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Mitigate the Complexity of Pressure Vessels With Data-Driven Design and Analysis

Pressure vessels are complex engineering structures, subject to many uncertainties. Addressing them requires a deep understanding of the behavior of materials at high temperatures and pressures. It also requires familiarity with the methods used to predict the failure of pressure vessels. 

Industry Challenges 

The most challenging engineering disciplines are designing and manufacturing pressure vessels and heat exchangers. The demands from clients to deliver quality products on time, cost-effectively, without sacrificing safety are ever-increasing. The engineers and designers responsible for these projects are under constant pressure to make their clients happy, perform accurate analysis, and ensure asset life/safety. 

It takes a unique set of skills to meet these challenges every day. Here is a list of the most common challenges: 

  • Inability to extend the asset life cycle  

Asset life cycle management is critical for pressure vessels, expensive assets that can last for decades and represent a significant investment for any organization. Because pressure vessels have complex structures, keeping them in good condition can be difficult over time. Many factors can affect their performance: external impact (for example, high-impact corrosion), internal corrosion (which can lead to leaks), erosion (due to friction or chemical wear), fatigue (caused by cycles of pressurization and depressurization), bimetallic corrosion (which leads to cracks) and so on. 

  • Difficulty in ensuring safety and accuracy of designs with industry codes 

The pressure vessel is a metal container that contains gases or liquids at a pressure greater than atmospheric pressure. The design of pressure vessels requires careful attention to the possible failure modes of the components. The fundamental problem in maintaining the safety and accuracy of design is that it is usually tough to visualize the stress state in a three-dimensional body. In addition, it may also be challenging to determine if the design has failed under certain conditions. 

  • Inefficiency during vessel inspection and maintenance   

Pressure vessels are designed to store fluids at different pressures while adhering to industry safety guidelines. However, that doesn’t guarantee their extensive performance because toxic and non-toxic fluids can have a short or long-term impact. So, qualified personnel needs to regularly inspect and repair the vessels to avoid safety threats or mishaps. Although, these frequent safety inspections may delay the certification process and incur considerable costs. 

  • Troubles while outsourcing designs  

You can trust that your vessel will be well-designed for your application by outsourcing pressure vessel design to a qualified designer. But time spent going back and forth with designers can prolong design cycles and introduce additional costs into the project. Getting everyone on the same page regarding the project's design requirements can be tricky when multiple parties are involved. Besides, pressure vessels may not be optimized for a specific application or need, resulting in increased risk factors or lower performance capabilities. 

  • Difficulty in getting reliable analysis and design  

When building a highly efficient pressure vessel, the design and analysis team must have the right information and data to help them make the right decisions. However, sometimes this design information can be hard to get, especially when analyzing pressure vessels. 

How Can a Software Solution Help? 

We all know that the pressure vessel design and manufacturing process can be complicated, but it is much easier to tackle when you have the best software and support on your side.  

The FFS (Fitness-for-Service) capabilities from PV Elite®, and TANK® enable you to minimize production downtime. Besides, it will help evaluate flaws swiftly and reduce safety concerns, as analysis ensures the vessel is safe to stay in operation, saving time and resources. 

PV Elite 

PV Elite has been developed specifically to design, analyze, and evaluate pressure vessels and heat exchangers. The solution's fast start-up and user-friendly interface allow users to concentrate on their work right away without struggling with any complex functionality. 

  • International vessel codes

  • Easy and effective integration

  • Enhanced data accuracy  

  • Graphical representation

  • Evaluate and re-rate existing vessels 

  • Interfaces with third-party solutions to carry out further finite analysis 


TANK is a comprehensive, easy-to-use design software for oil storage tanks. It helps users evaluate defects, check factors affecting tank design and safety, select information from its extensive built-in material databases, and access technical assistance instantly. TANK saves time by letting users select material information automatically from its vast library of material records. 

  • Perform calculations in line with the latest API standards 
  • Customizable material properties 

  • Analysis based on wind, seismic and settlement conditions  

  • Advanced Analysis and Reporting 

  • Quick, context-sensitive help 

Improve Your Vessel Design Efficiency with Hexagon 

For engineers looking for a single source for all their pressure vessel needs, Hexagon's solutions make it easier to view and analyze your vessels, fill them with data, transform those designs into process equipment requirements and share the analysis results. 

Our industry-leading pressure vessel design and analysis software is intuitive, feature-rich, and streamlined to make your professional engineering workflow easy. It's time you find out what you have been missing when it comes to accuracy. 

Talk to Our Expert


About the Author

Chris Bradshaw has over 15 years of experience in training, implementation, and ensuring his customers are getting the most of their CADWorx & Analysis Solutions. He joined Hexagon in 2004 as a Solutions Application Engineer before progressing into the role of a Senior Business Development Specialist, utilizing his experience in technical support, customization, and training to guide customers in their digital transformation journeys. He lives in the United Kingdom.

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