ASME Standards and Certification: Now and Beyond
The following presentation was delivered at the 79th General Meeting Monday afternoon session, May 3rd, by Bernie Hrubala and June Ling. It has been edited for content and phrasing.
Since 1978, Bernie Hrubala has actively participated on several ASME standards-development committees and boards. Currently he is serving as both Senior Vice President of ASME Standards and Certification, and Chairman of the Standards and Certification Board of Directors. Previously he served as ASME Vice President of Safety Codes and Standards and Vice President for Conformity Assessment. With over 30 years of experience in the pressure equipment industry, Mr. Hrubala is qualified as an authorized nuclear inspector supervisor. As manager for TÜV Rheinland Industrial Solutions, he is responsible for promoting development and expansion of pressure equipment conformity assessment in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
June Ling is Associate Executive Director for ASME Codes and Standards. She joined the Society's Technical Codes and Standards staff in 1974, and holds a B.S. in Physics. Prior to being named to her current position in 1995, Ms. Ling served in a variety of capacities for ASME, including Managing Director of Operations, Director of Pressure Technology Codes and Standards, and Director of Nuclear Safety Codes and Standards. Ms. Ling has served on numerous technical and administrative standards committees, and has interacted with government agencies, industry and standards-development organizations throughout the world. In addition to being an honorary member of ASTM International, she is a fellow of both ASME and the Standards Engineering Society.
MR. HRUBALA: We are going to cover how the ASME boiler and pressure vessel system operates. We are only focusing on the codes and standards, the boiler and pressure vessel part of it. We are going to look at how we are shaped, some of the trends and implications coming in the future, and how will we look in the future.
Because we are in a global economy, global association, and global world, we must stay ahead on our development of technical codes and standards. So currently we are in the midst of publishing our 2010 edition. We have 30 separate code books. They are becoming more and more highly technical, thanks to the support of all of our thousand volunteers.
Just on the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Committee alone we have a thousand volunteer members, and a good number of them are down the street right now meeting and writing codes. And again we thank the National Board for their support of our membership. We currently have 25 ASME marks out there. And some of the trends we might talk about or touch upon today are dealing with those 25 different conformity assessment marks.
It's very difficult now to register all those marks in different countries, and then you have to prove you are using them. So we are going to take a look in the future of how we are going to handle our marks. We have been adopted, as you know, in all parts of the United States and provinces of Canada, and we are referred to in our federal regulations. Currently we have translations in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Korean. And Spanish – Latin America is becoming another hot bed, so we are going to be translating the ASME version in Section 1 in FY11 into Spanish.
As some of you may have heard, the "no addenda" two-year cycle is being adopted for the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code for two years. A brief history: There are three things that really led up to why we are looking at a two-year cycle for the code edition and they are not necessarily in this order. One of them was customer-driven. We had the customer saying, “Do we need to do this all the time? It's terrible to keep up with.” Jurisdictions were having problems keeping up with it. So we listened to that. We had an improvement in the publication system and had to swing to a new system. Our volunteer members who work on the codes requested we give them something they could work in real-time, and this was probably the number one reason. They said, “When we are doing a code change and we are communicating back and forth among our members, can we just actually get on there and work it real-time and make the changes?”
So the new system being developed and implemented is one that is lending itself to those three areas. And one of the considerations was recently the addition of the "no addenda." So we are filtering that in. And we do have volunteers now from over 40 countries. If you go back in the days when I started in the boiler and pressure vessel industry, we were probably in, what, three countries.
Recent references most important in our regulations have been in India, Nigeria, South Africa and Colombia. Nigeria, for example, just adopted Section 8, Divisions 1, 2, and 3, so that pressure vessels brought into Nigeria or installed in Nigeria will be built to the ASME code. They made that a law. I don't understand what they are going to do on Section 1; we will work on that one. But they did Section 8. And then there is some limited manufacturing going on in Nigeria where they are not actually exporting to North America, but the oil industry has a great need for pressure vessels and piping, as you can well imagine. What are they requesting? The ASME code. And some of them we hope would go as far as requesting National Board registration, which is a good thing.
