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Antique Gas Engine Discussion

Air Tank Safety

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Old 03-25-2005, 12:39:32 PM
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Jim McIntyre Jim McIntyre is online now
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Default Air Tank Safety

Any thoughts on how to ensure old air receivers are safe? The reading I've done on the net lately has ranged from "don't use any tank over 10 yrs old - it'll blow up, level your house, and kill everyone (including the dog)" to "no problem - old air tanks just start to leak at the rusty areas and don't blow up."

I've seen nice vintage rivited air tanks used as starting air tanks for the old Diesels at shows. How do these owners make sure they're safe? What should I do with my 30-year old tank?

Anybody with experience in 'proof pressure' testing - a test I've read about where the tank is filled with water and tested at 150% of its rated max pressure?

All ASME tanks seem to have nice big inspection ports. What's the pass/fail criteria to be used in inspecting inside a tank? Is any rust/corrosion too much?
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Old 03-25-2005, 04:35:57 PM
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Default Re: Air Tank Safety

In Minnesota all air tanks used where the public is needs to be inspected by the state boiler inspector. I know they are checked at our show and when our machine shop operations were bigger they inspected our tanks every year. Keven
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Old 03-25-2005, 06:30:40 PM
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Default Re: Air Tank Safety

As far as I know, in Wisconsin at least, ANY pressure vessel holding more than 10 psi is considered a high pressure vessel and subject to inspection IF it is located in a public or open to the public building. I would keep my mouth shut and hydro the tank at twice the operating pressure for my own satisfaction. Bear in mind that those little portable air tanks you buy just about anywhere are no heavier than 14 ga. and typically hold 125 psi. The more LIKELY scenario is a rusty pit will show itself and the tank will develop a leak rather than burst.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:02:04 PM
Bob Fultz Bob Fultz is offline
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Default Re: Air Tank Safety

I saw the results of about a 15 HP air compressor that blew up. It went through a concrete block wall and left a hole you could drive a truck through.
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Old 03-25-2005, 07:17:45 PM
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Default Re: Air Tank Safety

Ensure the tank has a relief valve installed and check to see if it works and that your compressor actually shuts down when the desired pressure is reached. If the tank is NON ASME you probably won't know how thick it is without doing some UT readings on it. If it doesn't have a drain on it you can be sure its full of rust/oil and moisture. Thats how they blow up when the air compressor overheats and a red hot piece of metal falls into the bottom of the tank that has a nice pile of oil in it.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:18:41 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Air Tank Safety

Water test is called a 'Hydro' test. If the tank fails with water in it, it is not going to spew parts a long distance, as it would do with just air. A good compressor shop should check it out for you at a nominal cost. some outfits take a look inside with fibre optic cameras, to check for pitting and axcessive rust as well.
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