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Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation


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.


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