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Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation


10 Reasons Why Ethanol Producers Choose Apache Stainless as Their Tank Manufacturer

1.            The number one reason for partnering with Apache for your ethanol vessel is our expertise of over 40 years supplying tanks for ethanol and biofuel production.  We specialize in heat exchange surfaces, pressure vessels, custom mix tanks, evaporators, and extraction equipment made from stainless and other high alloys. 

2.            Apache has the capacity for specialty large tank projects.  We have custom-designed and fabricated tanks from one gallon to 160,000-gallons.

3.            Apache has a good standing in the community and the technical college to recruit and retain skilled fabricators.  Our welders are ASME certified and are graduates of rigorous step programs and maintain a continuous excellent safety rating.

4.            We have control over advanced manufacturing processes. Our tenured engineering staff is experienced in project management of ASME specialty pressure vessels.

5.            Apache is employee-owned, a culture that drives efficiencies, collaboration, and innovation.  Our employees fully understand that customer satisfaction is directly related to the success of our company.  Located in Beaver Dam, in rural Dodge County Wisconsin, we have a strong midwestern work ethic.

6.            In-House material finishes include robotic and mechanical polishing, pickle passivation (ASTM A380 & A967) Electropolishing (ASTM B912). There is no outsourcing of finishes, Apache handles any size to be polished, passivated, or electropolished.

7.            Apache has a quality assurance team to coordinate testing and processes, TOP packages, and certifications, including ASME U, UM, CE Marking Permission, National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, UN DOT, and CRN (all provinces and territories.)

8.            Backed by full ASME and other global standards, Apache offers numerous testing and certification required for compliance, including pneumatic testing, hydrostatic testing, liquid penetrant, saline testing, CIP coverage, base metal thickness, ferroxyl testing, positive material ID, ferrite levels, radiography, and UT weld testing.

9.            Apache has dedicated transportation personnel and a fleet for specialized high and heavy load services.  Our transportation team provides permits, escorts, and communications for large tank loads.

10          Our field service technicians have years of experience as tank fabrication and repair specialists at Apache.  We fully support all stainless and high alloy vessel construction and refurbishment. We are ASME and National Board R-stamp certified for repairs and modifications. Our field service offering can be extended to audit and service contracts for preventative maintenance service preferences.


Sometimes Tank Damage Isn't as Bad as You Think

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:

  • Repair and replace agitator shafts
  • Add agitation to a non-agitation vessel
  • Refurbish outlet valves, seals, or-rings, and gaskets
  • Relocate nozzles and fittings
  • Replace manways
  • Repair jackets (conventional, dimple, half-pipe)
  • Add cooling or heating coils
  • Detect and repair leaks
  • Refinish product contact surfaces
  • Repair sidewalls
  • Change bottom head configurations
  • Modify tanks, platforms, catwalks for repurposing
  • Convert non-pressured vessel to pressurized (if approved by engineering)

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

Josh.Schladweiler@apachestainless.com

Download the Tank Group Field Services flyer


Custom Vessel Design to Compliance - Steps to Success

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.

Consultation

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.

Project Engineering

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.

Manufacturing

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.

Compliance

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."


New E-Book: Design to Submission Road Map

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.

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 Heat Transfer Jackets

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

  • ASME approval by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Inspectors up to 290 psig.
  • Pressures of 290 psig with temperature limited to 500 degrees F, depending on the application.
  • High jacket pressures permitted without significant increase of side structure thickness.
  • Efficient heat transfer at low media flow.
  • Dimple jackets are well suited to steam applications.
  • They can be used to provide heat transfer or cooling for virtually any shape or size of vessel.
  • On large tanks, dimple jackets have a lower price point and maintain a higher pressure drop compared to conventional jackets. On small vessels, conventional jackets have a lower price point followed by dimple jacket and half pipe solutions.

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.


Comparing Base, Mid, and High-level Sanitary Finishes [Infographic]

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".


Anatomy of a Sanitary Design Vessel

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:

  • CIP (Clean in Place) Process and Components
  • Continuous, crack and crevice-free welds, ground flush and polished smooth to specific RA (Roughness Average) <32 RA
  • 304 or 316 stainless material, mechanically finished to <32 RA
  • Electropolished and Nitric passivated finishing
  • Electropolished sanitary fittings, including:
    • Tri-clamp ferrules
    • Tube connections
    • NA Connects
    • Flush mount outlet valves
    • Sight glasses
    • Orbitally welded j-tubes
    • Dip-tubes
    • Polished internal coils
    • Samples Ports
    • Spray devices
    • Control panels
    • External thermal jacketing

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.


What's Right for my Operation: Pressure v. Vacuum Closures


Vacuum or Pressure closures for small/portable ASME vessels

Many processors come to Apache for a vessel solution in the incubation stage of their business.  In some cases, they are looking for help to choose the right kind of vessel that will suit their needs and fit their budget.  While Apache provides custom ASME vessels for a range of industries, we also offer a line of standard vessels that often solve what these manufacturers need for their process.

