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Posts Tagged ‘ASME Quality Control’

 A fantastic Article found on: http://www.csb.gov/newsroom/detail.aspx?nid=293

November 09, 2009

Without appropriate safeguards, pressure vessels can pose lethal dangers.
Washington, DC, November 9, 2009 – CSB Chairman John Bresland released a new video safety message today asking jurisdictions across the country to adopt the ASME Pressure Vessel Code to reduce the number of accidents involving catastrophic pressure vessel failures in process industries.
The safety message can be viewed on CSB.gov and on the CSB’s safety message channel,www.youtube.com/safetymessages.
In the safety message, Chairman Bresland warned that without appropriate safeguards, pressure vessels can pose lethal dangers. Chairman Bresland said, “Pressure vessels store tremendous amounts of energy and you should never become complacent about the risks.”
Particular danger exists when vessels are improperly installed, welded, or modified, or when they lack effective pressure relief systems. Mr. Bresland refers to several incidents investigated by the CSB including an explosion at a Louisiana natural gas well that killed four workers when a tank rated only for atmospheric pressure was exposed to gas pressure up to 800 pounds per square inch.
In April 2003, an 8-foot tank used to heat sugar caramel exploded when the vent line became blocked, killing an overnight operator, releasing large amounts of ammonia, and forcing a community evacuation. The vessel had no pressure-relief system.
Additionally, in 2004 a pressure vessel weighing 50,000-pounds exploded at a chemical plant in Houston, Texas, throwing heavy fragments into the community, which damaged a church and businesses.  The CSB found that the company improperly modified and welded the vessel.
Chairman Bresland stated that these accidents can be avoided if states implement long-established codes for safe use. He said, “There are only eleven states that do not require companies to follow the Pressure Vessel Code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). I ask all jurisdictions to adopt the Pressure Vessel Code and related boiler standards. Lives will be saved as a result.”
The ASME Code provides the fundamental safeguards for pressure vessels, including design, welding procedures and fabrication, testing, and pressure relief. In 2006, the CSB called upon the City of Houston to adopt the Code to protect residents and industrial facilities from these incidents. However, Houston has failed to implement this recommendation despite reoccurring pressure vessel failures such as a summer of 2008 heat exchanger explosion in a resin-production facility that killed a veteran supervisor.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.
A powerful reminder about the purpose of the ASME code and the dangers of not using a qualified and certified ASME code shop for repairs and alterations.  The nominal costs of making proper repairs to ASME pressure vessels is insignificant to the potential loss of human life. Likewise, the risk of installing non-code vessels is equally dangerous and potentially deadly.
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Since this summer Precision Pipe and Vessel, A Denver ASME welding and fabrication shop has built and delivered two 80 foot plus deethanizor and depropoanizer towers.  By all standards these are not the largest towers on the market, but are a large enough to serve a major sector in gas processing plants.  These towers were built in Denver and will be shipped all the way to Pennsylvania for their final installation.  This project was conducted with a Nationwide RFP process and it was discovered the Precision Pipe had a competitive price (even with expensive trucking costs) and even better delivery schedule.

As the gas boom seems to be gaining traction, it seems many ASME shops are becoming back logged with large vessels such as these.  Many gas processing companies turn to the same fabricators over and over again and are willing to wait months for delivery at the expense of production and revenue.  As project managers become familiar with companies they tend to turn to the same companies time and time again.  This is probably a safe bet with long established business relationships, but the petroleum is a high risk high reward kind of business.  From the early stages of drilling, installation, permitting, and well stimulation this is in all reality a high stakes business.

