Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, many of the most frightening and catastrophic industrial accidents have involved failures in pressure vessels and tanks. So much so that in the late 1800’s, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers was created to address the issues that arose from the lack of standards in fabricating pressure tanks. Even in our modern, safety oriented society, failure in both design and fabrication has led to the loss of life and property in industrial accidents.
There are essentially two potential cause of failure for a pressure tank that is in operation. The first is in the overall design of the vessel. Improperly identified stress points in the design, understated requirements and cost cutting in materials can all lead to pressure tank failures during operation. It is vital that before a pressure tanks reaches fabrication, the design be clearly addressed and decided upon.
Fabrication failures are problems in the actual construction and assembly of the vessel. Improper materials or procedures can cause failure during operation. Modification from the authorized design can also create potential failures. Even seemingly small details such as temperature differentials during fabrication can lead to potential failures during operation. However, perhaps the single most determining factor is the strength and quality of the welds. Welds that do not properly penetrate or are using the wrong welding process can result in a catastrophic failure during operation.
When considering having a pressure tank fabricated, it is critical that you explore the knowledge and experience of the pressure vessel fabricator. It takes a high degree of skill and commitment to properly fabricate a pressure tank that will operate under a variety of conditions. When it comes to pressure vessels or tanks, cost cutting can not be the prime consideration. The dedication of the fabricator to deliver a timely and dependable product should come first.