PipeLay is an engineering tool for pipeline installation analysis. It combines powerful analytical capabilities with an intuitive GUI, which allows rapid data specification. Indeed the program has been designed from the ground up as a specialised engineering tool, rather than a finite element analysis package. Data is input in a form familiar to the pipeline installation engineer, and the software automates many of the tasks associated with building finite element models, running analyses (including analysing multiple models and load cases) and presenting results in a report-ready format.
Three key objectives underpinned the PipeLay development.
•To equip PipeLay with the flexibility to model arbitrary lay configurations.
To this end the program includes a powerful and intuitive 3D modelling capability; the figure below shows an example screen shot of the Model component.
PipeLay Model Component
•To equip PipeLay with the flexibility to analyse arbitrary installation sequences.
PipeLay has a comprehensive Analysis component that allows you to define any sequence of installation steps, the criterion or criteria to be satisfied for each step, and the parameter to vary or iterate on to satisfy those criteria.
•To significantly increase engineering productivity by using the program.
The program is heavily automated to reduce the manual effort required of engineers to design and optimise their installation procedures.
As noted above, the user interface is a central element of PipeLay. Particular features of the GUI are as follows:
•User friendly and intuitive.
•Built around a central Project Database, which avoids duplication and errors in the specification of structure and environmental data.
•Data input in meaningful units (metric or Imperial).
•High level of modelling flexibility, allowing you to build complex models with relative ease.
•Range of stinger configurations, incorporating S-lay and J-lay configurations, as well as rigid and articulated options.
•Automatic finite element mesh generation.
•Automatic running of all stages of the analysis sequence, from initial static analysis, static offset and current, through to the dynamic analysis and results postprocessing.
•Automatic results presentation in report-ready format.
•A Summary Postprocessing facility, allowing you to monitor crucial parameters at various locations throughout the installation process.
•A Code Checking capability, allowing you to obtain local buckling unity checks at different regions along the pipeline.
The second major element of PipeLay is of course its analytical capabilities. PipeLay incorporates a state-of-the-art finite element analysis engine based on the Wood Group software Flexcom, incorporating over thirty years of experience of the analysis of offshore structures. Particular features of the analysis engine are as follows:
•A range of rollerbox contact modelling options, ranging from relatively simple to increasingly sophisticated and realistic.
•Automatic iteration on model configuration to satisfy pre-defined installation criteria.
•Wide range of installation criteria options available, such as tension, bending stress, stinger tip separation etc.
•Fatigue life postprocessing module, with options tailored to suit either single-staged or multiple-staged operations.