a. General Information about AutoPIPE

Piping Analysis Solution for Productivity, Integration, and Nuclear Quality Standards

AutoPIPE is the choice of leading EPCs worldwide. The most comprehensive piping analysis solution for 20 years in small to high-end piping projects worldwide for the power, oil and gas, petrochemical, offshore, and nuclear markets. Faster engineered piping systems backed by nuclear Quality Assurance program.

Bentley AutoPIPE is a comprehensive and integrated piping analysis and design solution including a state-of-the-art CAD-like graphical interface with unique object technology, fast analysis, realistic animation and visualization tools, and international design codes.

Bentley AutoPIPE enables users to create, modify, and review piping and structural models and their results quickly and easily while offering advanced linear and non-linear analysis capabilities under static and dynamic conditions like temperature, wind, wave, buoyancy, seismic, and transient loadings.

AutoPIPE was developed as a scalable solution to meet the needs of companies working in industries like nuclear and fossil power, process and chemical plants, offshore FPSO platform and riser design, fire protection systems, oil refineries, cross-country gas and oil pipelines, FRP piping, and building services piping. AutoPIPE now incorporates ASME, British, European, German, Japanese, Chinese, API, NEMA, ANSI, ASCE, AISC, UBC, and WRC guidelines and design limits to provide a comprehensive analysis of the entire piping system.

AutoPIPE offers unparalleled integration to all major intelligent 3D CAD systems like AutoPLANT, PlantSpace, Intergraph PDS and Aveva PDMS. Automated intelligent stress isometrics can be easily generated and customized. Anyone on the project team can now make early design decisions, view full model and graphical data, and perform automatic clash detection of both AutoPIPE and CAD models side by side with Bentley Navigator.

Featuring the only piping and structural analysis integration solution with STAAD.Pro and SACS on the market today, AutoPIPE saves weeks of design time and provides safer, more realistic engineered designs.

The workflow of AutoPIPE with other Structural products can be identified with the help of Bentley's Structural Dashboard . Structural Dashboard is an information center to learn the interoperability of Bentley's Structural products. This whole software will help Bentley's structural clients make projects and designs with in the structural paradigm easy. As the state of the art GUI of the Structural Dashboard shows the workflow between the products, with the help of animations and pointed arrows.

AutoPIPE maintains the highest software quality with its internationally recognized nuclear quality Assurance program to such standards as ASME NQA-1 & 10CFR50 app B. Plus, it has a proven track record of 17+ years of independent nuclear audits.

Please click here for a comprehensive listing of features by license type.

Who Uses

Who Uses Bentley AutoPIPE?

Firms of all types

Firms of all sizes


Increased Productivity

According to the largest EPCs in the world, their turn-around time for pipe stress work was reduced between 20-50 percentage productivity gains by switching from  competitors programs to Bentley AutoPIPE. Because 80 to 90 percent of pipe stress work is spent finding solutions, Bentley AutoPIPE has been designed with many productivity features, like graphical copy/paste, point and click for fast modification, Excel style grids, and instant feedback from graphical results. This allows AutoPIPE users to quickly iterate toward a solution and hand over final code stress reports and final piping layouts to the designer, or support loads to the structural engineer weeks in advance.

Integration for a complete workflow

Not just a single solution, Bentley AutoPIPE is instead part of a comprehensive portfolio of  CAD, CAE, and structural engineering software from Bentley. Bentley AutoPIPE integrates with CAD, STAAD, and ProjectWise to provide a complete analysis, design, and documentation workflow solution. No matter what type of project you have, Bentley has the most productive software tools available, with the highest level of interoperability available, including all major 3D CAD systems like AutoPLANT, PlantSpace, Intergraph PDS, and Aveva PDMS.

Now the only solution on the market today with tight integration between piping and structural analysis, Bentley AutoPIPE can automatically transfer pipe support loads as well as import complete structures from STAAD.Pro, saving weeks of design time and providing safer, more realistic engineered designs.

Anyone on a project team for the first time in Bentley Navigator can view a detailed piping or structural analysis model complete with all the modeling and result data alongside the "real-time" 3D CAD model in order to make early design decisions and avoid costly mistakes. Using ProjectWise collaboration servers, distributed engineering is now possible with remote teams around the world.