We are recognized in over a hundred nations. We are the leading code across an array of industries throughout the world. It is the leading code throughout the world. No matter where we touch our footprint, the ASME codes and standards and our relationship with the National Board is present. When we walk into a country and we start talking codes and standards, it's synonymous: ASME, National Board. ASME, National Board. ASME Codes and Standards, the National Board, and the training of the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors go hand-in-hand – very powerful in conformity assessment.
The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code is a means for meeting jurisdictional and regulatory objectives on a global basis. The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code facilitates trade and conduct of business. This is very important. Imagine having a set of standards where you can move products across all boundaries and work to a simple set of standards. I think it was the U.S. Department of Commerce who said trillions of dollars could be lost by not being able to have free movement.
The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code plays a significant role in this process and serves as an easy and accessible method to transfer technology. As an open, consensus-based volunteer organization – and some people do join the committees because they have a certain skill set –we are able to stay ahead of the changing codes and standards. The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code development does meet the World Trade Organization principles. There is mutual confidence and recognition among regulators – a strong factor for success. And I repeat, our partnership between the National Board and ASME is well recognized. I cannot overemphasize that.
So, on behalf of ASME, the Standards and Certification, I want to thank, recognize, and relay to you what the industry is telling us – that the efforts of the National Board are being recognized. When we go to China or South Africa or Nigeria the contributions of both organizations are recognized and highly respected. And I would like to challenge the knowledge and expertise of our authorized inspectors against others. We are very good, and they recognize that.
Now, the problem is workforce development and getting enough inspectors out there to do the job. But somehow between the two organizations we hope to solve that problem. So let's talk quickly about some trends and implications that come along with all this.
Today, as we speak, we are 75 certificate holders away from 6,000. By the end of this year we are going to have 6,000 ASME boiler and pressure vessel manufacturers throughout the world. Currently 3,000 of those are in North America, so that leaves the balance outside of North America. In two years East Asia has grown about 46 percent. China has seen 58 percent growth. India, 55 percent growth, and the US about 4 percent growth. This is a very good indicator of the expansion of the boiler and pressure vessel manufacturers throughout the world.
By the end of the year the international market will exceed the North American market (or the United States market) easily. That's my prediction. This is a strong indicator of where the market is going, and we feel comfortable with this strong growth. What's happening next? I'm sure you are all hearing it: the nuclear rebirth. There is going to be a big resurgence of nuclear, so you are going to see even better growth in our conformity assessment programs.
Now let’s discuss some of the trends. There is a rapid shift in global trade and competition. There is growth in national and regional regulatory codes. We have worked very closely with a lot of nations, governments, and inspection authorities in helping them formulate and develop standards within their countries. We use, of course, the ASME code as the basis. We would like for them to take our code, use it, and get into the regulations. But when we first start discussions with a government agency we ask questions like, where are you, what do you need, how do you come about it, etc., and then we present them the code of standards and explain that they could probably use it to help them meet that need. Because you don't want to go into a country and say, “Here we are! Take our code and use it. Good-bye.”
So we work collaboratively with governments, agencies, and regulators to help them have a safer industry. The trend of personnel certification, particularly in India, is a big need. More countries are looking for training and certifying and qualifying their people above and beyond their engineers. So we are talking at the inspection-inspector level, which is a good thing, because with the training and the education, you have what I call the built-in safety factor.
Here are some implications that come along with this. The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code used as meeting the objectives of nations will become very complex. Why? Well, we have many countries or areas that want to use the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code without marking. They like the code but do not want to use the marking or follow the conformity assessment program. Or they use the ASME code with other marks. A recent situation that comes to mind is South Africa.
South Africa loves our code. There was big talk about the PBMR project – the big nuclear build in South Africa – and they actually said that they were going to use Section 8 – Section 3 for the nuclear plant that they were considering building, but they really didn't want to put the ASME mark on it. They wanted to put their mark on it – they wanted to come up with their own symbol and put their touch on it. So these are some of the implications regarding the utilization and implementation of the ASME code.
