Choosing the best fabrication facility for a project is one of the most important decisions that you can make since it will have a direct impact on the safety, cost, production timeline, and quality of your equipment or materials. In order to make an informed decision about which fabrication facility to use it is crucial to understand some of the key ways in which fabrication facilities can be evaluated.
ASME, or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is an organization that was first founded in 1880 by a group of leading engineers who were alarmed at the high rate of failure in steam boiler pressure vessels. Today ASME has grown into a multinational organization with over 130,000 members worldwide. Right from the start ASME’s goal has been to improve safety within the fabrication, construction, and engineering worlds. To that end, ASME has a certification process that bestows various stamps on fabrication facilities that meet its standards of safety. Some important stamps to look for with regard to fabrication facilities include the following:
- The R Stamp – The R stamp is awarded to fabrication facilities that meet ASME’s standards for boiler and pressure vessel repair and alteration.
- The U Stamp – The U stamp is awarded to fabrication facilities qualified to work on pressure vessels.
- The S Stamp – The S stamp is awarded to fabrication facilities that ASME deems qualified to work on power boilers.
The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors
Another important organization relevant to the fabrication industry is the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. This organization was created in 1919 with the goal of promoting improved safety through uniformity in construction, installation, maintenance, repair, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels. In the past decade the National Board has performed over six million inspections on pressure equipment. Of those inspections there were about 556,000 violations detected, which in turn could also represent the number of potential accidents that were averted.
The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors often works closely with ASME to ensure safety within the industry. When a piece of pressure equipment is registered with the National Board it receives an NB stamp verifying that it meets manufacturing, testing, and inspection standards. The National Board also uses a Certificate of Authorization system for companies and organizations that are authorized to do certain types of work. Those certificates are as follows:
- The R Certificate of Authorization – The R Certificate of Authorization is issued to accredited organizations that the National Board deems authorized to make repairs and alterations to pressure-retaining vessels.
- The VR Certificate of Authorization – The VR Certificate of Authorization is issued to accredited organizations that the National Board deems authorized to make repairs and modifications to pressure relief devices.
- The NR Certificate of Authorization – The NR Certificate of Authorization is issued to accredited organizations that the National Board deems authorized to make repairs and replacements of nuclear components.
Welding is a crucial part of the fabrication process. That means that a useful way to evaluate the qualification of the fabrication facility is in reference to the types of welding services that it is able to offer. Some important welding services include the following:
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
For more information about welding services please refer to our previous article: Understanding the Different Types of Welding Services for Industrial Fabrication
Fabrication Capacity and Resources
In addition to the above methods of evaluating a fabrication facility it is also important to bear in mind your personal requirements and to ensure that the facility is able to meet these requirements. Some important considerations you may want to bear in mind include the following:
- The fabrication facility’s size and capacity
- The fabrication facility’s equipment and machinery
- The fabrication facility’s manpower and labor pool
- The fabrication facility’s proximity to transport access
- The fabrication facility’s experience and expertise
- The fabrication facility’s reputation within the industry
Polaris is proud to offer industry-leading fabrication services to Southwest Louisiana and the Gulf Coast area. We have earned ASME’s R, S, and U stamps and are recognized by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. We also offer high quality welding services including GMAW, FCAW, SMAW, GTAW, and SAW. Finally, we are strategically located with highway, interstate, and water access, have 47,000 sq ft shop space, state-of-the-art equipment, and a dedicated staff of welders and craftsmen.