Last updateThu, 06 May 2021 8pm

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes

A new test organization program and stamp has been authorized by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (NBBI), effective February 2016.

The NBBI is comprised of chief boiler inspectors representing government agencies from across the United States & Canada. In addition to its mandate to register all manufactured boilers and pressure vessels and investigating accidents involving these devices, the board assists in the establishment of manufacturing, maintenance and repair standards for boiler and pressure vessels.

At the 2016 Valve Repair Council meeting, Joseph Ball, a representative of the Board, brought attendees up to speed on this and other National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) Updates.

New Test Stamp

Ball announced that the new test organization program was authorized by the National board of trustees in February of 2016. This program implements a certification program for organizations that only perform in-service testing of pressure relief valves.

This is in contrast to the older and well-established VR Stamp Certificate of Authorization Program, which is for the repair of pressure relief valves. In the VR stamp program, the organization can test and adjust valves, change set pressure, perform repair processes including machining, welding and NDE and also perform fluid changes or conversion. The VR symbol is applied to valves that meet all repair requirements.

One of the goals for this new test-only (TO) process is to elevate standards and improve practices for the pressure relieve valve testing process. It will certify testing organizations which perform testing of in-service PRVs and will provide specific qualification to make adjustments per NBIC part 2, Paragraph 2.5.7(g)which states:

“If a pressure test indicates the valve does not open within the requirements of the original code of construction, but otherwise is in acceptable condition, minor adjustments (defined as no more than twice the permitted set pressure tolerance) shall be made by an organization accredited by the National Board to reset the valve to the correct opening pressure.

All adjustments shall be resealed with a seal identifying the responsible organization and a tag shall be installed identifying the organization and the date of the adjustment.”

Under the TO program, valves can be tested, but the pressure cannot be adjusted—only restored to the original set pressure. The organization cannot perform repairs or perform fluid changes or conversion, and the stamp can only be applied to valves that pass the test.

This program was created to address the need for in-service inspection, and to qualify for this stamp, the valve must be in good condition and have no broken or damaged parts. It must not be leaking and the seals must be intact.

New Test Stamp and More Updates on Pressure Vessel Codes chartThe testing organization’s equipment must meet NBIC requirements which require a test vessel, and the inspection and test must be documented on a test report which has to have a unique identifier – a test number. Once the valve has passed, the TO symbol marked nameplate can be applied to the passed valve. The TO symbol shown on the left is a registered certification trademark and the TO organization can pre-apply the mark to a test plate.

Valves that fail inspection or test (including leakage, are outside of adjustment tolerance, are broken or has missing seals) have to be repaired by a VR holder or be replaced.

The question may arise—what affect this has on VR holders. According to Ball, a VR holder can get TO certification with an application and quality control manual update only. There is no application charge or additional test required.

When needed, the repairs must be done by the VR holder; repairs cannot be performed solely under the TO program.

Ball pointed out the benefits to the users: the TO program will give them more confidence in the suppliers’ test data and lessens need for vendor audits. It also helps document safety equipment in uniform fashion and helps the user meet jurisdictional, inspection agency and insurance carrier requirements.

Additions to the 2015 Inspection Code

In other updates, Ball advised that there were additions to the board’s inspection code in 2015, which included:

Part 1:

Installation requirements for Biomass boilers and thermal fluid heaters were added

Part 2:

Added supplement on Change of Service

Added supplement on Inspection of high pressure vessels – includes AE testing procedures

Part 3:

NR program updated – repairs broken into three categories

  1. Repairs prior to fuel loading
  2. Systems under ASME Section XI (after fuel loading)
  3. Items constructed to standards other than ASME

There were also updates on NBIC repair welding procedures and an added welding method (6) for Grade 91 material. The organization is also preparing NBIC Part 4 for Pressure Relief Devices, which will merge installation, inspection and repair requirements.

For More Information

To learn more about accreditation under the new TO program, visit this link for the NBBI website.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is senior editor of VALVE Magazine.  

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