Pressure vessels are use to contain fluids, vapors or gases for the purposes of storage, mixing or transportation.
The ASME code of vessel manufacturing standards is the most commonly followed one, although specialized industries may have their own further requirements for manufacturing standards. ASME tanks are used in a wide range of industrial applications such as chemical, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, oil and fuel and plastic industries.
Engineers are required to abide by ASME standards for design components such as materials used for vessel construction, size, shape, temperature range and intended pressure level. In addition, once being used for processing applications, tanks and vessels are required to be regularly inspected and maintained according to ASME levels, checking for leaks, cracks or ruptured seams.
As every process which uses a pressure tank is under great force and compression, even small irregularities or cracks in a vessel could result in both property and physical damage due to an explosion, fire and flying shrapnel metal. ASME pressure vessels are measured in gallons according to their capacity, and can range anyway from 50 to several thousand gallons.
Many specifics of ASME tank construction are dependent on the intended application of the tank. There are standard options which are able to meet a wide variety of pressure vessels needs, however tanks can also be constructed according to custom specifications.
There are a number of other construction options when it comes to designing tanks such as: removable or attached lids, stands and supports for tanks that are situated on their sides, stairways and ladders for individuals that work around large tanks, sight glass windows for monitoring the liquid inside, and process plumbing for applications requiring the process.
There are three common processes that engineers usually create ASME vessels with: forging, welding and brazing, all of which involve heating pieces of metal and then joining them in the form of the vessel. Furthermore, tanks can be horizontally or vertically placed, with support braces for larger tanks to prevent collapse if necessary.
They can be located above ground or underground, depending on their intended use and whether easy access to a tank is a factor in the process or not. Smaller tanks can be mounted on the back of a large truck or vehicle and used for portable storage, mixing or processing. Tanks can be made of stainless steel, titanium, carbon steel, nickel or aluminum, or from thermoplastics with high strength properties.