There are two main causes why a vessel may need service. There is a performance related issue, or there has been an accident.
In the case of an accident, such as a tool falling into the tank and causing damage; surface scratches and dents can typically be repaired on-site, provided they do not go beyond minimum requirements, with mechanical polishing or hand/wand electropolishing.
The damage might be a bent agitator, or it might be damage to a side wall or baffles. We see these kinds of things all the time and we can fix them most of the time.
Depending on the size of the vessel and type of repair, Apache’s service techs may be able to make repairs on site or in some cases, tanks are shipped back to the factory. Apache can provide services including:
It is important to note that any weld repairs to the ASME pressures zones on tanks, require an R-Stamp. The R-Stamp is a certification required by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessels for repair of an ASME tank or vessel.
Whether you have a critical repair or planned service, you need trained technicians who know how to maintain and refurbish pressure vessels. Our technicians are ASME certified with confined space training and have the tools and expertise to make repairs and provide consulting on underlying causes of problems to make recommendations for improvements.
Contact Josh Schladweiler, Field Services / Parts Manager to schedule service.
920-356-9900 Ask for Field Services/Parts
Download the Tank Group Field Services flyer
In a recent e-book, "Road Map to ASME Submission", we highlighted project engineering steps to ASME compliance for custom vessels, starting with the crucial first step of the customer consultation. The technical sales team learns information about the vessel, the industry, and the process that the vessel will serve. Answers to our inquiries will allow us to recommend design attributes that the customer or engineering firm may not know this early in the design and vessel selection process. This discovery is significant in the absence of a formal specification package.
Essential items that we like to discuss at this stage are:
Fixtures and fittings are also part of the initial vessel project consultation. When learning about the vessel's intent, we want to define what the process connection (or nozzles) are required, as well as the service for each nozzle. With this information, we can select the type of nozzle to incorporate and start to pre-plan the general layout and placement of the nozzles. For custom ASME vessels, the nozzles that we use must be compliant-driven and support the pressure/temperature rating of the vessel. Depending on the type of nozzle, we can determine pressure/temperature ratings by performing a proof test or ASME calculations.
When there is an ASME custom vessel expert on one line and a knowledgeable processor on the other line, great results happen. We recently designed a vessel for a customer that incorporated a 22" diameter manway that serves as their vessel's top head.
Using a manway as the top head allows for full access to the inside of the tank for ingredient and component addition and cleaning. This customer explained that ergonomics is critically important to their workforce, specifically when opening and closing the manway. Typically spring assist mechanisms are added to manways to help reduce the effort required to open manway covers. A spring-assist does this well, but it does not provide much dampening while closing or any protection against an operator closing the hinged cover onto their hand. Apache worked with an industry partner to incorporate a new product that uses gas-charged cylinders to reduce the lifting effort to open the manway cover, as well as providing dampening and pinch protection while closing the cover. Incorporating this device into our vessel was quickly approved and very much appreciated by our customer. The vessel's success was a result of starting with the right questions and the right time.
Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation has been ASME certified for over 40 years. In addition to ASME, Apache is also accredited in many other global standards.
Equipment customized to a specific process has its benefits to solve a particular need. With standard equipment, you may need to adjust your scope. It’s understandable that standard stock vessel solutions only solve for a few common applications. However, custom vessel solutions that solve a specific process may take significantly longer to spec out, design and manufacture than standard stock solutions.
Here are tips to help reduce lead times on custom vessel projects:
On occasion, an application may be very close to a standard vessel option. Apache has worked with customers to provide modifications to standard designs that also speed up the delivery of the order. Stock tanks include conventional styles and vacuum applications, ranging from 9” diameter to 18” diameter, and 1 gallon to 37 gallons, with pickle passivated or electropolished finishes. All of Apache’s stock tanks are built to and stamped per ASME code. It is worth considering as a faster delivery option; however not all custom solutions can be achieved by making modifications to the stock vessel designs.
As a manufacturer of custom vessels for essential industries, including pharmaceutical, life sciences, and health industries, Apache works with integrators who add their process technology to equipment and end-users who know their process and need a solution. Conversations around delivery to essential industries are top of mind.
While delivery times are impacted by supply chain, labor shortages, and material availability, Apache will drive the conversation about delivery needs and will consult whenever possible on modifications that help to manage timing for your custom vessel project.