State-of-the art modeling and analysis

Do you have difficulty correlating your model data with your piping system? Enjoy the power of bi-directionally synchronized Excel style spreadsheets with a graphical plot. Changes in either plot or grid are updated in real time. Like Excel, you can hide columns, easily make global changes across multiple cells or columns; you can uniquely sort any column to quickly find differences in the data or create customized printouts of any grid to PDF format. 

Bentley AutoPIPE also offers graphical copy and paste functionality for quick modeling and the ability to deal with changes in a timely manner.

Bentley AutoPIPE like all other stress programs uses 1-D finite elements which use simple Beam element center-line based theory, also known as the stiffness or displacement method, to mathematically model the piping system in three dimensional space. The system is formulated into a set of linear equations, describing the system characteristics at each degree of freedom (DOF). However, AutoPIPE differs from other applications because each point (e.g., piping, soil, beam, etc.) in an AutoPIPE modeled system has six (6) degrees of freedom. The exact formulation of these equations and their solution depends on the type of loading being investigated. For Example, AutoPIPE uses a form of Hook's law to calculate displacements and reaction forces based on pipe/anchor stiffness and the applied load. 

Bentley AutoPIPE has an advanced non-linear engine developed by Prof. Emeritus (UC Berkeley) to perform load sequencing not found in other programs. It also includes built-in wave loading, industry recognized buried pipeline analysis, dynamic loadings, and orthotropic FRP/GRP piping analysis; thermal bowing of hot partially filled pipes, pipe/structure interaction, fluid transient with closure time, and relief valve utilities, non-linear support gaps and friction and jacketed piping.

Intuitive GUI modeling

AutoPIPE offers an always present graphical user interface that enables the user to dynamically input graphically for faster modeling and modifications. Our one screen CAD-like graphical environment is the most intuitive in the industry, with 3D OpenGL rendering and smart component graphics for realistic animation and visualization.

Intelligent object technology

No other pipe stress program can offer the intelligent object technology for faster modeling to build complex models in seconds or share pipe support layouts with other engineers on the project. Object technology allows the user to graphically select components or pipeline segments to apply loadings, soil, or different types of data in one easy operation without entering the data for each element one by one.

Comprehensive design codes

Now used in 55 countries for the last 20 years, Bentley AutoPIPE has maintained the latest codes and features of 29 international piping codes and standards for ASME, British, European, German, Japanese, Chinese, API, NEMA, ANSI, ASCE, AISC, UBC, and WRC. Previous codes are supported for plant retrofits and more than 20 pipe support spring manufacturers from the United States to United Kingdom, Spain, India, Japan and China.

Developed as a scalable solution to meet the needs of companies working in industries like nuclear and fossil power, process and chemical plants, offshore FPSO platform and riser design, fire protection systems, oil refineries, cross-country gas and oil pipelines, FRP piping, and building services piping.

Highest quality standards

AutoPIPE is the only pipe stress analysis software on the market that adheres to the strictest external quality standards, including 10CFR21, NQA-1 and the nuclear certification by NUPIC and NRC customers. This requirement will be mandatory in the near future.

ANSYS and AutoPIPE are the two leading approved analysis software programs by NUPIC for Nuclear Plant Utilities in the United States. And now with the integration of the leading nuclear ADLPipe solution, we will provide the most comprehensive nuclear piping solution on the market.

Every year, we are audited by NUPIC and companies like American Electric Power, Amergen, Constellation Energy, Florida Light & Power, and Westinghouse Savannah River who exhaustively review our Quality Assurance (QA) procedures. Our Bentley SELECT users have access to our online QA verification and validation test cases. We accept that there are sometimes bugs in any software program, so we spend thousands of man hours of testing to minimize the extent and severity of these bugs. This provides engineers the confidence to use our software for safe engineering designs.

Easy to learn and use

Users have commented on how easily they could learn to model and find solutions with Bentley AutoPIPE. A recent survey told us that at least 80 percent of our customers were building and analyzing piping models within two hours following the step-by-step on-screen interactive tutorials.

