Custom and pressure vessel manufacturers must have accreditation for ASME certification. Compliance with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel code is required. Pressure vessel manufacturers must also manufacture to ASME material specifications, certificates, and welding qualifications.
Other accreditations are also crucial in the pharmaceutical, life science, and health industries. Confirm all industry compliance standards, including:
• ASME UM
• ASME U
Quality Assurance & Compliance
Verify that the manufacturer has a dedicated quality assurance team. There are significant testing, certifications, and documentation requirements for all global accreditation programs. In-house inspection services are a benefit to ASME projects. Review services that should include:
• Pneumatic testing
• Hydrostatic testing
• Liquid Penetrant (Dye Penetrant) testing
• Saline testing and certificate
• Riboflavin/CIP (clean-in-place) coverage test
• Material Test Reports
• Base metal thickness certificate
• Material trace
• Welder trace
• Ferroxyl test and certificate
• Positive material identification (PMI) and certificate
• Ferrite levels and certificate
• Radiography and analysis
• UT weld testing and certificate
• Turn Over Packet (TOP) as required
The pressure vessel manufacturer must have expertise in the type of vessel and industry experience for the use of the vessel. Critical staff, fabricators, and welders must be ASME certified. All welders must be approved for the weld procedures required to make custom pressure vessels.
Experience and reputation are also significant when developing relationships with inspectors, agencies, and governing officials to keep the compliance process moving forward smoothly.
Service & Support
Above all, assess the service and support provided by the manufacturer. The vessel manufacturer should be able to articulate technical discussions and be open and honest with timelines, cost, and compliance-related issues. Consider other research and questions, such as:
• Is the proposal easy to understand and compare solutions?
• Do you have direct access to the engineer for questions?
• Does the company provide timely and accurate documentation?
• Does the company offer after-market parts and field service?
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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
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