How Often Should Pressure Vessels be Tested?

All types of pressure vessel in the oil and gas, water treatment, nuclear power and indeed all engineering sectors require routine testing to ensure they continue to meet industry regulations of safety and quality. Different types of pressure vessel will need testing at different times and frequencies, depending on the material they are made from, the material stored in them, and how much they are used.

Pressure Systems Safety Regulations require that before pressure systems are used a Written Scheme of Examinations (WSE) must be in place. According to PSSR, the WSE may specify the need for an initial examination prior to the first use of the system. PSSR Regulation 6 requires that the installation does not give rise to danger or impairs the operation of protective devices. Developing a WSE before the use of a system would ensure adherence to this regulation. PSSR also requires regular periodic inspections of pressure systems. The frequency may vary from 12 months to many years, depending upon the type of equipment and their condition.

Each pressure vessel we fabricate is rigorously tested before being transported to our clients. Once purchased and in use, you will need to ensure your vessel is kept up to date with testing as often as required. 

Types of Tests

Testing requirements will vary depending on a range of factors including:

  • Vessel materials
  • Corrosion levels
  • Vessel application
  • Operating conditions
  • Equipment age
  • Industry regulation developments

Initial Testing

During the fabrication process at Vessco’s premises, tests are completed on the materials, welding, and full system hydrostatics. Testing also happens during installation at the client’s premises. These tests are to ensure quality, safety and compliance with UK industry standards set by the ASME, API, ASTM, and other organisations. These tests only happen once.

Periodic Maintenance Inspection

It is a requirement for your pressure vessels to be regularly inspected to ensure safety standards continue to be met. These are one-off inspections. Depending on your unique factors, these maintenance inspections will be scheduled annually, or every two years, as part of your routine maintenance. Frequency depends on the environment the vessel or vessels are in, past data on performance, and the requirements of your industry.

Corrosion Monitoring

Vessco engineers conduct corrosion monitoring tests through sample collection and analysis. We also complete a thorough and precise visual inspection and use specialised equipment to inspect the rate at which corrosion is occurring. Factors we consider include the state of the operating environment, the material used in fabrication, and data on previous vessel corrosion.

Non-Destructive Testing (NDT)

NDT is used to assess the strength, quality and safety of pressurised vessels without affecting their integrity or causing any form of damage. It is typically carried out every year or two years. For higher risk sectors and environments, you may be required to carry out tests more frequently.

Non-Destructive Testing methods for pressure vessels include:

  • Ultrasonic Testing
  • Radiographic Testing
  • Magnetic Particle Testing
  • Dye Penetrant Testing
  • Eddy Current Testing
  • Leak Testing
  • Acoustic Emission Testing

Here at Vessco, our team of pressure vessel, heat exchanger and column experts offer full testing as part of our range of services. All testing is completed with meticulous attention to detail, and professionalism, with full reporting and transparency.

To find out how our testing service can meet your unique requirements, please click here to reach out to our team.