With over 60 step-by-step movie tutorials and PDFs tutorial covering modeling, analysis, and post processing areas of the program, even a novice computer user can become productive in a matter of days. We also include extensive online help documentation that provides examples, and modeling techniques of real piping components along with explanations of hundreds of topics. In addition, we offer a certified training program as well as on-site and in-house trainings.

Interoperability with CAESAR II and other Programs

AutoPIPE stores model information in a proprietary binary database structure. However there are multiple translators provided to convert the most popular file types (PXF, PCF, ADL, DWG, etc..) into AutoPIPE models.   

AutoPIPE can read and write CAESAR II files. Are your contractors or clients using Caesar II? Perform productive pipe stress work using Bentley AutoPIPE and exchange data with confidence. See list of programs that AutoPIPE can interact with here

Automatic stress isometrics

Generate intelligent customized stress isometrics. Create a fully dimensioned isometric for the complete model or selected range. Customize metric or english drawing sizes, viewing angles, north arrow, margins, and overflow. Choose to annotate the plot with engineers comments for the CAD designer or contractor and add support tags or reference equipment like pumps or steel work. Place customized data tables for piping, flange, and valve data or summary result tables for maximum support loads, spring hanger report for procurement and stress summary.

Comparing AutoPIPE to Your Current Pipe Stress Program:


This article will enable you to quickly verify for yourself whether or not your current piping stress analysis program may have limitations which can prevent proper calculation of basic ASME B31.1 or B31.3 piping code stresses when more than one thermal operating condition is analyzed. In a typical plant, valves are opening and closing, pumps and other equipment are running hot and cold, shutdowns may occur in the middle of a cold winter, or cryogenic applications may be required, to name a few of the possible scenarios which may occur. Given these possibilities, the piping engineer often does not know which scenario will result in the worst-case stress condition. As a result, it is often necessary to analyze more than one operating condition in order to accurately determine worst-case stresses and loads.

The ASME B31.1 and B31.3 piping codes require users to calculate stress ranges not only from ambient temperature to the various thermal operating conditions, but also the stress ranges between these operating conditions. The piping codes further state that users must consider externally imposed displacements together with thermal displacements in order to properly calculate the total displacement stress range.

When thermal conditions change, externally imposed displacements will change as well. Vessels, pumps, turbines and other equipment connected to the piping system will grow or shrink, depending on the thermal conditions. Please consider the following example of an auxiliary steam system analyzed with the AutoPIPE piping stress analysis software, (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1

The piping system has two operating conditions to be analyzed. The first one is all hot (T1), and the second condition (T2) is when the valve at node. B2 is closed, thereby resulting in a cool down of the branch line from 600°F to 120°F starting at the valve, and a change in the externally imposed displacement at anchor node B6 from 1" growth in the Y direction in the first thermal condition case (T1) to only 1/10" growth in the Y direction in the cool down condition case (T2).

Please remember that the ASME B31.1 and B31.3 piping codes require a stress range to be calculated not only from ambient to thermal condition 1 (cold to T1) and ambient to thermal condition 2 (cold to T2), the codes also require that a stress range be calculated between the two operating conditions (T1 to T2).

As you can see from the analysis results (see Figure 2), the worst case B31.3 piping code stress calculated by AutoPIPE was in stress range case T1 to T2 at branch point A7 with a 43,837 psi stress that failed piping code compliance. You can quickly input and analyze this system for yourself with another piping stress program. Results from piping stress analysis programs other than AutoPIPE will likely show that the system passed code compliance with only about 26,700 psi stress (compared to 43,837 psi!) at branch point A7, when in fact, the system was considerably over-stressed at that branch. Run the same analysis using ASME B31.1 and you will see an even larger disparity between AutoPIPE and other piping stress programs.

Why would other piping stress programs differ from AutoPIPE by such a wide margin in the calculation of B31.1 and B31.3 piping code stresses? Answer: Some programs are limited to only one (1) set of anchor displacements and one (1) set of support displacements, no matter how many thermal operating conditions must be analyzed. Since equipment grows or shrinks depending on thermal conditions, such a limitation on anchor/support displacements can have a profound impact on the calculation of piping code stresses when more than one thermal operating condition is analyzed. Other piping stress programs are incapable of calculating a stress range between multiple thermal operating conditions (some can't calculate the Tl to T2 code compliance case).

