Key considerations when inspecting pressure vessels under API 510

Examination and upkeep of pressure vessels are of most extreme significance when managing any facility’s optimal working. In most facilities and plants, pressure vessels are commonly used assets. Under the API 510 standard, any equipment, from propane bullet tank to butane sphere to heat exchanges, can be considered pressure vessels. Upkeep and maintenance of pressure vessels can only be performed by a certified and licensed worldwide inspection services company.

What is API 510, and What Vessels Does it Cover?

API  510 is a code composed by the American Petroleum Institute to suggest best practices for the “IIn-service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration” of pressing factor vessels. This spreads out the examination spans, things that should be checked and tried, counts of basic elements, and techniques for the fixes. API 510 additionally references supporting codes, including API 571 and API 572, which cover Damage Mechanisms and Inspection Procedures, separately.

Any pressure vessel that was designed and constructed to serve the purpose of a pressure vessel is included in the API 510 standard. Besides this, equipment falling under the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code usually operate at 15 psi or higher pressure. If any vessels fall under the category of API 510 as per the local or state authority, they will be considered pressure vessels.

Why should one conduct API 510 inspection?

Initially, pressure vessels are subjected to rigorous inspection and examination during their installation. The first inspection is done during installation to; Make sure the pressure vessel is designed in compliance with the standards and ready to be used. Keep a record of the initial measurement. Tank inspection companies inspect the pressure vessel at regular intervals.

Subsequent inspections are done under the inspection plan developed by the facility owner or manager. The inspection plan is based up the

•             type of pressure vessel is used

•             the material used to build the vessel

•             The purpose of the pressure vessel

•             Damage mechanism

The inspection plan also helps in devising the protocols to be followed by the API inspectors when conducting pressure vessel tests. After the inspection, the API inspector sends their findings and possible measures needed to fix the issues to the facility owner.

In case there is a change in the type of service performed by the pressure vessel, the old inspection plan should be discarded, and the facility owner should draft a new one. Doing so helps in keeping the pressure vessel in optimal condition. If the facility owner has changed, the new facility owner is responsible for making a new inspection plan.

Similarly, if the facility’s location has changed, a thorough internal and external inspection of the pressure vessel is required. The examination is performed based on API 510 codes.

What are the Time Intervals Between Inspections?

Two methods are used when it comes to determining the ideal interval between inspections of the pressure vessels. They are the time-based inspection method and risk-based inspection method. Under the API 510 codes, various types of pressure vessel inspection are conducted including, on-stream, internal inspection, external inspection, thickness measurement, etc.