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Improving Pressure Equipment Integrity for ASME Compliance

Learn how we used root cause analysis to examine the brittle failure of a pressure vessel and identify performance gaps with the goal of improving the industrial manufacturing and fabrication process.

Project Objectives

Improving Pressure Equipment Integrity for ASME Compliance


Project Overview

Pressure vessels are storage containers designed to withstand pressures above 15 pounds of force per square inch and used in applications such as oil and gas refining operations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), recent pressure vessel inspections show that there are a considerable number of cracked and damaged vessels in operation, which could potentially result in leakage or rupture failures. Pressure vessel failures are not only costly to operators while critical equipment is taken out of service for repairs, but these material and mechanical breakdowns could potentially have a catastrophic effect on life and property. To prevent the loss of integrity, these critical industrial assets must have safer, more reliable designs and should be installed, operated and maintained in accordance with the latest material and fabrication guidelines such as the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC).

ABS Group conducted a root cause analysis (RCA) to examine potential root causes that led to the mechanical failure of a pressure vessel operating as a separator in an oil and gas application. Understanding that the manufacturing and fabrication process can introduce low fracture toughness and cause brittle failure in steel, our engineers analyzed the mechanical properties based on ASME BPVC material and fabrication guidelines to identify performance gaps and develop corrective actions. These findings may be used to improve the manufacturing and fabrication process with the goal of preventing brittle failure and other mechanical integrity issues in pressure equipment operations.

Client Needs
  • Investigate vulnerabilities and root causes that can lead to brittle failure in pressure vessels/industrial storage containers
  • Analyze/witness activities, such as steel welding procedures, during manufacturing and fabrication to determine conditions that may reduce fracture toughness and/or propagate material/mechanism damage
  • Make recommendations for correcting performance gaps to prevent failures that would take equipment out of service



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