ASME Pressure Vessels
In the area of boilers and pressure vessels, the codes and standards that the ASME pressure vessels regulations cover are written and created by engineers who use their experience, background, knowledge, and expertise to develop guidelines for producers. Manufacturers that meet the ASME requirements are given a certification that can be displayed on their products.
What are the ASME Pressure Vessels Standards?
Of the many types of equipment that operate in hospitals, factories, schools, and other facilities, boilers and pressure devices can be the most hazardous and potentially dangerous. The mishandling and poor construction of these devices is what led to the creation of the standards by the ASME for pressure vessels.
ASME pressure vessel codes are used for all forms of pressurized equipment, such as vessels, piping, fittings, and boilers. The codes are designed to cover any of the potential hazards a pressure device can create. They cover the design, construction, maintenance, and changes regarding pressurized equipment.
The codes and standards are broken into groups. Codes labeled VIII-1 are for vessels, towers, and exchangers. Ones that are identified as I and IV are for boilers and hot water heaters. A series of codes that begin with B31.1 and include B31.3 and B31.5 are for pipe systems with B31.3 being for fittings. When a manufacturer produces a pressure device that is outside the range of the established codes, ASME code VIII-2 is used where an analysis of the design and construction is performed.
ASME Pressure Vessels Codes for Boilers
The ASME pressure vessels codes for boilers cover more than the construction and design of boilers. Since poorly designed and manufactured boilers are a very real and dangerous hazard, the ASME developed guidelines for construction and standards for materials and piping. Along with those requirements, they also published methods for the care of boilers.
The ASME pressure vessels standards for boilers cover the power for miniature boilers, high temperature water boilers, heat recovery steam generators, and fire pressure vessels. The codes are used for the production of various types of locomotives as well as devices that provide stationary service. The codes for boilers are found in the ASME section labeled boiler and pressure vessel codes (BPVC), which include BPVC-II, V, VIII-1, and IX.
The second section of boiler codes is a set of guidelines that are directions for people who operate, maintain, and inspect power boilers. They include the full spectrum of boilers from stationary to portable but do not include locomotives, high temperature boilers, or nuclear power plant boilers. Included in the guidelines are directions for operating auxiliary and additional devices.
ASME Pressure Vessels Codes
Since it is not possible to have standards and codes to cover all possible conditions, the ASME pressure vessels codes offer general nonspecific codes that are still covered on the BPVC section. These codes are divided into divisions one, two, and three that cover different aspects of the production of pressure vessels.
Division one is regarding the design, fabrication, inspection, testing, and certification of pressure vessels that operate at a psi that exceeds 15 psi. They cover any form of vessel that creates pressure and is used for pressure vessel construction. Included are the various fabrication methods such as welding, forging, and brazing.
Division two standards cover any aspects of construction that may not be covered in division one and is a more rigorous set of guidelines. They expand to cover pressure vessels that may have human occupants such as diving bells.
Division three deals with high pressure vessels that operate at extremely high psi. Vessels in this category operate at psi that exceeds 10,000 psi and does not have a pressure limit. Certifications in this category are U3 or UV3.
The Importance of ASME Pressure Vessels Codes
The establishment of the ASME pressure vessels codes is the result of problems that developed during the early stages of boiler use. At the time, several tragedies occurred that resulted in significant damage to buildings and deaths. These accidents led to public outrage and the development of the boiler pressure vessels codes that were incorporated into the ASME.
As with every aspect of the ASME, the pressure vessels codes ensure public safety and provide established and clear guidelines for producers and users of pressure vessels. History has proven that the guidance of the ASME has led to safer use of pressure vessels.