THE AMERICAN SOCIETY of MECHANICAL ENGINEERS STANDARD
A boiler is a pressure vessel that is exposed to direct fire, and as such, its design, calculation, and construction must follow strict standards.
In addition to following NOM-020-STPS, the Mexican standard governing pressure vessel and boiler safety conditions, Calderas Powermaster has committed itself to adhering to the much more rigorous American Society of Mechanical Engineers (“ASME”) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (the “Code”), one of the most demanding standards of boiler and pressure vessel design, calculation, and construction in the world.
Founded in 1880, one of ASME’s early objectives, prompted by large insurance companies alarmed by the enormous number of fatal boiler explosions occurring at that time, was to improve the safety and design of equipment involved in the process of steam generation.
The ASME Code, with its strict standards for the production of boilers and pressure vessels, has converted ASME into the global leader in the field of mechanical engineering with over 130,000 members in over 150 countries worldwide.
In order for a boiler to receive the ASME stamp, an inspection report (“DATA-REPORT”) signed by an authorized ASME inspector is required. Before the DATA-REPORT can be issued and signed, however, the inspector must first check that the production workshop itself has a valid ASME Authorization Certificate (“Certificate”) permitting the company to use the ASME stamp. Without this Certificate, the inspection of the individual boiler cannot be carried out.
ASME Authorization Certificate Prerequisites
To receive permission to stamp its boilers with the ASME stamp, a company must first obtain an ASME Authorization Certificate by completing a number of ASME Code requirements, including:
- Hiring a qualified quality control engineer:
- dedicated exclusively to oversee the quality control of the factory
- well-versed in ASME Code
- capable of acting as liaison between the ASME inspectors and the workshop
- Preparing a Quality Control Plan that considers the following:
- Drawing and specification controls
- List of materials controls
- Material acquisition controls
- Material receipt controls
- Material storage controls
- Controls for the quality certificates of the materials (especially the steel plates used in boiler production)
- Special controls for welding materials
- Qualified welding process controls
- Welder qualification controls
- Stress relief controls for the stress relief oven
- Non-destructive testing controls (a neutral, third party company is hired to carryout non-destructive X-ray tests and then to both diagnose and give an opinion on any issues arising)
- Inspection during the production process
- Inspection of the boiler body assembly
- Inspection of the flux tube installation
- Hydrostatistics testing
ASME Inspector Visit
Once the workshop fulfills all of these basic requirements, a visit from a US-based ASME inspector can be requested. This inspector verifies all the required documentation, the qualifications of the quality control engineer and the welders, as well as the condition of all the equipment – especially of the stress relief oven, the machine used to produce the corrugated furnace, and the welding equipment – used in the production of the boilers.
As part of the first visit, the ASME inspector will also carry out a physical inspection of a specific boiler, verifying all the documentation and procedures required to receive the ASME stamp. If the workshop – including the individual boiler review – passes the inspection, ASME will issue the workshop the ASME Authorization Certificate for a defined term, thus granting the workshop permission to emboss its boilers with the ASME stamp.
ASME Individual Boiler Inspections
Once the ASME Authorization Certificate has been obtained, each time the workshop intends to use the ASME stamp on a boiler, an authorized ASME inspector must come to verify that the boiler was manufactured in accordance with the ASME Code. Three such visits are required per boiler with the inspector reviewing the required documentation and procedures at each step of the production process, including:
- the acquisition of adequate materials
- the quality certificates of the materials used in the production of the specific boiler
- the design and calculation of the boiler
- material selection
- welding procedures
- the Quality Control Plan
- welder qualifications
- the quality of the welding materials
- the X-rays of the welding materials
- the assembly of the body of the boiler
- the stress relief certificate for the stress relief oven
- the pressure test (or hydrostatistics test)
Only after a thorough inspection of all these elements is 100% satisfactorily completed will the inspector issue the DATA-REPORT, which permits the specific boiler reviewed both to bear the ASME stamp and to be registered with ASME in the United States.
Different governing codes exist in other countries with their respective calculation and inspection systems; however, none is as demanding as the US ASME Code. With its greater safety margins and longer useful lives (because of thicker material requirements), the ASME Code garners a high degree of respect and acceptance at the international level.
Calderas Powermaster is proud to offer to all of our clients boilers of the highest quality, bearing the ASME stamp and backed by the rigor and care of the ASME Code.