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General Use VS Custom Vessel: When It's Time to Consider a Custom ASME Pressure Vessel

Emerging life sciences, and health and wellness product manufacturers must carefully plan budget and start-up costs to launch their products. Many of these entrepreneurs begin production with a general use vessel.

A stainless general use vessel has a lower entry price. Depending on the process and the demand for the product, general-use vessels may serve a small manufacturer very well for many years. Dispensing and storage vessels, vacuum and low-pressure vessels are common examples of general use applications.

However, when demand outpaces production, the manufacturer may require a vessel that is customized for the processing needs. Here is a case story of a manufacturer that switched from a general use to a custom ASME pressure vessel:

BEFORE: A fast-growing botanical extraction processor was unable to produce the quantity of product needed to fulfill demand. Their process involved an imported general use vessel that was placed in a rudimentary ice bath for temperature control. This process resulted in waste of non-consistent product and constant staffing and manual intervention to monitor and adjust.

AFTER: Apache's small vessel team provided an ASME processing vessel that completely replaced their batch process. The new vessel was designed with a thermal heat jacket that heated and cooled the product to the exact temperature required for the extraction process. The ASME vessel was jacketed with tri-clamp ferrules and included a site glass and high-pressure sanitary fittings. The vessel has a pickle passivated finish that provides ease of sanitation between batches.

While the price point for a custom manufactured vessel was higher than a general use tank, the ability to quadruple production off-set the cost of the vessel and resulted in a quick return on investment. Apache's custom vessel runs continuously day and night; it eliminated product waste and removed employee monitoring and intervention.

Visit standard vessels or visit custom ASME vessels, for more information!


What is the Significance of Domestic and Foreign Stainless Steel for Original Commercial Equipment?

The steel material used in manufacturing commercial original equipment must fit the performance, pricing, delivery time, and quality requirements for the end-user. Industrial equipment suppliers, like Apache, must leverage relationships with mills and partnering suppliers to manage the constantly changing market. Part of the purchasing program for the stainless material program at Apache, focuses on partnering with quality domestic and foreign suppliers. 

Stainless sheet and plate are produced in the United States, which is the majority of Apache’s base material for tanks, vessels and food processing equipment. Also, most Hastelloy and other high-alloy performance metal materials are made in the US. Pipes and fittings on the other hand are primarily from foreign suppliers since domestically there is not enough availability for demand. 

Depending on the political climate, import tariffs affect the cost and availability of steel material from China and other countries. Some industries require products from foreign markets that may be a specific sheet, size, and material type, but those industries will pay a premium for it and may be subjected to extended delivery times. 

One of the benefits to being a significant user of stainless steel is the relationships with stainless producers and distributors. Apache’s steel venders allocate an allotment of material to Apache, which affords relatively short transactions for supply. When we have a line on repetitive need, we initiate inventory strategies to keep our supply as fluid as possible. Many other components and materials are affected by timing and supply; Apache understands lead times and availability and also leverages relationships to manage delivery to provide the best timing possible. 

Our suppliers understand our needs and hold a higher level of steel quality. The relationship and partnership with our steel vendors has strengthened our expectations, with some partnerships lasting up to 45 years when Apache was founded. 

Apache uses more than 2000 tons of stainless and high alloy per year. We are in the business of heavy gauge commercial manufacturing of custom equipment for high-compliance industries. Our ability to manage domestic and foreign material as well as price, timing and quality of all material and components is resolved for serving over 100 industries represented by our industrial and commercial processing customers.


What is the Difference Between an ASME U and a UM Stamp?

There are many industry specific certifications in vessel manufacturing that regulate the construction of a vessel. However, for many types of pressure vessels, ASME certification is required and may be in addition to other industry requirements due to the vessel's geometry and pressure designation. Any tank that meets the requirements of ASME Code Section VIII can be certified. This certification is frequently referred to as "stamped" because the code symbol is most commonly applied using a stamp process. Here are the main differences between ASME U and ASME UM symbols and certification.

ASME Certification with U Symbol

  • Any vessel meeting the requirement of ASME Section VIII can be marked with the U Symbol.
  • Most local and state laws require vessel designs 15 PSI and higher to be ASME Code Certified.
  • Qualified manufacturers receive a triennial joint review (audit) by their authorized inspection agency, and the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel inspectors.
  • U vessels require an Authorized Inspector (3rd party ASME inspector) to review with approved calculations.
  • U vessels require an ASME pressure test with the Authorized Inspector residing over the test.
 