Next: Acceptance of the ASME mark equivalent to mandated national marks. Competing codes and standards drive the need to maintain technical relevance. Yes, we have competing codes and standards. We can use the European Pressure Equipment Directive as an example. Is it really a competing one? No. It's a performance-based standard. But can we use the ASME code to fill the gaps? Well, yes. But then, of course, in the European community, it goes back to a comfort level of what they feel comfortable with – if they want to use the AD-Merkblatt 2000 code, for example. Also manufacturers are facing increased national and regional marks in conformity in licensing. Within their own organizations they are establishing themselves. Particularly in developing countries, they are developing their own national standards and their own marking procedures. Which goes back to the issue of some countries wanting to use our code or standard, but they also want to have their own marks on it. So we have expansion of regulatory enforcement network to maintain regulatory compliance.
Recently – well it took ten years – we were thinking of advancement and moving where the Qualifications of Authorized Inspection Committee took action. We have expanded the qualifications of authorized inspection agencies beyond what we call the insurance company or your jurisdiction. So in order to be working with jurisdictions and government agencies, and helping them adopt a code and utilize the code and be open to more of a global approach, we have created another area that allows other agencies to come in if they meet the qualifications and become an authorized inspection agency beyond the insurance and jurisdiction. This is something that was newly done. I think it's going to be receptive in the global markets, but it's a point where we removed all of the excuses.
June is taking over now and will talk about some of the initiatives that are brought up by the ASME code.
MS. LING: Thank you, Bernie. I would also like to extend my thanks to the National Board and Dave Douin for allowing Bernie and me to speak today. I will be speaking about some of the initiatives underway and what ASME and the National Board and the Boiler Code system must do.
We must build upon the strengths of the systems. We must maintain our technical prowess. We must continue to engage stakeholders in the process. We maintain an open and transparent consensus process, and that means a lot to many of the stakeholders. We maintain a focus on safety and market-driven need. And we maintain confidence in the integrity of the process and infrastructure. It's all of the above that brings the ASME code process throughout the world, and all five in combination is unique.
These are basic principles that we take for granted, but that is what makes the Boiler Code system so powerful throughout the world. ASME as an organization, beyond standards and conformity assessment, including our technical competences, our membership, our student activities, et cetera, – we will be embarking on three strategic focus areas.
One will be in the field of energy, particularly nuclear and renewable energy. The second will be focused on engineering reference development. And the third is strengthening our global impact. And the enterprise-based global strategy statement says ASME will deliver locally-relevant engineering resources to advance public safety and quality of life throughout the world, meaning we will do as an organization what everyone here in this room has done for over a hundred years.
Now we’ll move on to some of the initiatives. About six years ago we formed Standards Technology L.L.C. Principally, L.L.C. conducts project work to help bridge the gap between emerging technology and getting that technology codified within the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and other standards as well.
An example was the recent Section 8, Division 2, rewrite that Tom Pastor and others in this room were key leaders on, and Standards Technology L.L.C. performed the project management function. The recent realignment of the organizational committee structure was implemented in February 2009, and the purpose of that was the technology embedded within the code became so broad that it was very difficult for the committee itself to process thousands of revisions up through a single standards community of 30 to 35.
So the reorganization is to help broaden that boundary, and I thank Joel and Tom and Joe B and everyone in the Boiler and Pressure Vessel community in working this very difficult process through. There is much yet to be done in addressing the needs.
The third initiative that was implemented years ago was to enable international participation. I think everyone realizes that the world of engineering knowledge, technical knowledge and special knowledge occurs throughout the world and the only way to make the code as technically relevant and globally relevant as it is today, is to bring that knowledge and welcome that knowledge into the system.
