GSM Industrial recently completed a project to design, fabricate, and test an ASME Caustic Scrubber Vessel for a customer located in York, NE. The vessel required precise engineering and fabrication to ensure it met ASME Section VIII Division 1 code and our customer’s requirements. Our team worked closely with a PE to ensure all plate thicknesses, nozzle schedules, and joint preparation/weld details met the code.
Once our customer approved the drawings, GSM began fabricating and welding the large scrubber vessel. The GSM Industrial team used our automated sub-arc welder for most of the vessel seams, and X-ray testing passed with zero defects. Finally, GSM fully sealed the vessel using gaskets and blind flanges to perform the hydro test, which was witnessed and signed off by our authorized inspector.
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Despite the success of the project, there were several challenges our team had to overcome. Our customer insisted that weld neck flanges be used on all nozzles, which created more joint preparation and multiple weld passes. Once the vessel was fully fit together, the last few remaining welds on the inside were in a confined space. GSM prioritizes safety so we were determined to follow OSHA’s standards when working in confined spaces. In order to perform this work safely we used confined space ventilation ducting for adequate airflow, and a confined space attendant to monitor air quality while keeping a careful watch over his coworker inside the vessel.
Another key challenge was passing all X-ray (RT) tests on the first attempt, which was critical to staying on budget and keeping up with our customer’s requested completion date. Our team of welders had to ensure that all their welds were done with precision and care to avoid any defects.
To address these challenges, GSM had to back-purge each nozzle with argon shielding gas prior to welding to ensure a clean, full penetration weld on the inside of each nozzle. Our welders also took their time during the fit-up process to ensure a consistent weld joint, which is essential when using a sub-arc welder. They also examined and back-ground any imperfections found in their root and fill passes.
Despite the challenges, GSM successfully completed the project in April 2023, meeting all our customer’s requirements and ASME code. The vessel had 33 nozzle penetrations, ranging from Ø1” to a Ø24” manway. The overall vessel size is 9.2’ diameter x 34.5’ tall.
GSM’s turnkey solution supplied all ASME-required engineering, documentation, and testing, delivering a high-quality product to our customer. Our use of the sub-arc welder and multiple certified welders allowed us to break the vessel into multiple phases, improving our efficiency and keeping the job on schedule throughout each process.
Overall, the ASME caustic scrubber vessel project presented several challenges, but with careful planning and execution, GSM Industrial delivered a high-quality product on time and on budget. Our team’s expertise and diligence ensured that the vessel met all code and customer requirements, providing a reliable and durable solution for our customer in York, NE.