ASME UM Symbol

  • UM vessels are smaller in volume (less than 5 cubic feet)
  • UM qualified manufacturers receive an annual ASME review by their authorized inspection agency and are also subject to the same triennial joint review (audit) as mentioned above.
  • UM vessels have size specifications, including:
    •   5 cubic feet of volume or small with pressures not exceeding 250 PSI
    •   3 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 350 PSI
    •   1.5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 600 PSI
  • UM Vessels are inspected and tested by a manufacturer's own certified individuals.
 

Note that there may be exceptions to the ASME Certification requirements, depending on your state and local municipality.

Apache manufactures tanks and vessels for compliance and regulated industries, including pharmaceutical, food and beverage, petrochemical, biofuels, chemical and life science. We hold these certifications: ASME U Certificate, ASME UM Certificate, National Board of Boiler & Pressure Inspectors R Certificate, and National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Authorization to Register Certificate.

Questions? Please call and ask for a Sales / ASME Specialist at 920-356-9900.

 


5 Things to Consider Before Ordering a Tank

Apache is a custom manufacturer of tanks and vessels. Due to our customized offering, we want to provide the exact vessel you need; and that might lead to many questions and back and forth responses.  If you don't have a specification list, here are 5 recommendations for you to determine when ordering a tank.

1. Determine pressures and temperatures.  The design criteria, pressures and temperature requirements will impact material grades, thicknesses, compatibility of fittings and components, and elastomer selection.  The following items may help to determine pressures and temperatures.

  • Minimum temperature
  • Maximum allowable temperature
  • Maximum allowable pressure
  • Hydrostatic test pressure
  • Design Vacuum
  • Corrosion Allowance
     

2. Determine type of certification required.  It is advantageous to  identify the types of certification and documentation (turn-over packets) that will be required for planning purposes.  The following are common requested certificates.

 

  • As-built drawings
  • ASME data report
  • Weld traveler (Tracks material identification numbers and welders)
  • Material certificates or material test reports (MTR's, Material Test Reports to certify the chemistry of the materials)
  • Weld procedure (WPS)
  • Weld procedure qualification (PQR)
  • Weld map
  • Electropolish certificate (ASTM B912)
  • Pickle passivation cert (ASTM A380)
  • Surface finish certificates
  • Hydrostatic test certificates
  • Drainability certification
  • Sprayball test certificate
  • Tank checklist
  • Radiography certificates
  • Copy of name plate
     
3. Provide Dimensions:  In addition to the diameter and size requirements of the vessel, we also want to discover portable height and production floor restrictions.
 
4. List Finishes:  Determine the compliance requirement for finishing both inside and outside of the vessel.
 
5. Indicate use of vessel:  Even a general knowledge of the use of the vessel will help to determine design and compliance criteria.
 
Questions? Contact a Small Vessel Sales Tech at 920-356-9900

 


Blue Zones: The Year in Review

Apache is celebrating one year as a Blue Zones approved worksite. Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to support longer, better lives through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County in part through sponsorship by  the Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in Wisconsin.

As a Blue Zones Worksite, Apache has met the official qualifications, including offering benefits and programs that provide employees with a safe and ergonomic work environment, purposeful volunteering and community engagement, support of family, social events, healthy choices, financial well-being and overall mental and health balance.

Some of the past year's activities were a monthly walk-bike-ride share promotion and drawing, quarterly volunteer incentives, organized social activities, sports related and healthy choice prizes at employee events, numerous health and wellness incentives and presentations.

During this unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic, we are focusing on the overall health and safety of our employee-owners with specific guidelines and schedule adjustments for social distancing, continuous information, resources and flexibility to stay safe.


Small Vessel Scale-Up Solution Quadruples Production

Emerging market start-ups can have production challenges when their business takes off at a faster rate than planned. Here's a problem that Apache helped to solve.

Problem: A fast-growing botanical extraction processor was unable to produce the quantity of product needed to fulfill demand. Their process involved an imported vessel that was placed in a rudimentary ice bath for temperature control. This process resulted in waste of non-consistent product and constant staffing and manual intervention to monitor and adjust.

