ASME Code: What Is It Exactly?

Posted by Ken Brakefield

Topics: Certification

ASME certification guarantees the experience of a given team’s workforce and the quality of their eventual product. As such, finding engineers that possess it could not be more essential. As a dedicated fabrication and welding team, Swanton Welding takes adherence to the standards and recommendations of the ASME very seriously, for your sake and your clients’. Hiring a team without ASME certified welders is always a risk, one which we at Swanton Welding feel is unnecessary. Because we hire only the most knowledgeable welders and utilize the most up-to-date processes available, Swanton Welding has long been more than able to live up to the high standards of the ASME.

The Basics: What is the ASME?

ASME stands for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a professional organization with over 120,000 members worldwide. The ASME promotes advances in engineering, helps professionals develop their careers, educates the public, and develops, maintains, and tests various standards of engineering safety. There are hundreds or even thousands of ASME standards which govern the safety of consumers and businesses, regulating essentially all machined goods. Many of these regulations exist as best practices for engineers, with several being adopted by national and international agencies as legal regulation.

Even new breakthroughs in engineering technology see rapid exploration by the ASME, as the organization maintains extensive research labs, testing teams, engineering journals, and other apparatus crucial in the advancement of mechanical engineering. When there is a change in the industry the ASME follows up and develops appropriate standards.

When Do ASME Standards Apply?

certified_rubber_stamp.jpgAny business that need to utilize the services of a welder and/or fabricator should consider the impact of ASME standards. First and foremost, the product you need created may very well be governed by these standards under the rule of law. As mentioned, ASME standards have worked their way into many legal systems. Even projects built for in-house use might be governed in this way, and thus relevant to your interests.

You may also wish to adhere to these standards out of ethical obligations or pragmatism. The rules developed by the ASME exist to promote safety in both production of engineered goods and for consumers. If products fail to meet these basic standards and thus expose your co-workers, business partners, or customers to risk your business may suffer.

Finally, adherence to the appropriate standards usually serves as indication of a superior fabrication team. Working with any team which cuts corners on safety, even for standards which aren’t backed by the rule of law, is never a desirable practice. Professionals do professional work according to professional standards. If you are working with a company which is not familiar with ASME standards, or does not adequately adhere to them, you are disadvantaging yourself and potentially opening yourself up for legal action.

Understanding Relevant Standards

With so many standards at work, even looking solely at ASME codes, it can be quite overwhelming to determine which ones will you need to concern yourself with for a given project. This is one of the many places where an experienced metal fabricator with well-studied engineers on the staff will be valuable. It is exponentially easier to allow a knowledgeable team to keep your project within code than to inform yourself and communicate that information to a less experienced team.

That said, you should do some research on obvious standards associated with your production. A search at the ASME website or a search of the relevant regional or federal codes associated with your project should give you a firm foundation to understand what can, cannot, and should be done. From there, you will know enough that you can easily confirm the knowledge of any team you hire for fabrication.

Staying Abreast of New Standards

Standards change, new technologies evolve and new concepts rise to prominence as they earn the attention of ASME. Some changes may even reflect nothing more than political or economic considerations. ASME uses annual conferences and events to develop its standards, meaning fluctuations in the expectations or preferences of the organization’s members can give rise to minor changes of standard.

Regardless of why standards change, the important factor is that changes occur quite frequently. Meaning, education on ASME code isn’t a one-time event; like a doctor, anyone in mechanical engineering needs to educate themselves consistently on the newest updates to the professional standards. ASME makes this fairly easy, as changes are compiled and presented annually. As long as you know the newest changes relevant to your project, you can make sure your fabrication team knows those changes and will be producing your project according to the latest ASME code.

The Role of Your Fabricator

welding2.jpgGood intentions are not enough when it comes to safety standards. Consistent adherence to code, is an excellent safeguard. That’s why it is crucial that you work with a metal fabricator who knows and respects these standards, and can keep your project within ASME code from concept to delivery. The same team which cuts corners and produces sloppy work to keep costs down and squeeze projects out within ill-declared deadlines will be undermining your project’s safety at every step.

If you work with a team with poor adherence to standards, even those who aren’t backed by legal regulations, exposes your company to risk, legal liability, profits lost to damage or mistakes, and an abundance of other problems. A skilled team learns to include the standards as a core part of their process. That means your turnaround will not suffer from complying with such a team. It might if the standards are considered ‘after the fact’ or aren’t consistently factored into projections.

Engineering to ASME Standards

Part of what earns a top notch fabricator that designation is the ability of their staff to engineer projects to meet your needs while staying in complete compliance with all relevant ASME codes. The greatest machining techniques backed by the latest mechanical engineering technology cannot guarantee that a product conforms to ASME standards. Only an experienced professional with the right training can do that.

Questions to Ask Your Fabricator About ASME Compliance

Good questions tell you a lot about the service you can expect as a customer. Here are a few you can ask a metal fabricator about ASME compliance to ascertain their ability to keep your project within code:

  • Who keeps up with ASME codes and other standards at your company?
  • What tools or processes do you use to help maintain compliance?
  • Do you stay abreast of annual changes to ASME standards?
  • Do you include research of appropriate standards when undertaking unfamiliar projects?

The answers you receive should enlighten you greatly on that fabricator’s ability to maintain compliance for you.

Parting Thoughts

There’s a good reason the ASME has grown into a world-respected organization within the mechanical engineering industry. ASME code, their dedication to research, and their efforts to develop new technologies for safety and efficiency make the entire profession more successful. Make sure you are working with a team that understands that value and can pass along that knowledge to you.

Topics: Certification