Any company that is seeking a competitive edge should be looking for energetic and motivated businesses qualified to provide the same products on a better delivery date (any ASME code vessel will require the same QA QC and inspection).  The cost of lost production is much more expensive than a few thousand dollars in added cost or even shipping, yet procurement specialist and project managers turn to the same companies over and over again without looking at the competitive advantage they may have by using a new vendor with better delivery times.  As dollars are wasted waiting for equipment it seems more logical to strike up new business relationships based on better delivery schedules. Give us a call and see if we can get you to revenue quicker than your go to guy, you might be surprised!

http://www.precision-pipe.com

Natural Gas Processing Equipment

304 Stainless deethanizer tower

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I once had a friend that ask me how I could possibly make a living by making pressure vessels, implying there can’t be any demand for such products.  From an outsiders view he didn’t really know what a pressure vessel was or what it really did. I was amused by his comment because I knowingly realize that Pressure Vessel’s certainly lack any kind understanding by the general public, but the need, and application for pressure vessels is certainly in high demand.  I imagine most people must think this is really a quirky business but don’t really know what pressure vessels are, what they are used for, and how their application is important to our daily lives.  As long as there is a need for petroleum products, natural gas, heat, and cooling there are a network of pressure vessels that are necessary to keep our infrastructure safe and operational.  Likewise, pressure vessels are used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, breweries (yeah beer), food processing, water treatment, and countless other applications that enhance our daily lives. In fact, any component, piping, or tank that is designed to hold 15 psi or more is subject the guidelines and compliance of the ASME code for boilers and pressure vessels.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has set the standards for pressure vessel design and manufacturing that has enabled our country’s infrastructure to become a complex and vast network.  While this is nothing short of a modern marvel it is truly remarkable how the ASME guidelines have kept workers and the public safe from the explosive high pressure gases.  In fact, the ASME standards have proven to be completely effective as long as the code is followed by everyone who has ASME certified components.

Likewise, it is scary to hear about explosions, fires, and other catastrophic events in the oil and gas industry as well as commercial boilers.  These failures almost always occur when an operator of the equipment is either too lazy to follow code or is ignorant about the effects of not following ASME guidelines.  Recently, I heard about a repair on a Government owned and operated boiler (in an ASME compliant state) that had overlooked using an ASME qualified shop for more than an decade.  This repair required an “S” stamp to perform the work, but upon inspection there had been no less than ten previous repairs performed by a non-qualified company.  This was alarming for a few reasons.  First, the state was failing to oblige by their own guidelines.  This was a public hazard and a huge liability for the State, the licensed boiler operator, and for the welder who did the repairs.  It is imperative to any repair on an ASME component (boiler, pressure vessel, heat exchanger)  that such repairs are performed by a certified welder by a qualified shop.  In other words, the company performing such repairs, at a minimum, must have a National Board “R” stamp in good standing.  Further, the repairs must be performed in compliance of the applicable code as designated by the ASME and NBIC code guidelines.  It is alarming to see States that designate compliance to code construction fail to recognize the necessary steps to keep their own equipment in compliance.

What does this mean to the average person? Not much to be truthful. However, to anyone that has process equipment it is absolutely imperative to recognize the importance code compliance has on the safety of those aruond us.

The ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.

Therefore, the next time you fire up your gas grill (you can verify your propane tank is ASME / NBIC certified) remember that countless hours of engineering, design, review, materials and code compliance, nondestructive testing, and third party inspection have gone into keeping you and your loved ones safe, even if you don’t know what a pressure vessel is.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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It wasn’t too long ago that I walked onto a refinery job site that Precision Pipe was supply equipment to.  At this site I saw an interesting event about to transpire.  A welder who was not associated with our company was getting ready to light a torch next to a vessel we had just delivered the day before. It appeared to me that he intended to cut into the vessel. Surprised to be seeing this, I quickly made my way over to him to see what he was doing.  He informed me that the construction manager (from a well respected and large engineering firm) instructed him to make a modification to the pressure vessel as a solution to a piping problem.  I asked him to stand by for a second so that we could discuss with plant manger the implications his modifications might have.

