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How to become a PV Designer ASAP

How to become a PV Designer ASAP

How to become a PV Designer ASAP

How can I get up to speed on Pressure Vessel Design so that I can get a job quickly? Is it true the demand for engineers to verify pressure vessel designs is greater than the supply?

Foiled Plan
My plan was to use the book - 'Pressure Vessel Design Manual' by Moss & rework the problems using COMPRESS. Then study the output of COMPRESS and its references on ASME Sec VIII div 1. Getting a copy of the code to refer to is tough. Any ideas on 1) a different process of learning or 2) getting the code?

My Background
I've been a physics teacher for several years and want to return to Chemical engineering. I've had a little experience in Relief System Design. I've chosen pressure vessel design as an entry point.

RE: How to become a PV Designer ASAP


There is no quick way to become a pressure vessel designer. Also, I do not believe the demand for pressure vessel engineers is greater than the supply; at least not to the point where someone with little to no experience is going to be able to gain quick employment.

I don't think your learning approach is the correct one. I'm sure others will disagree but this is my advice.

Like anything else, there is no substitute for experience and education. While chemical engineers can make excellent pressure vessel engineers, my experience is that the majority have either a mechanical or structural engineering background.  However, coupling a chemical background with vessel design can be advantagous for system design, that is knowing what reaction happens in the pressure vessel and also performing the design.  Often this skill set is most useful in an engineering firm or an OEM compared to a fabrication shop.  Also, depending on where you are working and exactly what activities you plan on performing you may need an engineering license.

I also believe that software programs, such as Compress, are a poor means to learn any Code.  The intent of such programs is to give experienced designers the ability to perform the tedious calculations quickly and optimize a design.

What I would suggest is that you purchase a current copy of ASME B&PV Code Section VIII, Div. 1 and Section II, Part D to start. These can be purchased from IHS (Global Engineering Documents) ASME also has some guide books for the Code as well as some distance learning material. Appendix L of Section VIII has some worked examples. I would also purchase the following books: "Pressure Vessel Design Handbook" by Harry Bednar and "Structural Analysis and Design of Process Equipment" by Jawaad & Farr. These will give you a good start point on the theory.

There is much more to being a designer than simply knowing the Code. You need to understand what is happening and why. Also, never rely on computer programs such as Compress (the same is said for PV Elite and many others).  You will run into cases where the software can't handle what you need to model/design. You may have to use other software or write a spreadsheet coupled with the code software to make a proper design. The last thing I wanted to hear as an engineer in a company purchasing a pressure vessel is: "The computer program can't handle that." That meant I had to do the engineering and send it to the fabricator then argue over it because they were responsible for the design.

Finally, for longevity in any field you need to keep up your skills and learn new ones.  Over time, learn Div. 2, EN 13445, API 620 & 650, API 579, etc. Get some background in finite element analysis. Understand the materials of construction, NDT, and welding.  You cannot be an expert on all of these but you will be able to ask the right questions and understand the answers.

As I said in the beginning, others will have different opinions and advice.

Good luck.

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