Each province or territory in Canada issues the Canadian Registration Number (CRN) by an authorized safety authority for pressure vessels and fittings that operate at a pressure rating greater than 15 psig. The CRN identifies that the design has been accepted and is registered for use in that province or territory.
1. The first step is to determine what province or provinces the equipment will be operating in. It is important to note that each province or territory has unique application criteria for CRN. If the equipment will be used in more than one province or territory, a separate CRN application is required.
Timing is also discussed early in the project, so customers understand what is involved in the CRN application process. Upon determining the design and shipping requirements, it may take several weeks for the CRN number to be granted depending on the project complexity.
2. Next, approval drawings are developed for specific CRN parameters. Fittings, piping, and components need to be verified through detailed calculations or testing. Further, some provinces and territories require a PE (Professional Engineer) stamp. Documentation for drawings and materials is prepared in accordance with the requirements for the specific provincial CRN application.
3. Depending on the complexity of the vessel, the design verification may require changes and modifications. This involves back and forth consultation with both the customer and the reviewer of the registration.
4. If required, our Quality Assurance team schedules and performs tests to comply with the vessel's certifications and prepares the testing and certification documents.
5. Finally, the CRN number is issued, and equipment only then can be shipped and placed in service.
Custom vessel manufacturing for industries and pressure vessel factions requiring compliance is what we do. There is a process for customer service and project engineering that we follow to get the correct solution with the defined compliance. Apache sales techs and engineers work with customers to explain this process and provide options when necessary to manage your custom vessel project.
Experience and reputation are significant when developing relationships with inspectors, agencies, and governing officials to keep the CRN registration process moving forward. Having exported to Canada for over 40 years, Apache’s small vessel and large tank team have extensive experience with Canadian regulatory requirements and documentation.
DESIGN TO COMPLIANCE
Designing custom vessels to compliance, such as ASME or CRN, is a highly engineered approach. Certainly, manufacturers of the custom vessel must have required accreditation, but the engineering expertise goes beyond certification. The pressure vessel manufacturer must have experience and a reputation with inspectors, agencies, and governing officials to manage the compliance process smoothly and efficiently.
The process is complex, and we must educate customers about the important steps, all of which affect the project's outcome. The process includes consultation, project engineering, manufacturing, and compliance.
When discussing the intent of the vessel with the Customer or Engineering Firm, the sales team works to learn more about the industry and process that the vessel will serve. This will often help us make recommendations on design attributes that the customer may not know this early in the design and vessel selection process. This is especially important in the absence of a formal specification package.
A scope alignment meeting occurs to discuss the proposal and services. This meeting may include revisions, due dates, milestones, review of pricing, terms, and conditions, and certification timelines and deliverables.
After Apache receives the PO (purchase order), we assign the project to the engineer, and the kick-off meetings begin. Sales works closely with the project engineer to relay information back to the customer.
Engineering will perform final calculations, complete the design, consult with component manufacturers, and review designs with the customer. Construction, pressure, fixtures, and components must comply with ASME or CRN code.
Once the customer approves the design, Apache submits the compliant design to ASME, CRN or other faction approval and begins managing that process.
The project engineer creates detailed drawings for the manufacturing process. Staff, fabricators, and welders are ASME certified. All welders are approved for the weld procedures required to make custom vessels.
Project engineers work closely with manufacturing and quality assurance technicians to conduct the testing required for compliance. ASME testing and certification requirements include pneumatic, hydrostatic, liquid penetrant, saline, riboflavin, CIP coverage, material, base metal thickness, material trace, welder trace, Ferroxyl, PMI (Positive Material Identification) radiography, and UT. Apache provides in-house inspection services, which benefit customers with ASME projects. The documents are provided in the TOP (turnover packet) by Apache's Quality Assurance team.
Apache has been ASME certified for over 40 years. In addition to ASME, Apache is accredited in many other global standards, including CRN.
In addition to the "12 Steps to Compliance" video highlighted in this blog, learn more by downloading our e-book, "Road Map: Design to ASME Submission."
Many of Apache's customers, come to us with a full specification outline to custom manufacture their tank or vessel. For pharmaceutical, life sciences and health industries, Apache often works with integrators who add their process technology to sanitary equipment supplied by Apache. We also provide vessel solutions to end-users who have process technology support or experience, and need a vessel manufacturer to help them meet their quality and compliance standards.
