ASTM (American Society for Materials and Testing) was developed to set standards for chemical, mechanical, physical, and electrical properties of material, as well as testing standards for materials. ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) includes ASTM standards, AWS (American Welding Society) standards and other nationally and internationally recognized standards as part of a widely adapted design specification for many structures, including pressure vessels.
Apache has substantial capabilities for mechanical and chemical finishing having supplied stainless equipment to hygienic industries for more than four decades. Passivation, pickle passivation and electropolishing processes and associated ASME testing, and processes are 100% in-house.
Passivation is the removal of excess iron or iron compounds from the surface of stainless steel by means of a chemical, typically an acid based solution. Unlike pickle passivation, no metal is removed from the surface during the process. The process has little effect on the RA values of the stainless material being passivated.
The ASTM A967 is a passivation standard that applies to the cleaning, passivation, and testing of stainless parts.
Pickle Passivation 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.
The ASTM A380 is a passivation standard that covers cleaning, descaling, and passivating stainless material and parts. Spec A380 may include a variety of treatments, including precleaning, chemical descaling, degreasing and more.
Electropolishing is an electro-chemical process that removes surface material from stainless steel. The process includes immersion of the stainless-steel component into a temperature-controlled bath of electrolytes that are 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 and after tests have shown improvements in RA smoothness up to 50%; results vary depending on stainless material.
The ASTM B912 specification outlines the electropolishing process for 200, 300 and 400 series alloys. Spec B912 may include preparatory cleaning procedures, post coating procedures and rinsing protocols. Final testing is also stated in the specification to evaluate performance of finish.
In Guide to ASTM & ASME Stainless Finishes, learn about the mechanical and chemical finishing processes to meet ASME, ASTM and other compliance requirements.
Depending on the application, processors serving food or other hygienic industries have varying degrees of compliance requirements for custom vessels. When working with your custom vessel manufacturing partner, it is important to identify the level of sanitary compliance in the pre-engineering discovery phase.
Apache defines three categories of sanitary design to help customers with the type of sanitary specifications for construction and fixtures to meet the vessel’s process goals.
The base level sanitary vessel is cleaned manually. Typical construction fixtures include threaded coupling, threaded dip tubes and ANSI flanges. Depending on the application, stock vessels may be used or modified. The material is 2B/Mill, or 304 or 316 stainless and is pickle passivated.
Customers use base-level sanitary vessels for waste tanks, hydrocarbon storage, food-grade applications, adhesives, and solvents.
The type of sanitation is also a driver for more complexity in the design of sanitary vessels. In the mid-level category, components are removed for cleaning or COP (clean out of place).
Mid-Level sanitary vessel designs are constructed with 304 or 316 stainless material and feature mechanical finishing and pickle passivation or nitric passivation.
Sanitary fittings are specified in a mid-level vessel from tri-clamp ferrules and tube connections to NA connects, flush mount outlet valves and sight glasses.
Customers use mid-level sanitary design vessels for material columns, solvent tanks, collection vessels, extraction, expansion chambers, mixing and dispensing.
The highest level of sanitary design vessel is automated to be cleaned-in-place (CIP). A 304 or 316 stainless material is specified for high-level sanitary vessels mechanically finished to less than 32RA (roughness average), with nitric and electropolish chemical finish.
The fixtures in this category are electropolished including tri-clamp ferrules, tube connections, NA connects, sight glasses, j-tubes, dip-tubes, and polished internal coils.
Customers using high-level sanitary vessels are involved in automated processing and manufacturing. Applications for high-level sanitary designs include WRI tanks, R&D lab equipment, heating, and cooling vessels and nutsche filters.
Each level of sanitary design can meet ASME UM, ASMEU, FDA, 3-A, CRN, PED, and BPE compliance requirements.
When exploring the project parameters for a custom vessel, our guide, “3 Levels of Sanitary Design Tanks and Vessels” , helps to drive conversations and specifications that will meet the vessel’s application, timing, and compliance requirements.
Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation manufactures stainless equipment for a range of hygienic industries. Apache uploads compliance engineering expertise in beverage, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, cannabinoid, food processing, and life science industries.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Since Apache provides custom engineering and manufacturing, we reference these levels to guide conversations so the precise specifications for compliance and function are met. This video is a brief overview how Apache defines base, mid, and high level sanitary vessels.
Apache refers to a base level design as an entry-level, food grade, chemical and general use vessel. Base vessel sanitary construction is typically defined as continuous, crack and crevice-free welds. Fixtures are threaded, such as couplings and dip tubes, an may include ANSI flanges and Thermowells probes. Base level tanks and vessels are pickle passivated and are manually cleaned after use.
In custom sanitary vessel discussions, Apache defines mid-level vessels as COP (clean-out-of-place) capable. There is a higher level of finishing on the inside dimension for mid-level criteria, and the construction fixtures are all sanitary specified, like tri-clamp ferrules, tube connection, NA connects, and sight glasses for example. Processes and applications for mid-level sanitary tanks include columns, solvent tanks, collection, extraction, mixing and dispensing.
The highest level of sanitary design vessels are designed with CIP (clean-in-place) processes. The finishing on high-level vessels are smoothly polished to less than 32RA (roughness average) on the inside of the vessel. The chemical finish is both nitric passivated and electropolished on high-level vessel designs. Customized high-level sanitary tanks have electropolished sanitary fittings from tri-clamp ferrules, tube connects, to orbitally welded j-tubes, and polished internal coils. Highly compliant and sanitary vessels are used for processing, WFI, R&D lab equipment, heat and cooling, and nutsche filtering.
For more information into the criteria of sanitary vessels, please read "Guide to Sanitary Design for Custom Vessels", a quick-read guide to sanitary standards, construction and the effects on delivery and cost.
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.
There are several reasons why a vessel may need service, however, two main causes why a vessel may need service are either accident or performance related.
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.
Reduced agitator performance or failure is often due to worn parts, improper assembly or a bent or broken shaft. Agitator repairs may be addressed with the agitator manufacturer or the vessel manufacturer, depending on the situation, down-time, and severity of the failure.
When troubleshooting a drop in pressure in a tank or vessel, a typical cause is often related to seals. One sign of seal failure is product coming out of the seal. To help reduce the frequency of an unexpected seal leak occurring, it is recommended to use a good seal maintenance program to solve a lot of pressure / performance issues, such as:
• Seal replacement has been neglected
• Flat spots on seals are a sign for replacement
• Improper or incorrect seals for the outlet
• Nicks, scratches or mishandling of seals
A best practice is to avoid product waste and critical down-time is to inventory seals for all outlets and manage seals in a preventative maintenance program.
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.
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:
• Field service and troubleshooting to all types of stainless and high alloy tanks
• ASME / National Board R-Stamp repair and modifications
• Surface finish repairs
• Non-code repairs and modifications including piping and heat transfer jackets
• Seal and agitation repairs and modifications
• Accessory repairs
• Head and tank shell repairs
• Leak detection
• Audit and service contract available
Visit Small Vessels
Visit Large Tanks
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, 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!
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
ASME UM Symbol
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.
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.
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.
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
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