Air Receiver Vessels: How Often Should They Be Inspected?

May 15, 2020

An air receiver is probably the most common type of unfired pressure vessel. However, due to minimum size inspection thresholds employed by the vast majority of jurisdictions, many of the smaller air receivers will not qualify for a mandatory in service inspection. The typical inspection threshold sizes referenced in jurisdictional regulations are 5 cubic feet or 15 cubic feet in volume as long as the maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP) does not exceed 250 psi, or 1-½ cubic feet in volume as long as the MAWP does not exceed 600 psi. The inspector must review the jurisdiction's inspection requirements to ensure compliance with the appropriate size and pressure limitations.

Air Receiver Vessels Basics

While most air receivers are of simple design consisting of a shell and two dished heads, some are designed to incorporate a filter or separator element within the vessel. These vessels may be "T" shaped with one bolted flat head which provides access to the filter or separator element. These uniquely shaped vessels are commonly found in use with large industrial air compressors. Air receivers will be installed in any facility requiring a reservoir of compressed air. Compressed air uses include: tire inflation, air-powered tools, pneumatic cylinders or pistons, sand- or shot-blasting, painting, cleaning, air motors, conveying systems, pneumatic controls and breathing air

The design of a compressed air system is dictated in part by the pressure, volume, and air quality (including cleanliness and dryness) needed in any given industry or process. The size of the air receiver in the system is normally based on the volume of air produced by the compressor and the user's desire for a stated capacity in cubic feet per minute (cfm) at a specified pressure. The air receiver helps in maintaining a constant pressure in the system by minimizing the fluctuations of a compressor cycling on and off.

Air Receiver Vessel Inspection Documents

There are documents that must be supplied to ensure the air receiver vessel is safe and compliant or legal. These are purchase receipt and OEM instructions, a copy of the certificate of design registration from a state or territory in Australia. (E.g. a Notice of Plant Design Registration), MDR – A Manufacturer’s Data Record is submitted by the vessel manufacturer to the purchaser, which has records of material grade, thickness and corrosion allowance, weld methods utilized in fabricating the vessel, NDT performed, record of hydro test, etc. and a drawing of the fabricated vessel if the supply is to a Western Australian mine.

Air Receiver Vessel Site Location

To reduce the hazard level, the air receiver should be located away from people and away from vehicle routes and be safeguarded (or caged). According to AS4343:2014 this should reduce the Hazard Level Value, which in turn could lower the Hazard from e.g. a low C to D.

Installation should be in safe place, preferably out of weather, near the compressor and main use of air, handy to controls and mounted so that waste fluid re directed to its drain. This can reduce the length of pipe control cabling.

If site is dusty, protect safety relief valves (SRV) from blockage, by locating in a cleaner area. If this is not practical then consider covering the SRV and pressure gauge with a light bag or similar. The air receiver must have an appropriate safety relief valve, pressure gauge and a drain valve fitted at the lowest position of the receiver

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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