A Brief Introduction to ASME Codes, and Their Importance to Pressure Vessel Manufacturing

March 13, 2020

Pressure vessels must be built with utmost care to ensure that they operate safely at all times. The reason for this is that their purpose is to hold volatile liquids, semi-solid substances and gases at specific pressures and at times, temperatures. All this means that it is mandatory for the manufacturers to adhere to all necessary specifications during the design, engineering, and fabrication stages in order to include all features that help the pressure vessels perform optimally day after day. Failure to do so can lead to unprofitable down times, minor injuries, catastrophic accidents and deaths. Luckily, manufacturers have the ASME Codes to guide them in their endeavours to create safe, reliable pressure vessels. In many cases, it is illegal for industries to use vessels that do not adhere to these codes. The following information will educate you further on these codes.

A Brief Explanation of ASME Codes

ASME stands for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It developed the codes to regulate the quality of pressure vessels in the USA but now the codes are adhered to by other countries as well, such as our country of Australia. A specific section of the ASME Codes is the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code or the BPVC, which explains all the mandatory construction requirements for pressure vessels. This code contains the following three subsections or divisions:

• Division One stipulates the requirements for the design and fabrication processes as well as the testing and inspection stages. On top of all this, it covers the certification of vessels that clearly states that they must be able to withstand internal and external pressures of over 15 psi. This holds true regardless of how the pressure is created. Direct heat, indirect heat and firing up a source are three examples of creating pressure in these vessels. Also, this subsection discusses specifications for acceptable construction materials for these vessels as well as brazing, forging, welding and other approved fabrication processes. Division one also contains numerous mandatory appendices that dictate design features, methods of non-destructive inspections and various testing standards along with UM, UV and U designators.

• Division two describes materials, design processes and non-destructive testing procedures in more detail than division one does to ensure the reader fully understands. It also mentions that utilization of U2 and UV designators. These regulations are specific to pressure vessels made for diving.

• Division three contains the in-depth details for the pressure vessels that must withstand internal and external pressures of over 10,000 psi. However, it does not dictate any minimum or maximum pressure limits for the above two sections. Also, it includes the regulations for using U3 and UV3 designators.

Contact Details

Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619

1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915

Ph: (03) 5909 8218

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