Pressure vessel inspection — Do you know your operator obligations pursuant to Germany’s Industrial Safety Regulations (Betriebssicherheitsverordnung; BetrSichV)?

Maintenance and legally compliant operation of pressure systems

Germany’s Industrial Safety Regulations (BetrSichV) require operators to inspect their pressure vessels regularly. Pressure vessels include diaphragm expansion vessels, auxiliary vessels and sludge vessels, but heat exchangers or boilers also fall in this category. If the inspection is not performed, pressure maintenance may completely cease to operate, jeopardising operation of the system.

But when are what actions required and what are the deadlines and periods? We provide comprehensive consultations on all these questions. Put your trust in our expertise when it comes to pressure maintenance. Our employees have had decades of experience and can draw on profound expert knowledge gained during the conduct of more than 8,000 service calls a year in Germany alone.

Our services

  • Comprehensive clarification of all legal requirements and operator obligations
  • Determination of inspection obligations, inspection authorisations and deadlines pursuant to the BetrSichV
  • All inspections conducted by qualified personnel
  • Inspection and schedule management
  • Electronic archiving of inspection documents (using netDocX)
  • Training of employees to obtain qualifications required for the inspection of Reflex pressure vessels
  • Risk assessments of pressure equipment (by the manufacturer)
  • Accident and damage investigations
  • Training of personnel

Specifically, this means inspection prior to operational startup in accordance with Section 15 of the German Industrial Safety Regulations (BetrSichV) for pressure equipment up to a vessel volume of 140 litres in the planned area of use by a person qualified to conduct the inspection. Comprising: Regulatory inspection in accordance with the requirements specified in Annex 2 of the BetrSichV, determination of the further procedure, determination of the inspection period for the next periodic inspection pursuant to Section 3 (6) and the issue of an inspection record pursuant to Section 17 BetrSichV.

Your benefits

✓ Legal certainty in the jungle of legal texts

✓ Compliance with your specific examination obligations and deadlines

✓ Intense consultation and support from experts

✓ Continuous information on changes and updates of the BetrSichV

✓ Legal, operational and investment security for the operation of your pressure system

When does what be inspected?

Inspection dates must be set on the basis of the risk assessment. Inspections of pressure vessels are generally performed:

– Before operational startup

– Whenever there is any change of the pressure maintenance system

– Periodic inspections:

  • Internal inspection: every 10 years

  • Strength test: every 10 years; can be extended to 15 years if safe operation is verified

Additional information and details can be found in our FAQs at the bottom of the page and in the provisions of the BetrSichV. The information provided here focuses on the segment of pressure equipment in heating and cooling systems.


Request a consultation appointment now or order an inspection immediately:

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The period for the strength test may be extended to 15 years provided that safe operation is verified. Safe operation can be verified by performing and appropriately documenting the annual servicing recommended by the manufacturer (in particular the setting of the inlet pressure) in the risk assessment (for example).

While the Pressure Equipment Directive deals with the standardisation of the requirements for the characteristics of pressure equipment in accordance with the directives of the European Community, the BetrSichV addresses the requirements of occupational safety when using work equipment and hazardous substances. Pressure equipment is work equipment that is subject to inspections.

Three points must be distinguished here:

  1. The Pressure Equipment Directive is addressed primarily to manufacturers.
  2. The BetrSichV addresses the area of responsibility of the operators (employers).
  3. Irrespective of points 1 and 2 or the level of the regulations and directives, the manufacturer’s requirements as set forth in the installation, operation and maintenance instructions must be observed for proper operation and functional safety.

The inspection of expansion vessels in heating and cooling systems (at a minimum, with regard to general pressure, temperature and volume issues) is the responsibility of a qualified person such as the technicians at Reflex After Sales & Service.

For more than 20 years, two versions of diaphragm expansion vessels have been manufactured throughout the industry: pressure equipment with non-removable diaphragms and pressure equipment with removable diaphragms.

Many of the market players prefer the cost advantage of a pressure device with a non-removable diaphragm. This is especially the case for vessel volumes that fit through the input openings of increasingly smaller heating systems and can be replaced without any major effort.

Pressure equipment with non-replaceable diaphragms does not offer any access to the interior for inspection purposes. In consequence, we do not believe today that an internal inspection for this type of pressure equipment using traditional methods involving removal of the diaphragm is either technically or economically feasible, regardless of the manufacturer. We advise against performance of a strength test without previously obtaining positive results from an internal inspection; the inspector’s personal safety alone makes this expedient, but there are other reasons as well.

Up to a certain vessel volume, the costs for diaphragm replacement and periodic tests can be higher than for the procurement of a new device.

For practical reasons, an internal inspection is always conducted after removal of the diaphragm in pressure devices with a replaceable diaphragm. If the result of the internal inspection of the pressure equipment is negative, a strength test can no longer be justified for technical, economic and safety reasons.

Depending on the type and volume of the vessel, we recommend comparing the inspection effort and the inspection costs with the costs of a new purchase plus installation costs. Such a comparison is particularly recommended for the smaller volumes of pressure equipment because of the rather small dimensions. Our employees will be happy to advise you!