ASME BPV Code
Benefits of an ASME Certificaiton
The time of industrialisation
With the beginning of industrialisation, but only 200 to 300 years after the invention of the first rudimentary steam engine, the application of new materials and with increased requirements took place. Technologies using steam became increasingly popular. However, the insufficient knowledge about the material properties and the connection of such materials as well as the handling of such technologies resulted in an increasing number of accidents. An official set of rules for the design and manufacture of pressurised components did not exist at that time. Government supervision was inadequate.
Consequently, towards the end of the 19th century, manufacturers and operators of such stationary pressure systems increasingly gathered in Europe as well as in North America.
Thus, in 1871, the forerunner of today's well-known German TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverein) was founded. This Dampfkessel-Überwachungs- und Revisions-Verein (DÜV) was privately organised and later took over state inspections. Before that, as early as 1856, mechanical engineers met to exchange experiences. The association still exists today and is known by the abbreviation V.D.I. (Association of German Engineers).
A similar situation arose in North America when, in 1884, boiler manufacturers and operators joined together to form a professional association called "ASME" (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and organised discussion groups on the state of the art.
The first American set of rules, the "Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC)".
On 20 March 1905, an old steam boiler exploded during maintenance work in a shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts. As a result of this catastrophic event, 58 workers lost their lives and 150 were injured. As a measure, a committee "Board of boiler rules" was founded and in 1908 the legal regulation "The boiler law" was published. The professional association ASME first published a standard for the calculation, manufacture and inspection of steam boilers in 1915, the "Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC)" known today. Not long after publication, this code was already incorporated into official regulations in North America and Canada.
In addition to the BPVC, other standards exist today, such as "Performance Test Codes (PTC)" or "Nuclear Quality Assurance-1 (NQA-1)".
The first American federal authority, the "National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors".
Power magazine (Vol.53, No.7) reports on the first general meeting held in 1921 of the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NB), which was established in 1919 to inspect pressurised equipment. Members of the professional association ASME also took part in this meeting.
At that time, the unsatisfactory situation of mutual recognition of individual states concerning the manufacture and testing of pressure equipment was discussed. The situation was similar to that in Europe before the introduction of the European Pressure Equipment Directive.
In the end, the following basic provisions were laid down in this meeting:
1. recognition of stamped boilers or pressure vessels.
"Unless otherwise exempted, any steam boiler or other pressure vessel built after July 1st, 1921, may be used within the jurisdiction of any member of this Board which has been distinctly stamped with the ASME symbol."
2. preparation of a "Data Report" by the manufacturer
"The manufacturer of each steam boiler, stamped as herein provided, shall file with this Board a detailed data report in duplicate, on forms furnished by the Secretary-Treasurer, accompanied by a filing fee of two dollars."
3. inspector training and recognition
"No person shall inspect any steam boiler, or any pressure vessel, during construction and upon completion, and witness the stamping of it with a fac simile approved by the Board, unless he has a certificate of competency as well as a commission authorizing him to do so as hereinafter provided."
ASME BPV Code - Overview
The ASME Code is a collection of codes and standards. With over 600 codes and standards, regulations are given for the most diverse industrial sectors. In addition to pressure equipment (boilers, pressure vessels, piping, etc.), the manufacture of semi-finished products, tests of various kinds or other safety-relevant components (e.g. lifts, hoists, lanyards, etc.) are also dealt with in various ASME codes.
The ASME "Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code" (BPVC) deals with the manufacture of steam boilers, unfired and fired pressure vessels, nuclear components and transport tanks as well as general regulations on materials, testing and joining processes.
The following is a listing:
Section I Steam Boilers (1914)
Section II Material Specifications (1924)
Part A: Ferrous Material Specifications
Part B: Nonferrous Material Specifications
Part C: Specifications for Welding Rods, Electrodes, and Filler Metals
Part D: Properties (Metric / Customary)
Section III Components for Nuclear Power Plants (1921)
Section IV Heating Boilers (1923)
Section V Nondestructive Examination (1971)
Section VI Care and Operation of Heating Boilers
Section VII Care of Power Boilers
Section VIII Pressure Vessels
Division 1: Conventional (1925)
Division 2: Alternative Rules for Pressure Vessels (1968)
Division 3: High Pressure Vessels (1997)
Section IX Welding, Brazing, and Fusing Qualifications (1937)
Section X Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Pressure Vessels (1968)
Section XI Periodic Inspection of Nuclear Components
Section XII Transport Tanks (2004)
Since 1922, the minimum requirements (design, material, manufacture, assembly, testing, operation and maintenance) for piping have also been defined.
ASME B31.1 Piping for Power Systems
ASME B31.2 Fuel Piping
ASME B31.3 Process Piping
Construction Code = is a self-contained set of product rules and describes, among other things, the design, manufacture and testing of pressure equipment. In addition, the majority of the Construction Codes describe a quality system which must be implemented by the manufacturer. Proof of the implementation of this quality system and compliance with the code requirements is provided by an ASME manufacturer's Certificate of Authorization and, where applicable, verified by an Authorised Inspector (AI).
Recurring tests or regulations for the operation of these pressure equipment and components are not described.
Reference Code = is a supplement to the Construction Codes and is to be regarded as an implementing provision (Sections V and IX) or a separate specification (Section II). The Construction Code refers to the Reference Code. The Construction Code is to be applied first.
Involved parties to the ASME System
National Board (American federal agency)
- Trains ASME Authorised Inspectors
- Registered manufactured ASME compliant pressure equipment (partially mandatory)
- Publishes the NBIC (National Board Inspection Code) for maintenance, repair and alteration of pressure equipment (incl. pressure relief devices) already in service.
ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
- Publishes ASME Codes, e.g. the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes
- Recognises ASME manufacturers and Authorised Inspection Agencies (AIA)
- Organises the recurring review of ASME manufacturers (Joint Review)
Authorised Inspection Agency (AIA)
- Can be a government agency, insurance company or "third party" inspection service provider
- Appoints authorised ASME inspectors
- Monitors the manufacturer's implementation of the ASME quality system
- Verifies in good faith that manufacturer and product conform to code
- Is recognised by the National Board (ASME Certificate of Authorization)
- Contract with AIA (Inspection Service Agreement)
- Implementation of the QC manual
In contrast to European practice, according to the ASME Code the manufacturer alone is responsible for the design and implementation of his Quality Control Manual. In addition, he may qualify his joining personnel and his joining procedures on his own according to the requirements of the ASME Code.
Obtaining an authorisation
The manufacturer defines the necessary scope of application (e.g. ASME Code Section I or VIII) on the basis of his product and selects, among other things, an inspection company that holds a valid "Authorised Inspection Agency Certificates of Accreditation" on this basis. This can be an insurance company or an independent inspection company (3rd party).
The manufacturer concludes an "Inspection Service Agreement" (1) with this inspection company. This contract and an "Application for Accreditation / Certification" are sent to the accreditation body of ASME (2). Subsequently, the manufacturer transfers the fees to ASME (3) and acquires the ASME Code books (electronically or in paper form) (4).