The Wrong Approach

"No problem", we often hear from users, "I'll just run two jobs, one job with the anchor displacement from thermal condition 1 and another separate job using the anchor displacement and thermal conditions of case 2". This idea sounds acceptable, although time consuming, until you consider the fact that you cannot calculate a stress range between 2 different thermal operating conditions (you can't run the Tl to T2 case) when these two conditions are run as separate jobs. Try the example for yourself. The results from most piping stress programs other than AutoPIPE will show that the system has passed code compliance when, in fact, the system failed.

Since the worst case stress in piping code compliance is quite often the stress range between different thermal operating conditions (T1 to T2, T1 to T3, T2 to T3, etc.), the ability to calculate a stress range between multiple operating conditions, while considering different external displacements in each thermal condition, can make the difference between passing or failing ' code compliance as the steam system example demonstrates.

Cryogenic applications, pumps in series with different pumps operational and idle, winter shutdowns, and safety relief systems, arc situations, which typically require the analysis of multiple thermal operating, conditions.

As a footnote, most piping stress software programs other than AutoPIPE are limited to only one earthquake load direction and/or only one wind load direction for analysis (typically, wind and earthquake loads need to be analyzed in at least 2 directions). This limitation makes it very time consuming and error prone to manually sort through output from separate job runs to determine worst case support loads, worst case equipment loads, and worst case stresses from multiple wind directions and/or multiple earthquake loads.

Figure 2

AutoPIPE Capabilities in Comparison

In one analysis, AutoPIPE will automatically perform piping code compliance, calculating stress ranges with up to three (100) sets of temperatures and pressures using different anchor and support displacements for each different thermal condition. In the same analysis, AutoPIPE will analyze support and equipment loads with consideration of multiple wind directions, multiple earthquake loads, and up to 13 dynamic occasional loads. AutoPIPE output displays the greater of earthquake stress and wind stress at each point, while summarizing all loads on each restraint and equipment nozzle with rotating equipment compliance in one analysis. If your piping stress software does not perform these functions automatically, then you can determine for yourself how many problematic piping code compliance stress calculations may have been made, and how many man-hours have been spent running separate jobs. Bentley strongly emphasizes the CAD interfaces offered by AutoPIPE for AutoPLANT, PRO-PIPE. Intergraph PDS and other plant design systems. Although AutoPIPE's commitment to CAD interfaces is a strong benefit for users, it is often overlooked that AutoPIPE provides important stand-alone capabilities not available with other piping stress programs, enabling users to more quickly and reliably analyze their piping systems.

Attention: For current specs on AutoPIPE capabilities, please see the following AutoPIPE help section:

Help > Contents> Contents Tab> Getting Started> AutoPIPE Standard vs Advanced vs Nuclear.

Evaluate AutoPIPE Before You Buy:

As you have come to understand after reading the above information, AutoPIPE is a very powerful tool. Many of our user have successfully implemented the application in engineering projects of all sizes from small modifications of exiting piping systems, skid mounted projects, offshore risers, to full size plant installations.

 If you are interested in trying AutoPIPE yourself, please contact Bentley to speak with an Account Manager in setting you up with a 15 day trial license of the application. A trial license is available to allow full-feature access for a single 15-day period. The trial license can be activated only once. If the program is opened and a valid license is not available, the program will prompt the user with a choice to either activate the trial period (if available) or continue in Demo mode. The number of days left for the trial period is shown every time the program is opened. After the trial license expires, running the program without a valid license will display the message 'Your 15 day trial license has expired or it is not set up properly. Contact your Bentley Account Manager or Bentley Licensing department for establishing / reviewing your contract for licensing the product.

To be fair during the evaluation period, some user may have many How to do…. type questions and require more hands on involvement with a trained professional. Such case it is recommended to contact Bentley’s Professional
Services who can set up a 1-4 hour training session on specific topics.     

Mouse Settings

All mouse settings are controlled by Microsoft Windows or by specialize mouse manufacture's software (ex. Logitech - Set Point). Typically assign scroll wheel button or Middle button to "Middle Button":

Case Studies

Click here for Bentley AutoPIPE case studies


Click here for Bentley AutoPIPE course information

White Paper

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See Also

Bentley AutoPIPE