The Importance of High Standards in Building Pressure Vessels

Pressure vessels are the typical case of an industrial component that is mainly known by experts of the manufacturing sector, in spite of being a constant presence in everyday life.

Domestic boilers, engine and gas cylinders are only a few examples of pressure vessels for everyday use. In other contexts however, such as petrochemical plants, their use is more complex and the conditions can become extreme.

Factors such as the type of substances used, operating temperature and pressure, and climatic conditions can greatly affect the level of required safety standards of a pressure vessel.

For example, if the vessel is designed to contain potentially toxic chemical substances under high pressure, and it has to operate in a very hot or cold environment, then its safety standards will have to be much higher than a simple domestic boiler.

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when pressure vessels were invented, quality levels were indeed quite low and the story of that period is studded with several accidents, some of them tragic.

It was in the aftermath of one of these accidents, at the beginning of the XX century in a shoe factory in Massachussets, that the ASME codified standard was first conceived. All of Cividac’s pressure vessels fully adhere to those standards.

After more than one hundred years of progress and continuous monitoring, the safety levels of pressure vessels dramatically improved. Thanks to quality tests employing X-rays and ultrasounds, it is now possible to verify the also conditions of the inside of a vessel are up to the required standards.

Regardless of the context of use, the basic structure of a pressure vessel remains fairly simple: the central body is formed by a circular-shaped sheet of steel and two “caps” on both sides. Input and output valves are applied to the external shell, while the internal structure is specific to its final purpose.

In spite of such simplicity, there are two crucial aspects when it comes to pressure vessels: thickness of the steel and quality of the welding. If thickness is uneven and the quality of the welding is anything less than excellent, then the safety of the final product could be jeopardised.

Cividac’s portfolio offers several examples of pressure vessels of large dimensions, designed for complex industrial purposes and with very high safety standards.