure that the pipe surface temperature does not exceed the transducer allowable
temperature range.
o It is critical to ensure that the transducer is firmly secured to the piping. Use a magnet
where possible, or if necessary use a glue to obtain a secure mounting. Hand-held
transducers should never be used for this type of measurement.
o For small bore piping, you may need to use a smaller size transducer (less than 50% of the
pipe mass).

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Appendix-IV Vibration Measurements Example


List of Tables and Figures
o Figure 4: Example of identifying the vibration measurement locations on an isometric
drawing.
o Table 4: Method of summarizing the data in tabular format.
o Figure 5: A sample of velocity and displacement spectrum of a single point. As shown,
the dominant frequency is 4.0 Hz.
o Figure 6: Displacement severity Chart indicating displacement magnitude at 4.0 Hz.
o Figure 7: Velocity severity chart indicating velocity magnitudes at 4.0 Hz.

Figure 4 Measurement Location Identification and Directions

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Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Appendix-IV Vibration Measurements Example (continued)

Table 4 Measurement Summary Table


Velocity (in/sec RMS)

Displacement (Mils Pk-Pk)

Overall

Freq = 4.00 Hz

Overall

Freq

= 4.00 Hz

Point-1

0.78

0.66

75

61.71

Point-2

0.25

0.18

18

12.53

Point-3

0.20

0.14

20

15.43

Figure 5 Vibration Spectrum

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Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Appendix-IV Vibration Measurements Example (Continued)

Figure 6 Displacement Severity Chart

Figure 7 Velocity Severity Chart

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SABP-L-005
Piping Vibration Measurements and Assessment

Acknowledgment
CSD acknowledges the following engineers for their support and active participation in
producing this best practice:
1)

Hussain S. Al-Nassir

Piping Engineer (HGP)

2)

Husain M. Al-Muslim

Piping Engineer (CSD)

3)

Irvin Redmond

Vibration Specialist (CSD)

4)

Khaleel M. Al-Hussain

Vibration Consultant (CSD)

5)

Muhsen S. Al-Sannaa

Piping Consultant ( ES)

6)

Nadhir I. Al-Nasri

Piping Specialist (CSD)

7)

Khalid A. Mahmoud

Piping Engineer (JRD)

8)

Tony G. Dib

Piping Consultant (CSD)

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