Posted on: June 21, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 1

From John Butler, TO; Welding Institute, SAIW, I query Pressure Vessels inspection points, and AIA knowledge of controls, panels, burners. wiring, and water quality.

Regarding external inspection points, which critical welds are to be examined at 36 month inspections? Relevant liability could be far reaching.

I attended J Guild of SAIW’s presentation in Durban on Pressure Vessels Regulations and I must add some points of view.

Why do pressure vessels Approved Inspection Authorities, AIAs, have extensive powers in commissioning and signing off boilers as fit for further use, when they do not a have a working knowledge of boiler controls, panels, burners, and some other aspects.

Controls allow boilers to operate safely, as pointed out at the presentation when an AIA spoke on how to float a safety valve, and showed lack of the knowledge on what was required.

They do not work out what the heat input into the boiler is, yet they could sign it off. I am not saying that they are not capable of working it out, but they do not perform this function.

This is not covered in the boiler course or exam presented by SAIW.

AIAs do not have the electrical knowledge to know if a boiler is wired in a fail safe design. When a boiler has run out of water the problem is normally in the level controls or electric panel and is often the case that it not wired fail safe.

Again this is not covered in the course or exam presented by SAIW.

AIAs do not know or understand about combustion controls and what interlocks ensure safe combustion. Over the years there have been many people injured and killed by combustion explosions.

I have been in the boiler repair industry for nearly 30 years and have yet to see an inspector test any burner controls. Yet they are happy to sign the boiler off safe and fit for further use.

Many boiler flues have been over heated and collapsed by flame impingement.

Again this is not covered in the course or exam presented by SAIW.

There are many inspectors that do not fill out boiler reports correctly that SAIW have accepted as part of their work experience.

You will also see on some of the reports that the safety valve and controls are to be tested by a competent person and yet they have signed the boiler off as safe and fit for further use.

Water treatment quality could cause a boiler substantial damage, yet this part of the industry is unregulated.

I noticed from your presentation that there was no one from the actual work force represented on the working committee that put together these new regulations. I have queried with SAIW from J Mcleish in January 2010, and have had no response; –John Butler, CP B145, Butlers Engineering and Inspection Services.


1 people reacted on this

  1. I would like to enquire about testing and inspection for vessels under pressure larger than the 50Kpa for a automatic gas suppresion system, to extinguish a fire in a protected room.

    We use a pyroshield (50% argon and 50% Nitroghen). Do these vessels need to comply to the 36 month period or can it be taken to the 9 year period as the products contained are not corrosive and not used unless it is required.

    Can these bottle be considered for exclusion from the 36 month test or what needs to be done for this to be considered to be excluded.

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