Pipe routing design (PRD) has a significant impact on the safety and operational efficiency of the system. PRD is involved in multi-disciplinary knowledge such as mechanical engineering, computer graphics and mathematical geometry, and it can be abstracted as a complex combined optimization problem. A* algorithm is one of the most commonly employed approaches to solve two-dimensional (2-D) path planning. However, due to the central idea of A* algorithm is all-traversal search, the search process considers all possibilities and requires a blind search one by one, it is difficult to solve PRD problems in complex three-dimensional (3-D) space environment. In this study, an improved multi-search strategy A* algorithm (MSSA*) is presented to overcome the disadvantages of the traditional A* algorithm in solving 3-D PRD problems. The MSSA* algorithm contains four novel mechanisms which are the node directional discrimination rule, the double-layer domain extension search strategy, the multi-factor heuristic evaluation function, and the dynamic adaptive weighting strategy. Then, a range of experiments are conducted to prove the validity of the presented mechanisms. Subsequently, the MSSA* is compared with several existing algorithms for solving 3-D PRD to further verify the superiority of MSSA* in terms of high-efficiency and practicality. Finally, the MSSA* is applied to solve the 3-D PRD problems for offshore production platforms in oil and gas treatment system.
- A* algorithm
- Offshore production platforms
- Path planning
- Pipe routing design