Chris Hart, managing director and Charles Byrne, technical director, Graham Hart (Process Technology), discuss the Pressure Vessel Manufacturers Forum (PVMF), an industry group facilitated by Lloyd’s Register (LR)


ow long have you been a member of the PVMF?

Chris: From the very early days. We started attending from the second meeting in 2011, which was held in Lincoln with about 10 companies, and we have attended every meeting since. Today there are now 19 companies involved. What success have you seen the forum achieve? Charles: We believe that the first achievement of the PVMF was our ability to contribute to (and influence) the decision to retain PD5500 (Specification for unfired, fusion welded pressure vessels - LR editor). The standard which was written and maintained by BSI was under threat of being deleted. BSI attended meetings to listen to discussions amongst the manufacturers about the use of the standard and it was soon realised that PD5500 was still being widely used and like any standard just needed updating. BSI is now an affiliate member of the PVMF. Manufacturers are now seen as a group

who use their initiative to engage with regulatory bodies and therefore become

part of the process and the solutions going forward.

Pressure testing safety is a hot topic for members of the PVMF. Why is this? Charles: Representatives from Lloyd’s Register attend every meeting. As part of their role LR surveyors report safety observations to both the client in case work needs to be stopped for safety concerns and for their own H&S system. At the start of each meeting there is a ‘Safety Moment’ and it is through these safety moments unsafe practices have been identified. Members have also been able to contribute their own safety moment with things they had heard and seen (officially and unofficially) at sites throughout the UK. This gave the impression that pressure test failures and potential dangerous situations were on the rise. Manufacturing safety observations on

site weren’t being reported to HSE. The amount of injuries was not being made publicly available. As manufacturers we questioned the HSE and the IMechE Pressure Systems Group (PSG) about this. The word started to spread about what we

Charles Byrne (left) and Chris Hart (right). Chris said: “End users, owners and other interested parties now freely engage and work with the PVMF as a great partnership.

Manufacturers are not afraid to lead and contribute”

Sponsored and facilitated by Lloyd’s Register, PVMF meetings are held several times a year. Topics and subjects discussed are driven by the members and range from engineering issues such as the introduction of or amendment to codes and standard, fabrication techniques and health and safety to recruitment, procurement and commercial concerns


Transferring ingredients from barrels and other similar storage vessels is an essential requirement in many food and brewing processing applications, for example flavour concentrates used in the manufacture of crisps. However, once the liquid concentrates are removed how do you deal with the sticky residues that remain and which are difficult to remove? At one large UK crisp manufacturer the problem of stubborn, sticky residues was occurring after flavour

concentrates had been transferred from 600mm barrels. The spinning spray balls being used to clean the barrels were not completing the job, which meant a secondary manual clean was required. Another issue was that most rotary jet cleaners were too large and had too high a flow rate to be practical. Also, the set cycle time required by the rotary jet cleaners meant that the 10 minutes or more cleaning cycles to ensure that the jets had reached each part of the tank, were too long. The Spray Nozzle People (SNP) provided the crisp manufacturer with the Orbitor Eco fast cycle small rotary jet cleaner and this was trialled on their small tanks against several competitor machines. Following the trials, the Orbitor was selected as it was judged to provide a better overall clean as well as being a more robust option that would last longer. The Orbitor Eco fast cycle jet cleaner rotates through its cleaning cycle very fast

with full cleans achievable in 2 minutes with a flow rate comparable to spinning spray balls. The impact cleaning of the Eco in this application meant that the barrels were cleaned satisfactorily without the need for a secondary manual clean, saving time and money. The cleaner offers efficiency, enabling up to 95% water savings (depending on the application) with fast cycle times of between 2 to 10 minutes. It operates on low pressures of 1 to 10 Bar and with low flows of 45 to 150 lit/m. Thanks to its small, compact design, it fits openings from 10 to 85mm. The Spray Nozzle People 

were trying to achieve as a group and more people got in touch with PVMF about the number of incidents. Site operators were getting in touch to find out what could be done. The PVMF put forward an initiative to the PSG (supported by LR) which was also supported by HSE and other bodies in the pressure equipment industry to highlight unsafe practices when pressure testing. But it’s only now that the true extent of the problem is being recognised. This became more evident following the Pressure Testing Safety Seminar, held in London in December 2017. After which several delegates approached members of the PVMF to talk about the subject. Chris: Complacency, when pressure

testing is the unseen danger. The common view is that pressure testing safety will not change until there is a major incident and without the PVMF, GHPT could not have put it out there alone. How has the landscape of the UK pressure vessel industry changed over the last 7 years? Chris: The clients/end users have become far more educated in codes, standards and regulations and they know what they want. GHPT have changed internally following the implementation of the F4N route too. We’ve adapted to lean manufacturing to work alongside the client base. Some end users and owners no longer possess a thermal or mechanical design department within their business. This gives firms like ours the opportunity to offer them a complete design, manufacture and testing service. The emergence and increased

employment of EN13445 is a game changer. You can no longer ignore it as more clients are asking for equipment to be manufactured to the standard. In fact, embracing it is the way forward. On the downside, we’ve seen lots of

competitors going out of business. Sadly, some big and famous names. Companies have changed shape with restructures, owners have changed, but it’s still a competitive landscape.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) Graham Hart (Process Technology)


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