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Posts Tagged ‘ASME stamps’

 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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One of my favorite things about working here at Precision is that we practice  Manage By Wandering Around.  (MBWA as Introduced by Peters/ Waterman in the book, In Search of Excellence)  While the authors were doing research for the book they interviewed HP President John Young who explained what the term meant and its importance to HP especially during times of explosive growth.  Reflecting back on the concept of MBWA and first learning of its meaning Peter’s writes, “MBWA … Managing By Wandering Around … quickly became our favorite “excellence” idea! Technically, it meant staying in direct touch (damn the bureaucracy!) with the folks who do the work. Metaphorically, it stood for all/much of what was wrong with American management—McKinsey & Harvard Business School-style—as we confronted the Japanese challenge in areas such as product quality. That is, “big business” had become an abstraction. It was a “by the numbers” affair, where front-line “personnel” were pretty much interchangeable parts in a well-oiled “machine” and where “strategy” was considered far more important than primitive ideas such as quality and service and turned-on folks. Of course by then the bearings had lost most of their oil and seized up!”

Ok, I know what you are thinking and you are right, we’re not a giganto conglomerate that has thousands of people working for us at multiple locations!  Yes, this is true, but what is even truer is that on a daily basis small companies must fight against losing their nimbleness, effectiveness, and..well, their human touch.  We believe in measurement and standards, but not at the expense of losing touch and becoming irrelevant.  We believe in knowing our employees, not intrusively, but in such a way that they know they are a valuable member of our team.  We believe in getting out of our offices and wandering around.

Nobody in our company does this better than our President, who regularly practices MBWA and often times finds himself in the middle of lending a hand to one of our employees.  (And on occasion our customers)  There is no substitute for MBWA; it is the lighthouse that steers the small business away from the shoreline of irrelevancy that it is headed for.  Engage in MWBA today…seriously, get up and go wander!

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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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Driving into work today, I was intentionally cut off by a truck with a trailer attached.  As I was running into the shoulder of the highway and figuring out what kind of “Bo Duke“ move I was going to make, I was able to get a good look at company name on the side of the truck.  It was a company that our business has used in the past and will think twice about using in the future.

The difference between future business and closing your business could be a simple as courteous driving.

Recently a salesperson came in selling uniforms.  I politely told him that we already have a vendor that we are pleased with, but in a few months I will be evaluating the service and obtaining quotes.  He told me a little about his company and their values and we exchanged business cards.  I chuckled at the difference between our company cards.  My company has square cards, his company cards are circular.  As we chatted each other’s cards up – I made the suggestion that his card would be better served as a coaster…a few weeks later, I received a card in the mail with a coaster enclosed.

Effort creates opportunity.

What I love about working for Precision is that hustle, courtesy, and going the extra-mile is second nature to us.  We are always looking for ways to save our customers money, improve lead-time, and deliver an excellent product.  If you haven’t had a chance to work with us, give us a call.  We would love the opportunity to partner with you.

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Having a market advantage is a huge goal for most companies especially during market down turns.  Often times a company may have such an advantage and not know it, or at least not know how to capitalize on such opportunities.  One market segment that Precision Pipe excels at and enjoys is building Dew Point Processing Plants also know as refrigeration plants, NGL, or Natural Gas Liquids Plants.  What sets Precision Pipe & Vessel aside from our competitors is we have many different approaches to building gas processing equipment that other fabricators don’t consider or offer to their customers.

Our approaches include remanufacturing used equipment in a quality manner giving the appearance the equipment is new (often times it is as good as new).  We also painstakingly examine and inspect each mechanical component to ensure reliability and give estimated time before component overhaul.  We also build complete brand new plants from the skid up.  All of our products are turn key with complete instrumentation and piping interconnect as specified by each customer.  As soon as the plant has been connected to utilities and the associated site piping our systems are ready to be started up and turned over to operations.

