You are on page 1of 2


Engineers 64 Guide to Pressure Equipment

4.5 PD 5500
PD 5500: 2000 Specification for unfired fusion welded pressure vessels is
a recent replacement for British Standard BS 5500: 1997. It is issued under
the status of a PD (published document) in anticipation of the forthcoming
harmonized standard on pressure equipment that will be adopted for use in
the UK. Table 4.2 gives an outline summary of PD 5500 content. Table 4.5
indicates how the technical content claims to satisfy the essential safety
requirements (ESRs) of the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) (see
Chapter 11).
Tables 4.3, 4.4 and Figs 4.1 and 4.2 show key technical points.
Table 4.2 PD 5500 a summary
Information you need How to find it in PD 5500
1 Responsibilities Section 1.4 places the responsibility for
code compliance firmly on the
. Certification Look at Section 1.1 it confirms that PD
5500 applies only to vessels built under
independent survey. Section 1.4 specifies
that code compliance is documented by the
use of 'Form X' this is issued by the
manufacturer and countersigned by The
Inspecting Authority (the 'third party').
. Manufacturer/purchaser
Table 1.5 lists approximately 50 points for
separate agreement.
2 Vessel design Vessel design is covered by Section 3 (the
longest section) of PD 5500.
. Construction categories Section 3.4 defines the three construction
categories (1, 2, and 3) they have
different material and NDT requirements.
. Joint types Section 5.6.4 defines types A and B
welded joints, which have different NDT
. Design features Figures E.1 (1) to E.1 (6) show typical
(rather than mandatory) weld joint details.
3 Materials Materials selection is covered by Section 2.
. Specified materials Section 2.1.2 (a) references the British
Standard materials that are specified. The
main ones are BS 1501* (plates), BS
1503* (forgings) and BS 3601* to 3606*
Applications of Pressure Vessel Codes 65
. Other permissible
Section (b) explains that other
materials are allowed as long as they meet
the criteria specified in this section, and in
Section 2.3.2.
. Material properties Tables 2.3 give the specified material
properties for all pressurized materials.
4 Manufacture,
inspection, and testing
. Material identification 4.1.2 Material for pressure parts
must be 'positively identified'
[but note there is no reference
to material certificate 'levels'
(as in EN 10204)].
. NDT of parent material 5.6.2 This is not mandatory (see for NDT of cut edges).
. Assembly tolerances 4.2.3 Alignment and circularity (outofroundness) are closely
Tolerances depend on the
material thickness.
. General requirements:
welded joints
4.3 The manufacturer must provide

evidence of 'suitable' welding.

. Welder approvals 5.2/5.3 WPS and PQRs must be
approved. Welders must be
. Production test plates 5.4 Not mandatory for carbon steel
. Extent of weld NDT 5.6.4 Purchaser option.
Different extent for Cat 1, 2, 3
vessels, and type A or B welds.
. NDT techniques 5.6.4 UT and RT testing are both
acceptable volumetric NDT
. Defect acceptance
5.7 Use Tables 5.7 (1)5.7 (4)
depending on the technique
. Pressure testing 5.8 A witnessed test is required.
Section gives the
formula for calculating test
Table 4.2 Cont.

Engineers 66 Guide to Pressure Equipment

Table 4.3 PD 5500 Cat 1: Key points

1 Code compliance
. It is unusual for boiler drums not to be specified as fully compliant with Cat
1 requirements. Remember that independent survey and certification is
mandatory for full PD 5500 compliance.
2 Materials of construction
. If non-specified materials are used, do a full check on the material
properties. PD 5500 Section 2 specifies the checks that are required for
materials to be permissible.
. Check that all pressure-retaining material is positively identified and is
traceable to its source. As a guide, high-alloy steels should have EN 10
204 3.1A certificates and other pressure parts should have 3.1B traceability
but these EN certificates are not mandatory.
3 Manufacturing inspection
. Check the weld preparations (after tack-welding) for the correct root gap
and accuracy of alignment. Look carefully for distortion.
. Tolerances and alignments are important. Check the following:
for O.D < 650 mm, tolerance is + 5 mm
for O.D > 650 mm, tolerance is + 0.25 per cent of circumference
max deviation is 0.3 per cent of total cylindrical length
circularity is represented by ID max - ID min at any one cross-section.
The maximum allowable is:
ID max - ID min < [0.5 + 625/O.D] to a maximum of 1 per cent
. Documentation package 1.4.4 Form 'X' is mandatory. Section lists the minimum
documentation required for
code compliance.
* Superseded by EN 100 xx series such as:
EN 10028: Plates
EN 10213: Castings
EN 10216: Seamless tubes
EN 10217: Welded tubes
EN 10222: Forgings