Everything you need to know about ASME pressure vessels
Safety and quality of tanks are two pillars, built on knowledge, experience of designers and a series of procedures, often difficult to implement. What does the certification process look like? Is ASME a differentiator in the market? What are the differences between tanks made according to ASME and others? Karolina Palenga, Wiktor Czerep, engineers from Gpi Poland, share their knowledge and experience, revealing ASME to us.
It all began in 1880, when a group of industrial specialists founded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME- American Society of Mechanical Engineers) to create regulations for the design, manufacture and inspection of steam boilers. They paid particular attention to safety. The association then began certifying quality control systems.
Today’s ASME is a detailed design regulation that covers, among other things, materials inspection, in the case of Gpi, pressure vessel manufacturing and assembly, NDE testing and product certification.
In order to obtain ASME certification, patience and detail are required. The procedures impose on the entrepreneur the need to meet high standards of work, raise the competence of employees and implement improvements. It is worth noting that gaining ASME certification is not the end of the story. It is necessary to be ready for external audits and to expand the machine park with equipment compliant with the American standard. The company must develop and maintain a quality control book and test procedures.
The assessment of the company is carried out by a delegate from ASME and the Authorised Inspection Body (AIA), whose task is to prepare the organisation for the certification audit. The Pre-Joint Review audit report is reviewed and the company seeking certification implements the classified recommendations. Then, verification activities are carried out and a stage called Joint Review is reached, i.e. a proper audit, on the basis of which a certificate will be issued or withheld.
The certificate is valid for 3 years and to extend its applicability, ASME requires a re-audit. Inspection services are required for a pressure vessel to be stamped with the certification mark.
Why ASME certification?
ASME is mandatory in the United States and Canada, but given the economic and industrial globalisation the regulations are accepted in over 140 countries worldwide. The prescription for possible difficulties in exporting products is to use the ASME BPVC (Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code) regulations.
The ASME certification programme is recognised as a guarantee of quality for both the tank manufacturer and the customer. Undoubtedly, certification makes it easier to win new contractors and is often one of the conditions of the contract.
In a nutshell, ASME consists of :
- safety standards: requirements developed by experts,
- product certifications: the manufacturer evaluates quality systems for safety and their compliance with ASME standards,
- certification mark (ASME stamp): affixed to certified pressure vessels as evidence of compliance with safety standards.
“All standards oblige us to check both pressure and structural components. ASME has a more practical approach to tank design and manufacturing than the European standards. However, this is my subjective assessment.”
Special Engineer, Gpi Poland
Gpi engineer's view
Gpi Poland is ASME BPVC Div1 certified, this means that we can manufacture and market pressure equipment whose design pressure and operating conditions do not exceed the standard.
Importantly for the designer, and often for the customer, the design code does not have to be applied only to pressure equipment. We successfully apply it to equipment operating at atmospheric pressure or vacuum.
When we receive a request to manufacture and supply tanks, we focus on two factors; the customer’s requirements and the regulations that apply where the tank will be used.
Wiktor Czerep, Special Engineer Gpi Poland, who knows practically everything about ASME, admits that tanks designed according to ASME are generally 10-20 % more massive.
Comparing the European and American ASME standards in terms of the level of complexity of the calculation equations, Wiktor shares his insight: “All standards oblige us to check both pressure and structural components. ASME has a more practical approach to tank design and manufacturing than the European standards. However, this is my subjective assessment”.
Pressure vessels with ASME at Gpi Poland
Gpi Poland has been an ASME-certified pressure vessel manufacturer since 2019. In Poland, only 39 companies have the same certificate. The specialists work closely with the Authorised Inspection Body, which in Gpi’s case is TÜV Nord Poland.
The main interest in ASME-certified tanks is shown by the chemical industry, although this group also includes food companies, pharmaceutical companies and breweries.
Tanks designed and manufactured according to the American standard can reach European markets. One example is a project for a company in Finland.
“The four chemical tanks, at the customer’s request, were to be designed in accordance with ASME, but in this case they also had to be subject to European standards. The design of the tanks itself was not difficult, but because of the rather high pressure under which they were to operate, we had to be careful when selecting the individual components. In such situations we always consult with the engineering department and choose the best solution,” says Karolina Palenga, Sales Engineer at Gpi Poland.
ASME requires patience, both on the part of the tank manufacturer and the customer. Karolina Palenga adds: “Thanks to the knowledge and experience of working with ASME and the possibilities available to Gpi, creating an offer for a customer is no more complicated than with other standards. However, it can be more time consuming. This is due to the fact that we import some of the components from outside the EU, which also extends the timetable for making such a tank. This is dictated by compliance with strict standards and safety”.
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