The Benefits of Fluid Flow Software: Communication and Access

Fluid flow software is critical in providing a total system view of your piping system. Last week, we talked about the benefits of fluid flow software through visualizations and calculations.

How integrating calculations and schematics into one program can save you time and money.

This week, we talk about the benefits of fluid flow software over spreadsheets in two ways:

  • Communications: Maintaining design control, and sharing results with the design team and clients.
  • Access: Providing access to electronic documents used to design, build, operate, and maintain fluid piping systems. 

Engineering Data Tables

Most of the pipeline input data used in spreadsheet analysis come from pipe, fluid, and valve tables found in engineering handbooks. These design values often have to be looked up in engineering handbooks and manually entered into the spreadsheet. This process must be repeated for each pipeline. Not only is this tedious, but it is also prone to error.

PIPE-FLO uses built-in engineering data tables and looks up the necessary pipe, fluid, and valve data used by the program. There is no limit to the number of tables PIPE-FLO supports. 

PIPE-FLO contains an extensive library of critically reviewed fluid property data. The fluid flow software ships with over 550 process chemicals and industrial fluids. PIPE-FLO has one of the most advanced fluid calculation modules on the market. With PIPE-FLO’s unlimited fluid data specs, users can calculate fluid properties using the DIPPR, Polynomial, or Yaws methods.

Pump and Valve Selection & Evaluation

One of PIPE-FLO’s greatest advantages is the ability to select and evaluate a pump in the piping system. PIPE-FLO performs the sizing calculations and determines the pump’s Total Dynamic Head and Net Positive Suction Head needed for pump selection.

Using manufacturer-supplied Electronic Pump Catalogs, PIPE-FLO selects the pumps meeting the system needs. The selected pump can then be placed into the piping system model. PIPE-FLO calculates the operation of the system based on the selected pump operating curves.

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PIPE-FLO also has the capability to add control valves to the system. When control is inserted into the system, the program calculates the control valve’s inlet pressure and differential pressure, along with the flow rate through the control. The program selects and evaluates control valves from manufacturers’ catalogs.

Spreadsheet programs do not have the ability to select pumps and control valves because of the large volume of manufacturer data that must be entered to make the necessary equipment selection.

Pipe Specifications

Most piping systems are designed using client generated pipe specifications. This capability is difficult to incorporate into a spreadsheet.

PIPE-FLO incorporates pipe specifications in its workflow, providing project management with the ability to control the choices available to a user. For example, a pipe specification sets the pipe material and schedule, valve & fitting tables, pipeline sizing rules, and design limits.

To size a pipeline using PIPE-FLO, choose a pipe specification, then enter the designed flow rate. The pipe specification fixes the pipe material and schedule, and the program selects the best available pipe diameter using the sizing rules found in the pipe specification.

Communication From the Boardroom to the Plant Floor

It is often difficult to communicate the piping system solutions and results to clients or various members of the design workgroups. Spreadsheets provide a tool to present raw data or single pipeline calculations, but it is very difficult to understand and communicate a problem or solution when it is in the form of over 5-10 pages of spreadsheet calculations.

Using PIPE-FLO you can quickly and easily share your system operations in a way that allows others to understand and accept your solutions. The program gives you a detailed flow sheet view of the system, showing the interaction of pipelines, pumps, components, and controls. In addition, PIPE-FLO provides you with a simulation tool for system network calculations and a platform to quickly troubleshoot ‘what-if’ types of analysis. PIPE-FLO:

  • Provides a visual representation of the system
  • Demonstrates the impact of multiple design alternatives and solutions
  • Allows others to understand, visualize, and accept the solution

Program Testing and Error Checking

Anytime a spreadsheet is developed internally, you must consider the cost of verifying and validating the calculated results. This can be a long and tedious operation depending on the spreadsheet design. Furthermore, whenever a change is made to the spreadsheet, this process must be repeated.

PIPE-FLO has gone through an extensive set of automated test scripts in our verification and validation process. The scripts test and exercise every feature of the program. The results are then compared against hand calculations, and any discrepancies that occur are resolved before PIPE-FLO’s release.

PIPE-FLO: All You Need To KNO


PIPE-FLO is the engineering standard for Modeling & Simulation Calculations to manage your entire fluid system lifecycle. From design to digital twin simulations, our software is proven to save time and money.
Schedule a demo with us today.

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