July 13, 2018
Looking at transportable pressure vessel equipment, maybe a mobile system that's about to get underway, alarms are going off in the project manager's head. Checklist in hand, a wandering pen is ticking off a line of high-level engineering factors. Not to worry, there's a health and safety certification attached to the rig, so that mandatory check is backed by the full force of a trained inspector's equipment-assessing expertise.
Things are bad enough when pressure equipment is mounted on a concrete and steel-reinforced platform. There are weld seams and vessel thickness problems to analyze, plus the weather is always exerting its own metal-fatiguing influence. Mobile equipment rigs have it even worse. Carried by road or rail or some other accepted form of transport, new risk factors come to light. Worst case scenarios are simulated and planned for, vessel designs are altered to accommodate the different scenarios, and the architectures of each system changes to satisfy new design mandates. Picture the following worst-case situations:
For transportable pressure vessel equipment can also include highly combustible materials. If carriage energy impacts one or more of those containment units, a catastrophic situation could develop.
The pressure vessels covered here are built to be mobile. Instead of a tall cylinder, think of an intermodal tank, one that's part of a train's long line of cars. Instead of a fuel containment vessel located on a fixed metal frame in an oil refinery, think of a portable tank on a specially designed truck, with the entire rig rolling smoothly along a busy highway. A health and safety inspector comes to this mobile rig with an entirely different mindset. Sure, the dangers are mostly the same, but now they're on the move. On-site, there's always an emergency handling plan on hold as a leak handling defence. Out on the road, highway, or open sea, the risks are harder to control. One mistake, even one made by another driver, could be enough to trigger a dire emergency.
To avoid such dire circumstances, health and safety inspectors work off of the AS/NZS 3711.6 guidelines and other certified rulings. The goal is to eliminate the "coulds" and "what ifs," the travelling dangers touched upon over the course of this article. Vehicle safety is key, so braking systems and chassis undercarriage frames must be inspected. At heart, though, we plan for the worst by inspecting all transportable pressure vessel equipment to make sure those containment units are prepared for every eventuality.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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