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Custom Vessel Design to Compliance - Steps to Success

DESIGN TO COMPLIANCE

Designing custom vessels to compliance, such as ASME or CRN, is a highly engineered approach. Certainly, manufacturers of the custom vessel must have required accreditation, but the engineering expertise goes beyond certification. The pressure vessel manufacturer must have experience and a reputation with inspectors, agencies, and governing officials to manage the compliance process smoothly and efficiently.

The process is complex, and we must educate customers about the important steps, all of which affect the project's outcome. The process includes consultation, project engineering, manufacturing, and compliance.

Consultation

When discussing the intent of the vessel with the Customer or Engineering Firm, the sales team works to learn more about the industry and process that the vessel will serve.  This will often help us make recommendations on design attributes that the customer may not know this early in the design and vessel selection process.  This is especially important in the absence of a formal specification package.

A scope alignment meeting occurs to discuss the proposal and services. This meeting may include revisions, due dates, milestones, review of pricing, terms, and conditions, and certification timelines and deliverables.

Project Engineering

After Apache receives the PO (purchase order), we assign the project to the engineer, and the kick-off meetings begin. Sales works closely with the project engineer to relay information back to the customer.

Engineering will perform final calculations, complete the design, consult with component manufacturers, and review designs with the customer. Construction, pressure, fixtures, and components must comply with ASME or CRN code.

Once the customer approves the design, Apache submits the compliant design to ASME, CRN or other faction approval and begins managing that process.

Manufacturing

The project engineer creates detailed drawings for the manufacturing process. Staff, fabricators, and welders are ASME certified. All welders are approved for the weld procedures required to make custom vessels.

Compliance

Project engineers work closely with manufacturing and quality assurance technicians to conduct the testing required for compliance. ASME testing and certification requirements include pneumatic, hydrostatic, liquid penetrant, saline, riboflavin, CIP coverage, material, base metal thickness, material trace, welder trace, Ferroxyl, PMI (Positive Material Identification) radiography, and UT. Apache provides in-house inspection services, which benefit customers with ASME projects. The documents are provided in the TOP (turnover packet) by Apache's Quality Assurance team.

Apache has been ASME certified for over 40 years. In addition to ASME, Apache is accredited in many other global standards, including CRN.

In addition to the "12 Steps to Compliance" video highlighted in this blog, learn more by downloading our e-book, "Road Map: Design to ASME Submission."


Anatomy of a Sanitary Design Vessel

When evaluating a custom vessel manufacturing partner for a new project, consider the manufacturing capabilities and experience that support the vessel’s application and sanitary requirements.

All custom design stainless vessels for the food, life sciences, pharmaceutical and health industries require sanitary construction. It is the application and automation that drives the level of sanitary componentry.

In reviewing each new custom vessel project, Apache identifies the sanitary requirements to categorize the vessel into a base, mid- or high-level design.  Apache offers a standard line of vessels that qualify for various regulatory compliance agencies.  However, these designs are considered a base level sanitary design, especially because the cleaning of the equipment is manual.  Apache identifies a mid-level sanitary design vessel as having COP (Clean Out of Place) components.

In the video, a custom vessel is animated to walk through characteristics and examples in the highest and most automated level of sanitary design custom vessels.

High-Level Sanitary Design Characteristics Include:

  • CIP (Clean in Place) Process and Components
  • Continuous, crack and crevice-free welds, ground flush and polished smooth to specific RA (Roughness Average) <32 RA
  • 304 or 316 stainless material, mechanically finished to <32 RA
  • Electropolished and Nitric passivated finishing
  • Electropolished sanitary fittings, including:
    • Tri-clamp ferrules
    • Tube connections
    • NA Connects
    • Flush mount outlet valves
    • Sight glasses
    • Orbitally welded j-tubes
    • Dip-tubes
    • Polished internal coils
    • Samples Ports
    • Spray devices
    • Control panels
    • External thermal jacketing

Processes and application in high-level sanitary design vessels include heating and cooling vessels, mixing and processing tanks, WFI tanks, filtering and R & D lab equipment.

Certification requirements is an important part of the sanitary design criteria.  Sanitary design standards include:

3A – A regulation of the design for processing equipment in the food and drug industries. A 3A certificate is proof of FDA compliance.

ASME U and ASME UM -  A regulation of the design of boilers and pressure vessels, including traceability of materials, procedures, testing and documentation.

BPE – A standard within ASME that drives equipment design for the bio-processing, pharmaceutical and other hygienic required industries.

In qualifying design, safety, automation other application details, Apache will facilitate the required compliance for the vessel and provide well communicated delivery, cost and approvals required for a successful project.


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