Bernie had mentioned our recent expansion of eligibility provisions for BPV authorized inspection agencies, and that will also help in the global outreach and global impact of the ASME code. Think about what makes the code so special. It's not just the technical prowess of the code, but it's the acceptance of the code by the regulators, by the jurisdictions, by those who have the governmental charge for public safety. So what better way to make that truly a globally-accepted code than bringing those government and designated inspection bodies into the process. So that has been approved. It completed the process of approval in April and the revision will be out in May. We then have a lot of work to do to make sure the integrity of the process is maintained.
Regarding translations and licensing: in order to be well understood, we need to enable individuals to obtain the code in their native language, which brings us to the electronic tools – C&S Connect. Many of you have been working with C&S for many years. We will be launching a new variant of that for conformity assessment. It's Conformity Assessment Connect, and it will be accessible to all certificate holders and authorized inspection agencies.
And then there will be a behind-the-wall functionality that will be accessible for staff and the committees involved in evaluating reports. Digital Path is a multimillion dollar project underway to convert all our material into an updated wide platform known as XML. This has enabled the ability to have an XML version available to the committees and enable the committees and ASME to operate and deliver the code in any kind of format.
So what's next? Where are we going? Again, we must sustain our technical quality and relevance especially in response to the nuclear renaissance. One thing underway now is a potential new voluntary conformity assessment program based on the nuclear boiler standard program. It would provide certification for non-BPV activities. We would ensure it does not conflict with the code and current accreditation certification. We also will focus on our expansion of ASME training courses based on the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. We also have to plan a new training nuclear certificate program based on ASME training tracks. We will be focusing on providing what we call a training-type certificate.
Certificate and certification are worlds apart. What I mean by certificate is if you take a series of courses, some CEU-based courses, and a well-known track, you can achieve a certificate. So, for instance, we will be putting forward some tracks within the nuclear area to have training certificates for, for instance, application construction design, etc., versus certification. Certification is a personnel certification function, and that's a much more rigorous, professional-based program.
In a training certificate, you take the courses, you get a certificate, and that's it. You have demonstrated an understanding of that body of knowledge. In a personnel certification program, you go through the rigors of taking an examination, such as a nursing examination or in ASME's case we currently have resource recovery facility operators, and you have to renew that certification after a few years. So we will be focusing on some new personnel certification programs, not only the training programs, but also the more vigorous personnel certification program. And some of the ones in various stages of consideration include ANDE, which is an ASME nondestructive examination for advanced techniques that originated from the appendix in Section 11.
We also are working on an international pipeline operator certificate and/or certification program, and that really has been driven by the Indian government. So the first roll-out will be in India. We also are working on a system energy assessment practitioner personnel certification. Just this year ASME issued four standards on energy assessment. So along with that will be the personnel certification program for individuals to test their understanding and use of methodology about energy assessment standards.
And the fourth one we are working on is related to NGA-1, and that will be personnel certification of nuclear auditors. And this is just a summary of the road map for the ASME initiatives in the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code area. We have the code. Theory books.
Thank you to the thousands of volunteers and jurisdictions who make that happen. We have the code. And we also have the product certification based on the code of requirements. We are going to continue that as a measure into the Boiler Code-based ASME training and the personnel certification. And that definitely is necessary, because as the code gets extended throughout the world, the code is not easy to understand, thus the code is not easy to use. So in order to provide greater understanding, I think ASME can provide the additional service of having a robust training program.
So how do we look in the future? We will have a system easily integrating geographic variations, whether they be language, materials or anything else. We will stay at the forefront of technological advances. There will be strong technical alignment with other national codes. We must do that. And we will have stakeholder involvement, not only in North America, but around the world. We will continue to meet the market needs of governments and industry.
We hope the Boiler Code will remain a premier code for international trade and regulatory acceptance throughout the world. The code will be accepted as it is in most nations, or accepted as equivalent in others, but it will be accepted. ASME marks are the most commonly recognized marks for pressure equipment, and they are accepted everywhere. So this is where we reside for ASME as an organization. The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code system meets every one of our three strategic priorities. Thank you.