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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.


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.


How to Troubleshoot a Pressure Tank

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


General Use VS Custom Vessel: When It's Time to Consider a Custom ASME Pressure Vessel

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!


What is the Difference Between an ASME U and a UM Stamp?

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

  • Any vessel meeting the requirement of ASME Section VIII can be marked with the U Symbol.
  • Most local and state laws require vessel designs 15 PSI and higher to be ASME Code Certified.
  • Qualified manufacturers receive a triennial joint review (audit) by their authorized inspection agency, and the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel inspectors.
  • U vessels require an Authorized Inspector (3rd party ASME inspector) to review with approved calculations.
  • U vessels require an ASME pressure test with the Authorized Inspector residing over the test.
 

ASME UM Symbol

  • UM vessels are smaller in volume (less than 5 cubic feet)
  • UM qualified manufacturers receive an annual ASME review by their authorized inspection agency and are also subject to the same triennial joint review (audit) as mentioned above.
  • UM vessels have size specifications, including:
    •   5 cubic feet of volume or small with pressures not exceeding 250 PSI
    •   3 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 350 PSI
    •   1.5 cubic feet of volume or smaller with pressures not exceeding 600 PSI
  • UM Vessels are inspected and tested by a manufacturer's own certified individuals.
 

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.

 


5 Things to Consider Before Ordering a Tank

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.

  • Minimum temperature
  • Maximum allowable temperature
  • Maximum allowable pressure
  • Hydrostatic test pressure
  • Design Vacuum
  • Corrosion Allowance
     

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.

 

  • As-built drawings
  • ASME data report
  • Weld traveler (Tracks material identification numbers and welders)
  • Material certificates or material test reports (MTR's, Material Test Reports to certify the chemistry of the materials)
  • Weld procedure (WPS)
  • Weld procedure qualification (PQR)
  • Weld map
  • Electropolish certificate (ASTM B912)
  • Pickle passivation cert (ASTM A380)
  • Surface finish certificates
  • Hydrostatic test certificates
  • Drainability certification
  • Sprayball test certificate
  • Tank checklist
  • Radiography certificates
  • Copy of name plate
     
3. Provide Dimensions:  In addition to the diameter and size requirements of the vessel, we also want to discover portable height and production floor restrictions.
 
4. List Finishes:  Determine the compliance requirement for finishing both inside and outside of the vessel.
 
5. Indicate use of vessel:  Even a general knowledge of the use of the vessel will help to determine design and compliance criteria.
 
Questions? Contact a Small Vessel Sales Tech at 920-356-9900

 


Small Vessel Scale-Up Solution Quadruples Production

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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