Timely inspections save the day

I REFER to the news report on a surge pressure vessel bursting at the Sungai Selangor Water Treatment Plant that resulted in severe injuries to a number of workers.

While the surge pressure vessel may be designed according to pressure vessel design codes and standards like ASME codes for design and welding, or the European Pressure Directives and fabricated by qualified and certified welders, these pressure vessels are subject to deterioration in physical and mechanical properties while in service.

This deterioration is due to internal corrosion and pitting in a water environment resulting in the reduction of the steel wall thickness of the pressure vessel and leading to the bursting of the vessel even at the design surge pressure level.

Hence the importance of planned and routine inspection of plant and equipment by qualified and certified inspection personnel to detect any deterioration in properties and variation from original design levels.

Such inspections can minimise or even prevent catastrophic failures in process plants and equipment.

Leo Paul
Malaysian Welding
and Joining Society