Posts Tagged ‘ASME stamps’

Does your company fabricate or market boilers?  Do you need to have your boilers certified in accordance with the standards for Power Boilers from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)?  Well then, an S-Stamp is for you. In this case, the S-stamp is for Power Boilers and applies to two types of boilers under Section I of the latest copy of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.   First, it applies to boilers in which steam or other vapor is produced at a pressure greater than 15 psig (100 kPa) external to itself.  Second, it applies to high temperature water boilers intended for use with operating pressures greater than 160 psig (1.1 MPa) and/or has temperatures exceeding 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Getting the S-stamp is not easy as there are many things a company needs before ASME will issue the stamp.  These “things” include but are not limited to:  A Quality Control (QC) System, initial investments and personnel to maintain.  These subjects are covered in more detail under  sections  PG-104 through 109, and PG-111 of Section I of the most recent revision of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.  These sections cover general information, types of stamps relative to Section I, applications, agreements, quality control systems required, and stamping of boilers and associated power piping as well as field-assembled boilers.   Once a company has satisfied the ASME requirements, it will receive the S-Stamp (and thus use it to stamp boilers) and a Certificate of Authorization from ASME to enable them to start code construction.  Additionally, although a company may have an S-stamp, it is also “good business practice” that the company has product liability insurance on the boiler prior to delivery.


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Last month I went to an AWS meeting and had a very interesting conversation with a rig welder who owned his own business. We were discussing the work available in the Colorado region and he mentioned that he was doing some repairs on pressure vessels. Curiously I asked if he had a current R stamp or if the company he was working for had a current R stamp. He replied, “I’m just working on some nozzles so they told me I don’t need an R Stamp”. This caught me by surprise. I had understood that any weld on a pressure vessel was part of the ASME code boundary and would require a procedure along with several other items to be approved by an Authorized Inspector prior to work beginning. Not wanting to sound foolish I decided to hold my tongue and do some research within ASME Section VIII, Division 1. Although my definition was somewhat simplified the mind set was correct. Here’s an excerpt from the 2007 edition/2009b addenda of the code:

“U-1(e) In relation to geometry of pressure containing parts, the scope of this Division shall include the following:

U-1(e)(1) where external piping; other pressure vessels including heat exchangers; or mechanical devices, such as pumps, mixers, or compressors, are to be connected to the vessel:

(a) the welding end connection for the first circumferential joint for welded connections [see UW-13(h);

(b) the first threaded joint for screwed connections;

(c) the face of the first flange for bolted, flanged connections;

(d) the first sealing surface for proprietary connections or fitting;”

The list goes on and for the sake of losing whoever might be reading this I’ll leave it to the reader to look up the rest. Let me summarize U-1(e): The code boundary includes any weld joining a nozzle to the main vessel body, the coupling for threaded connections, the weld connecting a weld neck flange AND the flange connected to the piping connected to the main vessel body. Further in U-1(e) the blind flanges or “pressure retaining covers” are also included in the code boundary. Does this impact the way work is performed on vessels here at Precision Pipe & Vessel, LLC? No. We have a current R Stamp issued by the Nation Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors. But for those of you welders and welding companies that are working on ASME certified and registered pressure vessels without an R Stamp I would recommend you stop until you get one. You are accepting the liability of the pressure vessel repair without a qualified Quality System and are by-passing the systems put in place to protect the public from catastrophic failures. If you have a minute check out the 2004 reference on the US Chemical Safety Board website (there’s a link at the end of this blog). The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and the NBIC (National Board Inspection Code) codes were written in response to failures of boilers and pressure vessels over the years. They are for the safety of the public. Beware of people and businesses that go around the proper steps of repairing boilers and pressure vessels.


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The economy has certainly effected work loads and the kind of work many shops are doing this year. In previous years it wasn’t unusual to have a back log of 6 or more months on new products. This year a back log of 2 to 3 is normal for most ASME fabricators. Although the work isn’t coming to us as in years past there are still plenty of opportunities. We have found that there has been a steep increase in repair, recertification, and rerate work for ASME vessels. As one of the few shops with a “S”, “U”, “NB” & “R” stamp we have been able to pursue a broad range of work with clients looking to make due with current equipment. This is a great way to finish projects and keep the bottom line as low as possible. Rerating a vessel can keep a project moving forward using equipment that has already been paid for. Comparatively, rerating or re-certifying a pressure vessel is a mere fraction in price and time but the results are the same. Another great option is finding and reimplementing used equipment. Let’s face it a used tank or vessel will be useful long after any of us are around to care. As a practice in good stewardship not just during tough times using used tanks and vessels can save substantial capital and bring more projects to our companies and to an ultimate completion. In the meantime companies looking for good deals on new equipment have a lot of buying power at this time too. Many shops will be able to provide the same equipment quicker than previous years at reduced rates. End users that have not seen price reductions on equipment should shop around and see if your vendor has become complacent in providing the best deal possible.

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