A Quick Guide To Pressure Vessel Inspections & Maintenance

Posted by Julian Vance-Daniel on Jun 25, 2019 10:14:17 AM

A Quick Guide To Pressure Vessel Inspections & Maintenance
Pressure vessel design has to take into account a wide range of factors, maintenance being one of the most important. Most pressure vessels are designed for long-term use, meaning that servicing should be factored into the lifetime cost of the vessel. These costs can be reduced by designing a pressure vessel for easy access for maintenance, cleaning and repairs. In the UK, the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) oblige operators to carry out scheduled inspections of their pressure vessels to ensure they are safe and in good working order.

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These inspections must be carried out by a qualified engineer and are usually linked to a regular servicing plan. Our Vessco pressure vessels are designed to facilitate compliance with PSSR, or any other inspection and maintenance standards you have to comply with in your jurisdiction.


Why Inspect Your Pressure Vessel?

Pressure vessels are potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. The purpose of inspection is to identify and manage risks, and to mitigate them if possible. Additional precautions should be taken if a pressure vessel uses corrosive fluids or poses an explosion risk. If your vessel operates in a hazardous environment, such as a nuclear power plant or oil & gas installation, additional inspection and maintenance steps may be necessary. We can advise on the appropriate servicing actions when commissioning your vessel.

Pressure vessel design can incorporate safety features, such as pressure monitoring, automated relief valves, and emergency shutoff controls located away from the vessel itself, to safeguard operators in the event of an emergency.


Preparing A Vessel For Inspection

Regardless of the size and function of your pressure vessel, inspection checks are broadly similar. The vessel should be isolated, depressurised and drained of air or fluid. The exterior of the vessel should then be cleaned and allowed to cool down if necessary. Some vessels have removable covers for maintenance, while others have access hatches. The pressure vessel’s location and surrounding environment determines where access points can be located. Our design engineers consider your siting requirements when designing access points for your pressure vessel.


Regular Inspections Should Include:

  • Visual inspection of the pressure vessel shell for dents, cracks and corrosion.
  • Inspection of pipes and valves for wear and tear or corrosion.
  • Compressed air testing for leaking joints or seals.
  • Pressure testing the safety relief valve.
  • Ultrasonic testing to rule out degradation in the vessel hull.
  • Testing to ensure the correct internal working pressure.
  • Verification that all pipes and connections are functioning properly.


Inspection Reporting

How often a pressure vessel needs to be inspected depends on the size of the vessel and its use. For each pressure vessel, the operator must prepare a Written Scheme of Examination, identifying the potential risks associated with the vessel and setting out a maintenance schedule at regular intervals.

After each inspection, a written report must be logged specifying the vessel’s condition and servicing requirements and itemising any maintenance or repairs.


Find Out More

At Vessco Engineering we design high-performance, compliant, safe pressure vessels for a wide range of industries. To discuss your own application please call 01656 750262 today.

Image source: Wikimedia

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