Specifications such as Fixtures and fittings are also part of the compliance engineered solution. When learning about the vessel's intent, we want to define what the process connection (or nozzles) are required, as well as the service for each nozzle. This will help to pre-plan the general layout and placement of the nozzles. For custom ASME or other standards, the nozzles that we use must be compliant-driven and support the pressure/temperature rating of the vessel.
In this e-book "Road Map: Design to ASME Submission", we offer project planning recommendations for vessels that require ASME or other compliance. It is especially helpful for engineers or purchasers new to the role of procurement of sanitary custom vessels and tanks. This detailed "road map" provides planning insight and knowledge to acquire custom-designed and manufactured ASME vessels with an understanding of compliance engineering.
It is very important to partner with a vessel manufacturer with expertise in the type of vessel and industry for the use of the vessel. In ASME applications, it is vital that critical staff, fabricators and welders be ASME certified. Experience as well as reputation are significant when working with inspectors, agencies and governing officials to keep the compliance process moving forward.
ASME is a leading developer of codes and standards in the mechanical engineering community. Apache has been ASME certified for over 40 years.
Read the e-book, and learn more about compliance, engineering and project management to meet goals and procure quality vessels that not only meet compliance standards, but project goals too.
Versatility of Dimple Jacket Heat Transfer Thermal Processing
Apache’s engineers and fabrication experts are entrusted by many national and international processors to provide complex vessels with a host of compliant driven specifications and required quality protocols. With nearly 45 years of experience providing custom vessels, Apache has significant experience in thermal heat exchange surfaces.
Heat exchange surfaces can be designed for heating or cooling. Jacketed vessels are used in many industries and can be used to remove the elevated heat of reaction (heat reactor vessel) or reduce the viscosity of high viscous fluids.
Depending on the application, dimple jackets offer versatility in heating or cooling for almost any shape or size of vessel.
Dimple jackets are constructed with a thin gauge stainless steel layer that is plug welded to the vessel shell in a pattern. The punched and spot-welded areas are called dimples, which create turbulence of the heating or cooling fluid flowing through the jacket. The dimple jacket design allows for thinner vessel shell walls compared to a convention jacket due to the strength of the dimple pattern design.
Dimple Jackets are manufactured in several different pressures and patterns. Apache provides both 12 ga. and 14 ga. material. Each pattern is validated and proof tested per ASME regulations.
Apache has proofed and certified designs up to 1 ¾” at 290psig at 300o F but can go to higher temperatures depending on the application.
Applications and Features
Apache specializes in manufacturing custom vessels for high compliance industries including pharmaceutical and bio-pharma. We manufacture specialty sanitary design tanks, including pressure vessels, processing tanks and mixing vessels. We have all Stainless ASME certified manufacturing facility with custom capabilities including heat exchange surfaces, agitation, CIP (clean-in-place) componentry and controls. Apache has an in-house quality and compliance team to provide all testing and documentation requirements.
Learn more about Heat Transfer.
Categorizing levels of sanitary design is helpful to professionals new to compliance regulated industries requiring custom vessels because it bridges communications regarding standards and design requirements.
In hygienic applications, stainless equipment requires a sanitary finish which generally refers to a smooth, scratch-free, non-corrosive finish. The fineness of the finish, which determines its performance, is measured in RA (roughness average). The infographic illustrates the RA of different types of mill, mechanical, and chemical finishes. The smaller the RA reading in microinches (height in millionths of an inch), the smoother the finish.
When collaborating to qualify a project, we define a Base Level Finish as a 2B/Mill, 304 or 316 stainless materials that is pickle passivated. The welds are continuous and crack and crevice-free. This type of finish is paired with a Base Level Sanitary Design and is cleaned manually. Apache’s standard portable vessel line are an example of the base sanitary design and finish level.
A Mid-Level Finish is also composed of 304 or 316 stainless material and involves a secondary process of mechanical polishing greater than 32RA, with final finishing to include pickle or nitric passivation. The welds are continuous, crack and crevice-free, and are also ground flush and polished smooth to a specific RA. Sanitary fittings, mechanical polishing, additional passivation processes and a cleanable design with removable components are categorized as Mid-Level Sanitary Design features.
Providing the smoothest RA readings is an electropolished finish after a series of processes, including mechanical finishing to less than 32 RA, passivation, and nitric passivation, which are common for High-Level Finishes. The base material is 304/316 stainless. The welds are continuous, crack and crevice-free, ground flush and polished smooth to a specific RA designation less than 32RA. The sanitary fittings are also electropolished. Vessels with this level of specifications are typically cleaned automatically.
