Using Software for Pressure Vessel Design Procedures and Tracking

From start to finish, a pressure vessel design project presents great opportunities and risks. When you bid on a contract to fabricate a pressure vessel, your goal is to create a safe and functional build that nets a substantial profit.

But you also know that in the process of building a vessel, there are opportunities for costly — if not deadly — mistakes.

In this blog, we’ll show you how you can use software to plan your pressure vessel design process better, track progress with more efficiency, and use technology to maximize the ROI of your bid.

 

The Pressure Vessel Design Procedure

As mentioned above, a lot goes into building a pressure vessel. Whether that’s a heat exchanger, filter vessel, or de-aerator, you’ve got to work through a variety of variables. As a fabricator, you’re responsible for the proper design and code-compliance of your build, but also that it was done by the right welders with the correct experience and certifications.

Once you have identified the contract you want to compete for, you need to estimate the cost to complete the build and give yourself enough cushion to make a worthwhile profit.

After you’ve won the bid, the planning begins. You’ll need to:
  • Submit POs to suppliers for plates, pipe fittings, heads, steel, etc.
  • Assign the proper welders for the job
  • Coordinate with the authorized inspector (AI) for testing
  • Coordinate paperwork from the supplier to the welder to the inspector
  • Deliver and install the vessel
  • Schedule periodic in-service and inspection (i.e. post-construction)

If at any point in the design process one of these steps is done out of order or incorrectly, you risk seeing any potential profits vanish due to timing setbacks, costly rebuilds, or even litigation.

Because the vessel fabrication process involves multiple parties, requires many different documents, and spans across time, mistakes and setbacks can feel like an inevitability. But the truth is, the right pressure vessel design software makes avoiding such risks simple and safe.

 

Stay Organized with Pressure Vessel Design Software

From start to finish, the commitment to your pressure vessel can last well over 20 years. Whether it’s in coming back to make modifications, having the vessel re-rated, or even being able to prove you did your part of the job right in case something goes wrong after installation, staying organized is the key.

But how can you keep track of all these factors?:
  • Who interacted with the vessel?
  • What did they do with it?
  • When did they do it?
  • What was used?
  • Where was the vessel at

As a fabricator, you need to track the chain of responsibility. This means tracking the changing of hands at every point of contact.

You may already have software for designing your vessels and managing your welders. But that can only get you from point A to point B. To track the entire lifespan of your build, you need an integrated fabrication management solution.

 

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Eliminate Risks with ASME Pressure Vessel Calculation Software

Just how pertinent is it to track every step and document your project? Consider this: one major fabricator wasted $3 million in litigation trying to prove their innocence after a vessel they constructed failed.

With the right software, this would have been easy to avoid.

Had the fabricator used solutions like DesignCalcs or Finglow, they could have pointed to the exact codes they followed and why the vessel was designed properly. Had they used software like Prowrite, they could have demonstrated the welders on the job were qualified and performed the proper welds. Had they tracked all of this with Fabrication Manager they could have had all of their software solutions integrated together to make sure doing all of this took no time at all.

Streamlined fabrication management software isn’t just about eliminating major risks.

  • How often do you bid small errors and inefficiencies into the budget of your project? 
  • How much profit do you miss out on because of avoidable mistakes and poor time management?

In many cases, it’s likely the difference between a profitable project and another setback. It’s likely the difference between a bid being won or lost.

 

Integrated Pressure Vessel Design Software Boosts ROI

If you’re ready to bid on pressure vessel design projects and complete bids without feeling like you’re walking on eggshells, talk to CEI about what our welding fabrication software can do for your business.

Not the most tech-savvy person? All of CEI's solutions are super user-friendly and come with complete remote support, making the transition a breeze. With the right software, you can weld with confidence and ease.

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Written by Mike Clark, PE

Mike earned his BSME and EIT in 2003 and gained his license in 2008. He has been actively involved with the ASME BPV code since 2004. At CEI, he is the lead advocate for DesignCalcs where he draws on his engineering background, code connections, and consulting experience to direct the software development and to explain the nuts and bolts of pressure vessel design.

Explore the 2020 edition covering pressure vessel and heat exchanger design guidelines and resources.

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