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What is the ASME Code

ASME Code a brief summary

The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code specifies all requirements for pressure bearing components regarding their materials, design, fabrication, examination, inspection, testing, certification and pressure relief. It is issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an organization with more than 120 000 members worldwide.

The ASME Code is divided into separate sections for the different types of components (steam boilers, heating boilers, pressure vessels), fabrication and testing processes (welding, NDE), materials, etc.
Additionally there are Code Cases (special permits for designs or materials which are not covered by the Code), Interpretations (ASME issued explanations), reference standards (e.g. ASME B16.5 Flanges, ASME B16.9 Fittings) and further standards, such as those for piping (B31.3 Process Piping,

ASME Code - what is the asme code

B31.1 Power Piping). The first edition of the ASME Code Section I for steam boilers was issued in 1914. Since then the ASME Code has been continually extended and updated. Starting in 2011 a new edition is now published every two years, ending the previous publication frequency of three years including annual Addendas. The two year frequency does not apply to reference codes such as ASME B16.5 for flanges or piping standards such as ASME B31.3 Process Piping which are newly issued at irregular intervals.

This means new ASME Code editions are published on 1 July every two years. They become effective on 1 January of the following year. The ASME Code edition to be applied for any new order is the one effective at the time the order was contracted. Exceptions are the nuclear codes, for which the applicable edition has to be specified by the user/owner.

Apart from the English version of the ASME Code there are foreign language versions available. They should be used for guidance only, since official ASME publications are mandatory. Compliance with the ASME Code requirements can only be based on an official ASME Code edition published by ASME.

The ASME marking system was revised in 2011 when the previously used ASME stamps (U, U2, S, H, etc.) were replaced by a single ASME Certification Mark which is now used for any kind of component. To indicate the ASME Code Section applied in the fabrication of a component, the respective Designator is stamped below the ASME Certification Mark. This new stamping system became effective as of January 2012 for all new orders. During 2012 using the old stamps was still permissible provided either Code Case 2710 or 2714 was applied. As not every stampholder had been supplied with the new ASME Certification Mark by year end 2012, this transition period was extended. Thus the old ASME Code Symbol Stamps could be used until the end of 2013, provided the modified Code Cases 2710 and 2714 were applied.

Manufacturers have to be authorized by ASME before they allowed to stamp their products with the ASME Certification Mark. To obtain this authorization the manufacturers have to pass an ASME Audit (ASME Joint Review or Survey) which also requires the involvement of an Authorized Inspection Agency (AIA). The Authorized Inspection Agency contracted by the manufacturer assists the manufacturer during the certification process. Subsequently the AIA also provides the services of an Authorized Inspector to perform the necessary ASME inspections for the items to be stamped. The ASME Joint Reviews or ASME Nuclear Surveys are repeated every three years, the Certificate of Authorization thus has a validity of three years. The only exceptions are UM and H for cast iron and cast aluminum certificates, which require an annual renewal.

ASME Section VIII Division 1
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