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!
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.
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.
The Small / Portable Vessel group produces specialized ASME vessels that customers need for their extremely regulated processes. Apache manufactures custom mix tanks, storage tanks, jacketed vessels, heat exchange surfaces, extraction equipment.
Apache offers engineering and 3D modeling to the customer's design conditions and ASME requirements for each vessel project. We have a dedicated quality and compliance team that focuses on verification, testing, and compliance documentation.
Visit APACHE at INTERPHEX 2019, April 2-4 at the Javits Center in New York City!
Download the custom story of Apache's Small Vessel Group.
An important part of quality assurance is the process of manufacturing a vessel and the completion of required certifications to meet ASME compliance. Equally important is the understanding of these processes and procedures, by all parties from project engineering manager to purchasing teams.
Apache's quality experts have put together a informative resource on factory tests and certifications for ASME tanks and vessels. It is important to have an understanding with customers about what is involved with testing and documentation requirements.
A review of factory tests
Manufacturing process that require reporting
An overview of certifications
The TOP (Turn Over Packet) Documentation Package
Brakebush Brothers, a leading processor of chicken products, worked with Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation to design, fabricate and deliver a new 20,000 gallon fresh oil tank for their Westfield, Wisconsin plant.
David Meyer, Utilities Manager at Brakebush, needed a new storage tank to keep up with production demands and chose Apache Stainless for it’s reputation as a quality manufacturer of stainless tanks and expertise in heat transfer surfaces and sanitary tank finishing. The 13’ 6” diameter tank is 33’ feet tall and replaces an 8,000 gallon tank that will be relocated to another Brakebush plant.
David Foulkes, Sales Manager for Apache, worked with Brakebush and Apache’s tank team to provide the new tank with specifications to include a containment shell, steam dimple jacket, insulation and protective shroud with controls to monitor and adjust the heat temperature of the oil, especially during the winter months in Wisconsin, as well as the required flow into the plant for production operations.
The Brakebush Westfield, Wisconsin plant has a production facility of over 500,000 sq. ft. with state of the art cooking operations. Westfield is also the corporate office for Brakebush.
Apache Stainless located in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin serves commercial manufacturers all across North America. Apache tanks are found in food and beverage processing facilities an in fuel refineries, ethanol plants, chemical industries, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and in health and beauty product manufacturing plants.
The main difference between pickle passivation and electropolishing is the appearance and RA (roughness average) of the stainless material. In the photo, an electropolished sample is shown above a pickle passivated sample. The pickle passivated sample has a white appearance, while the electropolished sample has a mirror-like, shiny finish.
Pickle Passivation is the immersion of metal in a pickling bath such as nitric-hydroflouric acid. The process removes metal such as impurities and heat marks from welds.
Electropolishing is an electro-chemical process that removes surface material from stainless steel. The process typically starts with an immersion of the component into a controlled bath of electrolyte that is charged with a DC power supply. Apache’s RA tests show improvements up to 50% smoother, depending on the material.
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