The specifications, construction and finishing of a vessel is often driven by standards and compliance requirements. All three categories, qualify for ASME UM, ASME U, FDA, 3-A, CRN, PED, BPE.
There are other factors that fall in these base, mid and high-level sanitary design categories, including construction features, processing applications and time to delivery. Download our e-book “Guide to Sanitary Design for Custom Vessels in Hygienic Industries".
When evaluating a custom vessel manufacturing partner for a new project, consider the manufacturing capabilities and experience that support the vessel’s application and sanitary requirements.
All custom design stainless vessels for the food, life sciences, pharmaceutical and health industries require sanitary construction. It is the application and automation that drives the level of sanitary componentry.
In reviewing each new custom vessel project, Apache identifies the sanitary requirements to categorize the vessel into a base, mid- or high-level design. Apache offers a standard line of vessels that qualify for various regulatory compliance agencies. However, these designs are considered a base level sanitary design, especially because the cleaning of the equipment is manual. Apache identifies a mid-level sanitary design vessel as having COP (Clean Out of Place) components.
In the video, a custom vessel is animated to walk through characteristics and examples in the highest and most automated level of sanitary design custom vessels.
High-Level Sanitary Design Characteristics Include:
Processes and application in high-level sanitary design vessels include heating and cooling vessels, mixing and processing tanks, WFI tanks, filtering and R & D lab equipment.
Certification requirements is an important part of the sanitary design criteria. Sanitary design standards include:
3A – A regulation of the design for processing equipment in the food and drug industries. A 3A certificate is proof of FDA compliance.
ASME U and ASME UM - A regulation of the design of boilers and pressure vessels, including traceability of materials, procedures, testing and documentation.
BPE – A standard within ASME that drives equipment design for the bio-processing, pharmaceutical and other hygienic required industries.
In qualifying design, safety, automation other application details, Apache will facilitate the required compliance for the vessel and provide well communicated delivery, cost and approvals required for a successful project.
Stainless Finishes for Hygienic Vessels are measured by an RA (Roughness Average) meter. Manufacturers of custom vessels for life science, health and pharmaceutical industries adhere to strict design parameters to maintain compliance in these industries. The RA is a standard for an average of peaks and valleys on the metal’s surface, measured in microinches. Here is the evolution of stainless material coming to Apache with RA designations as it is transformed into custom sanitary design vessels:
RA > 100 Mill Finish A Mill Finish has an unpolished, dull-gray, matte appearance. This material type is the basis for supply for all stainless-steel flat products as well as the basis for additional finishing operations. It is hot or cold rolled with an RA (Roughness Average) of more than 100 microinches, depending on the gauge of the material.
RA 15 – 40 2B Mill Finish 2B Mill finish is widely used in food, chemical and pharmaceutical equipment applications. It is corrosion resistant and has a typical RA range of 40 (7 gauge) to 15 (16 gauge) microinches.
RA 29 – 58 No. 3 and No. 4 Finish Mechanical polishing achieves these finishes. The No. 3 Finish uses a 120-grit abrasive and has a semi-polished finish with an RA range of 36 – 58 microinches. The No. 4 Finishes uses a 150-grit abrasive and has a polished, brushed surface. The RA range is 29 – 40 microinches.
RA 18 – 31 No. 4A Also identified as No. 4 Dairy Finish, this finishes is required to meet the basic FDA 3-A standards. It uses a 180 grit and has a RA range of 18 – 31 microinches.
< 32 RA Pickle Passivation Pickle Passivation often follows other manufacturing processes including welding and grinding. Also called Pickling, it is the immersion of the metal in a pickling bath or coating the material with pickling solution, such as nitric-hydrofluoric acid. The process removes both metallic contamination and heat-treating scales. Pickle passivated stainless steel has a matte appearance. Apache’s tests have confirmed improvements up to 25% in RA readings on material that has been pickle passivated.
Lowest RA Electropolishing Electropolishing is an electro-chemical process that removes surface material from stainless steel. The process includes an immersion of the stainless-steel component into a temperature-controlled bath of electrolyte that is charged with a DC power supply. Electrolytes used in electropolishing are concentrated sulfuric and phosphoric acid solutions. The finish has a mirror appearance. Apache’s before/after tests have shown improvements in RA smoothness up to 50%; results vary depending on stainless material.
In the highest level of sanitary design applications the vessel is pickled after manufacturing and polishing, then electropolished.
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