Our most recent gas plants have taken yet another approach that provide the longevity  and the associated technology of new and modern Gas Plants yet maintain the cost savings of remanufactured equipment.  Recently we have assembled a plant that used brand new wear components such as a refrigeration compressor, glycol pumps, instrumentation, heat exchangers, and other moving components.  However, we created substantial saving to our client by using ASME pressure vessels and a glycol re-boiler off of used equipment.  We simply identified vessels in our inventory and evaluated condition and specification according to the refrigeration plant.  Next, we transplanted the vessels onto the new skid and re-registered the vessels with the National Board.  This process cut months out of the fabrication schedule and reduced the cost of the plant by nearly 30% for our customer.

When it was all said and done we shipped a modern gas plant to our customer complete with computerized controls and modern instrumentation at a greatly  reduced cost.  We were also informed by our customer that our delivery was several months quicker then the next best offer.  As it stands today the plant has operated for nearly a year with no shut downs and only routine maintenance performed.  This has become a good case study for cutting costs and improving our customers ROI by using creative and alternative fabrication techniques.

Precision Pipe and it’s staff has fabricated nearly 100 NGL plants over the last 30 years that are operating in various locations in North and South America.  We have developed a reputation for finding good quality used equipment, rebuilding our customers antiquated systems, and building brand new equipment to operate in todays modern gas fields.  Precision Pipe

NGL Plant

Precision Pipe uses new and used equipment to build great products

is a fully qualified ASME code shop (U,R,S, & NB stamps) that specializes in gas processing equipment, gasification, alternative energy, and product development engineering and fabrication.

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As an ASME code shop it has been very beneficial to our business having the added segment of renewable energy projects.  Throughout our 30 year history as a company most of our success and failure has coincided with the success and failures of the oil and gas industry.  As it stands today we are still very dependent on our traditional energy clients and their projects, as this makes up at least half of our overall business each year.  However, it is great to have another segment that is not dependent on the price of oil and gas to keep our fabrication shop afloat while gas and oil prices are down.  Last year the lions share of our work was in alternative fuels, clean energy, and clean-tech segments.  Not having this industry 10 years ago (not to say it didn’t exist it just wasn’t as lucrative at that time) this recession would have been much worse than it is even now. During the downturn we saw big decreases in our back log but we were able to secure and build several projects and skidded packages for clients that are trying to bring new clean technologies to market.  Some of these technologies improve pollution and energy consumption while others aim and finding a competitive replacement to petroleum products.

As we look to the future in this new energy economy Precision Pipe is excited to be at the cross roads.  We are very optimistic about the continued and successful use of fossil fuels and their associated projects and we are thrill to see these projects getting back on their feet again.  All the while we are also embracing new companies that are developing technology to change the way the world uses energy and fuels itself.  In the near future we hope to be building NGL refrigeration plants and gas separators alongside catalyst beds and gasification plants to power our nation and world.  As it is clearly a new world for fabrication, Precision Pipe  is well positioned as a leader in developing new technologies.  We strive to help our clients build prototypes of their own proprietary technologies for this new segment of the US economy in addition to building components for established petrochemical processes.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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When it comes to kicking off a project we usually focus most of our attention and energies in moving the project from beginning to end.   For some of us, there is excitement in the start of a new project and a sigh of relief when the project ends (with a whole lot of hope and nail biting in between).  Not long into the life of a project there comes a sobering reality of the tedious tasks that are required to make a project successful.  Our follow through with these tasks are principal to the outcome and overall success of the project and ultimately how customers perceive us.  Follow through is best achieved within a team environment where every member of the team is using their strengths to maximize the effort given towards the project.   Within a team there is a greater level of accountability and creativity that leads to effective communication and clear direction.  Clear direction leads to efficient work flow and easy identification of bottle necks and other potential problems making your project economical and creating greater margin within your business.

Don’t forget to conduct follow up meetings regularly to track progress.  These brief meeting should be done at the beginning of the day, be brief, and cover what top tasks each team member has to accomplish that day.  Above all, have fun!  The more you enjoy your team and project, the greater strength you have to complete the tasks you have throughout your day.

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