The welder became rather irritated with me and informed me he had his directions and he intended to follow them.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the ASME code, let me explain the implications of this kind of modification in the ASME code world. First, if the welder had actually brought his torch to the shell of the vessel he would have undone the ASME certification on that vessel.  In other words the vessel would have no longer been a certified ASME pressure vessel and the customer would have wasted several thousands of dollars on that pressure vessel.  As the manufacturer I would have been required to remove the name plate from that vessel the moment I saw the flame come into contact with it. Second, that vessel would have no longer been acceptable to use on the job site as it was being implemented at a refinery in an ASME mandatory site and State.  Lastly, Precision would have likely had to of retaken possession of that vessel, repair it according to ASME standards, re-certify and qualify the vessel as meeting the ASME code.  The vessel would have also required a second name plate identifying it as an “R” or “Repaired” pressure vessel.

The reality of the situation was, the construction manager was under immense pressure to complete the project and at that point he was willing to cut corners.  What he didn’t anticipate was getting caught in a major blunder which would have added greater delays and expense to his project.  Anything worth doing is worth doing right and this is especially true for engineered products like ASME vessels. Knowing what the proper proceeders are for welding and modifying an ASME pressure vessel is imperative.  In this situation, the only way to modify the vessel is following the ASME code by using a qualified ASME shop with an “R” stamp.  Any welding or cutting on an ASME pressure vessel must be performed by a qualified shop that is in good standing with the National Board.  The pressure vessel will have to be reinspected by a third party authorized inspector and may need to have X-ray and hydrostatic testing to keep the ASME certification and name plate.

As an ASME qualified shop we encourage anyone to use us or another code shop as a resource to answer any question you may have on qualifications, modifications, and inspection of ASME pressure vessels, Heat Exchanger, or Boiler’s.  We would rather take a few minutes to understand and explain what your options are according to the code then risk an accident or injury .  In addition, if we can simply answer your question this a a free service we offer to any prospective customer.  If you are a plant manager and you are unsure if you can use any certified welder?  Give us a call and we can walk you though what it takes to maintain your ASME certifications.  If you have an ASME pressure vessel, Heat Exchanger, or Boiler that needs work or an addition of a nozzle or coupling.  Call us we can tell you what you must do to add the new components in a safe and code qualified manner.

As it turns out I was able to get the welder to wait a minute.  Explaining to him the consequences of his modification calmed him down long enough to bring in the decision makers.  The plant manager, the construction manager (having tucked his tail between his legs), and I all discussed the changes that were necessary and it was ultimately decided a ‘T’ in the process piping was the most effective work around for the problem.  Having an ASME specialist onsite that day saved thousands of dollars, countless hours, and potentially the integrity of the plants operational safety in the future.  Don’t be shy to email or call us or any other ASME qualified shop to discuss your project or equipment with ASME name plates. Your local rig welder or fabrication shop may be good, they may be able, they may even have a piece of paper that  say’s they are certified to make a weld. However, it is imperative you at least speak with a shop that is ASME qualified before you make any welds on a certified ASME pressure vessel.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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Material tracking is important.  We all know that.  This part of internal logistics is key when quoting jobs but is essential when working the job.  Nobody wants to be the reason for lost time, and if the reason is they can’t find the material, that is unforgivable.  Ensure you know what material you have and where to find it when it is needed.

While material tracking is important, of growing concern is the proper identification of the material.  PMI (Positive Material Identification) and  MTR’s (Material Test Requirements) are becoming necessities from companies to be part of the job package to properly identify the materials used for the job.  PMI uses a tool shaped like a gun and when aimed at any material, the trigger is pulled and the screen on the gun tells what material it is.  Simple?  Not hardly as training is required before you can use it.  Cost effective?  Possibly.  That depends on the size of your company and how much material goes through it’s doors.  The PMI tool costs upwards of $50,000, so this is not for the small business that is trying to get by in this economy.  The more cost effective method of material identification is the utilization of MTR’s.  MTR’s are copies of the paperwork telling where material comes from, it’s heat number, chemical composition, physical dimensions, and other details.  You can have your material supplier provide this paperwork when you order your material.  When you receive your material, be sure to verify the heat numbers on the material with the heat numbers on the MTR’s.   It doesn’t help to have an MTR if it does not match the material you have.  While not as quick as using the PMI tool, MTR’s will do the trick as long as you use some diligence, keep your paperwork up to date and ensure the heat number is prominent on material, even after it is cut.

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