Solution: Apache's small vessel team provided an ASME processing vessel that completely replaced their batch process. The new vessel was designed with a thermal heat jacket that heated and cooled the product to the exact temperature required for the extraction process. The ASME vessel was jacketed with tri-clamp ferrules and included a site glass and high-pressure sanitary fittings. The vessel has a pickle passivated finish that provides ease of sanitation between batches. 

Apache's vessel runs continuously day and night; it quadrupled production, eliminated product waste and removed employee monitoring and intervention.

Learn more about Small Vessels


A Comprehensive Read on Heat Transfer Surfaces

To help inform our tank and vessel customers about jacketed vessels and heat exchange surfaces, Apache shares this e-book that in-house specialists produced, "Abstract and Attributes of ASME Vessel Heat Transfer Surfaces".

Jacketed vessels are used in many industries and can remove the elevated heat of reaction (heat reactor vessel) or reduce the viscosity of high viscous fluids. There are basically three types of external jacketed heat transfer surfaces: conventional jacket, half pipe jacket and dimple jacket, which are welded to the outside of the vessel. Internal coils can also be used as a stand alone option or in combination with other types of external jackets.

Complimentary Download


Lean Initiatives Promote Customer Loyalty

 

Every year, Apache turns approximately two million pounds of stainless and high alloy steel into large tanks, small vessels, cookers, mixers, conveyors, augers, grinders and more – and everything is custom built to precise customer specifications or provided as a proprietary solution.  Due to the nature of our custom business, Apache has a well-established continuous improvement initiative to reduce waste and control costs to drive three main goals: Eliminate Workplace Risk, Create an All-In Continuous Improvement Culture and Total Customer Satisfaction.

Eliminate Workplace Risk: Apache looks to eliminate not only big, compliance-type risks, but also small risks to employees in the workplace.  Even an ergonomic improvement that is seemingly incremental, but if eliminated throughout all manufacturing staff, will greatly increase engagement and morale as well as increase efficiency and productivity.

All-in Continuous Improvement Culture:  Apache promotes an established process through strategy teams, welding step programs, mentor and supervisor training, and tactical teams.  Communications are shared through CI TV employee videos, shop monitors, operations meetings and other internal marketing.

Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: Apache’s brand is our quality, cost, timing and service.  In reducing all types of waste, controlling costs, using resources efficiently, minimizing material handling and improving operational and educational communications, Apache will be providing the best product and service possible to the market.   

"Ultimately" does not exist with this initiative, it is a thought process of continuous improvement for the purpose to achieve and sustain operational excellence to improve the customer experience, the workplace and the lives of Apache’s employee-owners.



Compare Quality and Price with Apache Standard Vessels

Apache offers a line of standard stock pressure vessels ranging from one to 37.4 gallon capacity.

Our stock tanks feature large mouth oval opening, molded rubber bases on our 9-inch (model 90) tanks and pickle passivated finishes. In addition to our stock tank offering, we also offer options such as small mouth closures, stainless steel skirts, cart kits, dip tube variations and configurable nozzle types and optional electropolish finish.

All product contact surfaces are either 304 or 316 stainless steel.

The stock vessels are built in accordance with ASME Code specifications. As an option, we can manufacture model 99 tanks which can be certified per DOT and UN (Dept. of Transportation/United Nation) designations.

Apache's standard line of stock vessels can ship within 2 business days.

More Info

Price List


COVID-19 Announcement
COVID-19 Announcement

3.20.2020

Our company and our employees have a special responsibility right now, to help our customers who are the nation’s food, beverage, pharmaceutical and energy producers through this crisis. We will support our customers in any way possible. Even as state and federal policies tighten, we continue to adapt and innovate to support our customers who have a vital supply role.

At Apache Stainless, our people and our customers’ health and safety are our number one priority. We are taking extensive measures to make sure that our employees stay safe while still meeting the needs of our customers amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

  • We have ceased all non-essential travel
  • We are maintaining service and transportation support as current preventative regulations allow

Currently, we do not have any major disruptions in our supply chain and are monitoring it closely. Most lead times should not be significantly affected, and we are maintaining business as usual. If there is anything that we can do to help your operations stay running smoothly, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For Hope, Health and Safety,

The Apache Stainless Leadership Team

 Announcement Document


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