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Deep Dive into Custom Vessel Components and Compliance

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:

  • Does the vessel(s) require any certifications regarding pressure, such ASME, PED or CRN?
  • Will the vessel be used for a sanitary or high-purity application?
  • What is the intended purpose that the vessel will serve?
  • Are there space constraints that will affect the vessel's sizing (s)?

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.


5 Insider Tips to Get Faster Delivery on Custom Small Vessels

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:

  1. Incorporate stock heads and stock fittings into the custom vessel design. Apache offers numerous styles of vessel heads that are kept in inventory. Head sizes range from 9”, 12”, 18” and 24”. Heads and fittings that need to be specially ordered require longer lead times.
  2. Customers who can provide a general arrangement drawing before Apache’s approval process will expedite communications and reduce engineering time to determine those parameters.
  3. Leverage industry standard components such as pipe fittings, pipe flanges (150# ANSI flanges) in the component list of your data sheet or bill of materials. The supply chain for standard components is typically more favorable for availability and delivery. These are often more cost effective as well.
  4. Use pre-engineered, previously purchased designs. Customers who can refer to or have a repetitive project can shave up to 3 weeks off engineering time for faster delivery.
  5. Discuss pre-ordering long-lead components before the approval of drawings. Collaborate with Apache’s sales techs and engineers to get a head start on critical components that fall under long lead status. With the customer’s approval, these parts can be ordered as soon as possible.

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.


Project Engineering Steps to Supply a CRN Vessel

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.


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."


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.


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.


Video: 3 Levels of Sanitary Construction

Processors serving food or hygienic industries have varying degrees of compliance requirements for custom vessels solutions.  The designation of "sanitary" has a wide range of definitions depending on the customer, the industry or the standard.  

This video is a brief overview how Apache defines a base, mid, and high-level sanitary vessels.  

Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation is a manufacturer of stainless equipment for a range of hygienic industries, including, food, beverage, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, cannabinoid, and life sciences.

A dedicated quality control and compliance team directs all tests, certificates and documents for all sanitary, ASME, and global standards.


ASME Stainless Vessel Construction Parameters for Hygienic Vessels

 

ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) is a leading developer of codes and standards in the mechanical engineering community. ASME code section VIII details mandatory rules regarding vessel design, including engineering, manufacturing, and testing of pressure vessels.   These standards enhance public safety and health as well as promote quality and innovation.  Here are the main parameters outlining ASME construction of pressure vessels with supporting ASME testing requirements.

Construction
Parameters such as wall thickness, material, and flange rating are determined by the application, including pressure, temperature, corrosion allowance, and fluid flow.  These conditions are calculated and reviewed/approved by the ASME inspector when required per code. Stainless, Hastelloy, AL6XN, duplex, and Inconel materials are ASME-approved materials for pressure vessel construction in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, and health-related industries, of which Apache is qualified to fabricate.

Welding

ASME standards also define the quality, type, and finishing of the welds. Head styles (ASME F&D, 80:10, 2:1 Elliptical), seams, nozzles, manways, and other components are designed per ASME Code. Applicable ASME Code welding procedures must be followed using certified ASME welders to maintain the structural integrity of an ASME pressure vessel. Welders must be certified to a qualified weld specification qualified per ASME code guidelines.

Safety Components
Gauges, valves, pressure outlets, and drainage are required safety components in ASME design pressure vessels. The proper selection of components and design is critically important to the safety and performance of the ASME vessel. The selection of safety components needs to be evaluated closely to define the required scope of supply.

Finishing
There is another ASME specification to ensure the quality and safety of parts used in pharmaceutical, bio-processing, and other industries requiring a hygienic vessel, called ASMP-BPE. BPE (Bio Processing Equipment Standard) specifies the surface finishes RA (roughness average) requirements and pickle passivation and electropolishing requirements.

Tests & Certification
There are significant testing, certifications, and documentation requirements for ASME compliance and satisfying the numerous customer requirements. Many require ASME inspection as well as a TOP (turnover packet).  Some 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 has been ASME certified for over 40 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.


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