Top 5 Software Solutions for Pipe Stress Analysis & How to Pick the Right One

Engineering Geek
5 min readAug 19, 2021

Piping stress analysis forms a crucial component of engineering projects in most industries including Oil & Gas, Power, Refineries, Petrochemicals, Chemicals, Pulp & Paper, and the Process industry. Today, almost all piping design work is done using advanced software packages. They not only enhance visibility but also help with accurate analysis, clash checking, and creation of piping isometric and other drawings in a shorter time.

Using advanced piping software packages, the time and cost of conducting stress analysis of piping systems have been greatly reduced. Engineers and piping designers can now create complex plans while ensuring compliance with all applicable codes and standards quickly and accurately. In this article, we will cover the 5 most popular software packages that are widely used across industries:

  1. CAESAR II: From Hexagon PPM is the most preferred 3D tool and enjoys the largest share in the software market when it comes to stress analysis of piping systems. Caesar II is used for understanding & evaluating working models of piping systems using the beam element method.

The software works on a color-coding system where the output report highlights problem areas in the piping system. Caesar is user-friendly, seamlessly integrates with the Hexagon 3D model, and has a massive database comprising more than 35 local and international codes. This makes it much easier for the end-user to analyze a piping model.

Key Features & Benefits

  • A large database with an exhaustive repository of standard models facilitates faster modeling
  • The graphics are also highly optimized to ensure seamless work even with bigger models
  • It has an advanced reporting system for fast and accurate stress analysis
  • The use of recommended load cases features enables you to import all the cases in a single click
  • Easy access to ASME B31J for advanced analysis and finite element analysis tool for conducting all FEA related checks
  • Robust interfacing with popular CAD-based software solutions

2. AutoPIPE: A popular piping stress analysis package in the EPC sector. Developed by Bentley Systems, this software is fully equipped for analyzing pipe stress in power and process plants as well as nuclear units. It is fast, cost-effective, has both static & dynamic analysis capabilities, and delivers results that comply with code requirements.

It boosts productivity and enhances quality with advanced piping stress features such as fluid transients and wave loading. AutoPIPE can be easily integrated with all of the Bentley solutions and 3rd party apps including AutoPLANT, Autodesk Plant 3D, Smart Plant, PDS, and Aveva E3D.

Key Features & Benefits

  • A unique GUI (graphical user interface)
  • Quality assurance in compliance with ASME NQA-1, 10CFR Part 21 & 10CFR Part 50 Appendix B
  • Advanced features for analysis including the latest stress intensification factors, ASME B31J regulations, and fluid transient analysis.
  • Includes all applicable local and international codes in the package

3. Start-Prof: A comprehensive solution for stress analysis of piping systems with relevant sizing calculations complying with all applicable national & international codes. This intelligent solution enables you to transform a piping model into a 3D model and run the analysis with just one click. It is readily used in chemical, process, power, and oil and gas industries. Start-prof can also import a piping model for analysis from Bentley AutoPIPE, CADWorx, AutoPLANT, SmartPlant 3D, AVEVA E3D, etc.

Key Features & Benefits

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Freedom to use piping segments individually for modeling
  • Capability to check the flexibility of equipment nozzles
  • Considers the specific behavior of pipes with a long radius in the stress analysis
  • Can analyze output results using 3D interactive behaviors

4. Rohr2 by Sigma: Developed by SIGMA, Rohr2 is mainly designed for the construction, component, and structural analysis of complex steel structures and piping systems. It covers all European and international codes for piping stress analysis. Rohr2win is the pre and post-processor of all the inputs from Rohr2. With a wide range of control functions, it can be integrated with 3rd party apps and allows the user to check the input data easily.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Can accomplish both static & dynamic analysis
  • Provides transfer data with all major CAE & CAD systems
  • Integrates alternative modules for junction stress checks, detailed FEA analysis of branch connections, flange check assessment, and trunnions
  • Comes with an exhaustive database of all European and international codes and standards

5. Caepipe: Developed by SST systems, this software is mostly used in the USA & Europe. It can perform static, dynamic, linear as well as non-linear piping stress calculations at an amazing speed. Caepipe is cost-effective, efficient, and integrates best-in-class capabilities. From power, water, and paper to nuclear, chemical, and building services, this software is successfully used across industries.

Key Features & Benefits

  • Integrates advanced Microsoft for efficient use
  • Comes with the latest and the most advanced analysis features
  • Allows you to open multiple windows simultaneously for easy textual & visual detailing of the piping system
  • System updates in one window trigger updates in all the windows for a real-time, dynamic effect

Choosing the Right Software for Stress Analysis of Piping Systems

If you want to select the best piping stress analysis software package, you need to consider various factors like:

  1. Cost: This is the most important criterion for selecting a software solution. All the software packages available on the market cost half of the Caesar II. This is a big reason why feature-rich & cost-effective options like AutoPIPE & Start-Prof are gaining popularity and preference over CAESAR II.
  2. Engineering Support: All the pipe stress analysis software solutions mentioned above come with reliable engineering support and training. However, when it comes to local software support and training, Caesar II wins due to its ease of learning. But, gradually, other pipe stress analysis software solutions are also gaining preference in prominent engineering design consultancies.
  3. Licensing Fee: The slowdown in the Oil & Gas industry has led to an increase in the cost of pipe stress analysis software. The best way to reduce this cost is by opting for a solution that comes with a licensing cost where you are charged only when you use the software. Bentley AutoPipe has a similar concept and so, it is highly beneficial.

As all software solutions are compatible with each other, engineering companies can purchase different licenses. For instance, if a project needs 3 AutoPIPE licenses, you can easily buy one CAESAR II, one AutoPIPE & one Start-Prof and save big on the expenses of 3 costly licenses of the same package. Your piping engineers can then analyze and model the piping systems in different software packages and run the final reports in any one format.

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