ASME BPVC Certification - What is it and what does it mean?

You've probably heard of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) – it's a non-profit engineering society that publishes codes and standards that enhance public safety, health, and quality of life; as well as facilitate innovation, trade, and competitiveness.

ASME BPVC is their set of safety standards for engineering and manufacture of products designed to work in high-pressure environments, such as pipes and valves.

2020-10-16   //   7 min read   //   0 comments
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What is ASME certification?

The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) is a universally-acknowledged set of safety standards developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It regulates the design, manufacture, installation, inspection and care of boilers, nuclear components, and other pressure vessels.

To get ASME certified, a company has to go through a 6-month process to ensure every operation is compliant with the code and performed to the highest standards. The result is the ASME Certification Mark, which signifies that the product in question is manufactured from high-quality materials and very safe to use.

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If you’re working with pressure vessels or boilers, chances are you’ve encountered many abbreviations like ASME, ANSI, API, ASTM, or PED. Those are names of codes and standards that let you know what kind of equipment and functionality you can expect from a pressure vessel. ASME and PED are the most authoritative codes in the Americas and Europe, respectively.


Letina AD 2000-Merkblatt HP 0 certificate.

European PED certificate



What does ASME stand for and what is it exactly?


ASME stands for “American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a non-profit organization with the goal of “helping the global engineering community develop solutions to benefit lives and livelihoods”. 


ASME logo


Founded in 1880 by a small group of leading industrialists, ASME has grown through the decades and is one of the leading international standards and code developers for the mechanical engineering industry.


They now number over 100 000 members world-wide and support the engineering community through quality education programs, training and professional development, publishing research, and organizing conferences.




What are ASME codes and standards?


A standard can be interpreted as an agreed-upon set of rules and instructions. Standards can be applied to manufacturing, design, providing services, and usage. Developing and following standards leads to increased safety, reliability, efficiency, and productivity.


For end-users, standards communicate whether a product they’re researching satisfies their needs or not. Adopting universal standards also helps drive globalization, growth, and development. Standards enable us to buy a nut produced in Australia and use it seamlessly with a bolt manufactured in France.


ASME is considered to be one of the oldest and most respected standards developers in America. So far it produced over 600 codes and standards covering a wide range of technical areas, including plumbing fixtures, pipelines, and power plant systems and components. The standards are used in more than 100 countries and over 7000 companies are currently ASME certified.




What is the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code?


The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, abbreviated to ASME BPVC, is the largest standard developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. It regulates the design, manufacture, installation, inspection and care of boilers, nuclear components, and other pressure vessels. The BPVC also includes standards on materials, welding and brazing procedures and qualifications, nondestructive examination, and nuclear in-service inspection.


Stainless steel Charmat tank from Letina.

Letina pressure vessel


It was created in 1914 as a response to a series of boiler explosions in various American shoe factories. Back then, the entire ASME boiler and pressure vessel code fit into a single 114-page volume. Today, that same document consists of well over 16 000 pages spread across 28 volumes




The ASME certification process and certification mark


A large number of people rely on certifications such as ASME when they’re researching solutions for their problems. An ASME certification signifies that a product is manufactured to the highest standards of safety and quality


ASME certificate


In a way, ASME certification helps comply with regulations while also inspiring trust in customers. Over 100 countries world-wide recognize ASME certifications (such as the ASME BPVC) as a way of meeting government safety regulations.


To get ASME certified, a company has to go through a long and arduous process. Both the applicant company, ASME and the reviewing agency are highly involved. It takes around 6 months to finish the certification program and get an ASME certificate issued after applying if everything checks out.


asme certification process

ASME certification process


Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

  • ASME is one of the oldest and most respected standards developing organizations in the United States. As such, their certificates are used to comply with government regulations in over 100 countries worldwide. Even in the few locales where ASME certificates aren't legally valid, they signify a product of high quality and safety.

  • Simply put, codes tell you what you need to do, while standards let you know how to do it.

    A code is a set of rules (usually required by law) that specifies the minimum requirements a product must pass in order to be considered safe for the public.

    A standard is a set of rules, processes, and guidelines used to manufacture products that comply with the requirements established by a code.

  • ASME is neither - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is a not-for-profit association of professionals. It is an organization that develops standards. Whether the standards ASME produces are adopted into a code depends on your federal, state, and local government agencies.

  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute - is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of standards in the United States. In other words, ANSI accredits standards that are developed by other American standards organizations - ASME being one of them.

  • If a company is ASME certified, it means it adjusted its processes to some of the highest safety and quality standards in the world. ASME-certified products are reliable and perform consistently, comply with government regulations in more than 100 countries, and are more easily shipped internationally. ASME-certified products are marked with ASME stamps.

  • At the time of writing (July 2021), there are 30 ASME stamps sorted into 10 categories.

    Power Boilers - Section I:
    S - Power Boilers
    A - Power Boiler Assemblies
    E - Electric Boilers
    M - Miniature Boilers
    PP - Pressure Piping
    V** - Power Boiler Safety Valves

    Heating Boilers - Section IV:
    H* - Cast Iron Heating Boilers
    H - Heating Boilers, other
    HLW - Lined Potable Water Heaters
    HV** - Heating Boilers Safety Valves

    Pressure Vessels - Section VIII Division 1:
    U - Pressure Vessels
    UM* - Miniature Vessels
    UV** - Pressure Vessels Safety Valves
    UD** - Pressure Vessels Rupture Discs

    Pressure Vessels - Section VIII Division 2:
    U2 - Alternative Rules for Pressure Vessels

    Pressure Vessels - Section VIII Division 3:
    U3 - High Pressure Vessels
    UV3** - Safety Valves for High Pressure Vessels

    Reinforced Plastic Vessels - Section X:
    RP - Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Pressure Vessels

    Transport Tanks - Section XII:
    T - Transport Tanks
    TV - Transport Tanks Safety Valves
    TD** - Transport Tanks Pressure Relief Devices

    Nuclear Stamps:
    N - Nuclear Components
    NPT - Nuclear Partials
    NA - Nuclear Installation and Shop Assembly
    NV - Nuclear Safety and Safety Relief Valves
    N3 - Storage and Transport Containment of Nuclear Fuel

    Nuclear Certificates of Accreditation:
    NS - Nuclear Supports
    QSC - Material Organization

    National Board Inspection Code:
    R - Repair and Alteration
    VR - Repair of Safety Valves

  • ASME certification is useful when your product needs to comply with local laws or codes. The ASME Certification Mark provides a way of complying with the laws and regulations in nearly all U.S. States and Canadian Provinces. For example, ASME BPVC meets government regulations in over 100 countries worldwide.

  • The ASME Certification Process takes around 6 months and consists of 4 steps:

    Preparation - Things to do prior to submitting an application, like reviewing all the information related to the program.

    Application - You pay the associated fees, and fill out, sign, and submit the application forms.

    Assessment - Evaluation of the applicant's quality manual and the implementation of the quality program.

    Certification - If the assessment is passed, you will be granted an ASME certificate.

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