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  • Key Considerations in Pressure Vessel Replacement


Replacement of a pressure vessel is a fairly typical occurrence in chemical and oil and gas refinery industries. But replacing a key piece of equipment such as a pressure vessel nearing the end of its end of life is rarely as simple an undertaking as it seems – especially if that pressure vessel is decades old.  Changes to specifications, innovation in the technology, and adaptations to the original design spec over the lifetime of the older vessel all need to be taken into consideration in replacement planning.

Ease of Replacement

Replacing a key piece of equipment such as a pressure vessel that is decades old is never a simple task. Beyond the decommissioning procedures of the old vessel, the new vessel must be designed and engineered to ensure safe, timely and effective replacement.

Working with the pressure vessel manufacturer it is important to communicate key information to the design process such as: 

–       End use application of the vessel and environment in which it will operate.

–       Location of intakes and vessel penetrations (keeping in mind that changes may have been undertaken over time to accommodate additional loads or equipment that were not part of the original design specification.) 

New Innovations

Replacement of a pressure vessel also opens a window of opportunity to take advantage of new innovations in design or new design and construction methods that may improve your production efficiency.  Or, you may simply wish to use this opportunity to modify the original design spec to accommodate for changes in your business, adjust for new applications or again, to achieve unrealized efficiencies.

Changes to ASME Specifications 

If your existing pressure vessel is decades old, it is certain that there have been changes in the related ASME specifications that must be accommodated within the new vessel’s design spec. For instance ASME now demands that design specifications take into consideration repetitive or “cyclic” loading, which can result in fatigue damage.  It is important that your supplier be conversant in the current ASME specifications and that the replacement vessel be designed in accordance with code.  Not only can material selection or thickness be impacted but also the extent of Non-Destructive Examinations, such as Liquid Penitrant or Radiography Testing.

Consideration of Lifecycle Costs

In an earlier blog post, we talked about the consideration of lifecycle costs when designing a pressure vessel.  Replacement offers a perfect opportunity to ensure the design process takes into account all of the variables that can ultimately positively or negatively impact a pressure vessel’s lifetime cost.  

If you are seeking to end of life your pressure vessel equipment and are seeking a design, engineering and manufacturing partner to guide you through the process, contact us today