The use of the vessel will determine whether it is a pressurized solution, non—pressurized or vacuum vessel solution. 

Vessels that require a minimum of 50 PSI, utilize a pressure closure.  Numerous applications, including heating or cooling process, containment, and pressurized dispensing often utilize pressures at or above 50 psi. 

It is important to note the safety and ASME requirements for pressure vessels, an ASME UM-mark is required for:

  • Vessels 5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 250 psi.
  • Vessel 3 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 350 psi.
  • Vessels 1.5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 600 psi.

For vacuum requirements or non-vacuum applications, such as a storage vessel or collecting vessel, a vacuum closure may suit the application.

In the video, Nick Buchda, Apache’s Small Vessel Representative, demonstrates vacuum and pressure closures on our standard line of vessels.

Apache has produced stainless vessels with ASME certification for over 45 years, with other accreditations for pharmaceutical, life science and health industries including ASME UM, ASME U, FDA, 3-A, CRN, PED and BPE. 

Whether the vessel needs fit a standard vessel, modifications to a standard vessel or a custom solution, Apache has the experience to fulfill a range of critical, sanitary-design vessel solutions.


Round Up on ASME Marks

ASME is a leading developer of codes and standards in the mechanical engineering community. These standards enhance public safety and health as well as promote innovation.

The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) mark is a single certification marketing to signify the international mark of safety and quality. Recognized worldwide, manufacturers that provide ASME have a rigorous quality program, and a third-party review to authorize the use of the mark.

 

The U mark certifies that the pressured tanks or vessel conforms to the latest edition of the ASME code and that the pressure vessel has been designed and manufactured in accordance with ASME.  All aspects are approved by a Third party ASME Authorized Inspector (AAI). U stamps require an ASME inspector to witness the ASME hydro test.

Companies with a U mark undergo a review with the National Board every three years.

The UM mark certified that the pressure vessel or tank conforms to the latest edition of the ASME code and that the pressure vessel has been designed and manufactured in accordance with ASME. The UM vessel’s designation is related to the size of the tank/vessel.

  • Vessels 5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 250 psi.
  • Vessel 3 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 350 psi.
  • Vessels 1.5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 600 psi.

While the American Society of Mechanical Engineers writes the rules for the new construction of pressure vessels and tank, the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors write the inspection code for new and repaired vessels.

The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors require a Certificate of Authorization and R stamp for the repair or alteration of boilers, pressure vessels and other pressure retaining equipment.

Apache has been ASME certified for over 45 years. In addition to ASME, Apache is accredited in many other global standards. By setting parameters for quality and compliance, we offer greater value for our custom stainless ASME tanks and vessels.


12 Engineering Steps to Ensure ASME Compliance for Custom Vessels

Custom vessel manufacturing to industries requiring compliance is what we do. There is a process for customer service and engineering that is required to get the custom vessel you require for your application. There are numerous specifications that will be required based on your process or level of compliance. Apache will work with you to explain and provide options in your vessel project. This collaborative effort will have to control cost and expedite timing for your custom vessel. 

Here are our 12 Project Engineering Steps to Ensure Vessel Compliance:

  1. Understand the intent of the vessel.  Apache has 45 years of experience manufacturing custom vessels.  We can lead important project planning discussion if we know the intent or type of process in which the vessel will be used.
  2. Ensure and Verify Design Conditions.  At this step, our project engineers look at the design conditions, process, temperatures, ASME and other compliance requirement and perform initial calculations.
  3. Determine Finish Requirements. Once design is verified and viable, the project is examined for mechanical and electropolishing requirements, as well as access needed for fixtures and how that has an impact on the fittings.
  4. Final Calculations.  In this step, the engineer provides final calculations to address issues, verify material thickness and fit of fittings.
  5. Completion of Compliant Design.  The ASME/PED/CRN compliant design is completed in 3D Solid Works.
  6. Order long lead time components.  The long lead time components such as the mixer, body flanges, heads are ordered. The supply chain is monitored carefully for timing, and any changes are communicated that may affect delivery.
  7. Component Manufacturer Collaboration.  Apache leverages long term relationships with component manufactures to customize specifications to meet the needs of the process.
  8. Custom Approval.  The customer receives approval drawings with 2D, 3D models.  There is often a series of collaborative meetings to finalize the design and approval.
  9. ASME (or other faction) Submission.  The final design is submitted for ASME or other compliance agency for approval.  Apache also leverages long-term relationships with regulatory agencies to help facilitate a smooth process.
  10. Detailed Drawings.  The engineering team completes the detailed drawings for the manufacturing process and fabrication can begin.
  11. Tests / Certifications.  ASME tests are scheduled and performed by our Quality Assurance team to comply with the certifications required for the vessel.
  12. Turn-over Packet (TOP).  The documentation packet can be completed after the vessel is manufactured and the TOP is developed and uploaded to our customer portal.

Apache’s engineering team articulates technical discussions and is open with timelines, cost and compliance-related issues. Our competence for a pharmaceutical or life science industry vessel is strongly supported in providing all compliance related deliverables.


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