Interpretation Response #13-0071
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
July 25, 2013
Mr. David Fountain
Executive Vice-President and General Counsel
Authorized Testing Inc.
2522 Kansas Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
Ref. No. 13-0071
Dear Mr. Fountain:
This responds to your March 28, 2013 request for clarification of the requirements of § 180.205(g)(4) in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) as they relate to the hydrostatic testing of cylinders manufactured under DOT-SP15555 and DOT-SP11670. You state in your request that PHMSA representatives performed a compliance inspection at the Oilphase Products Centre, Schlumberger Oilfield UK plc, in Aberdeen, Scotland on January 11, 2013. In the follow up letter to the exit briefing dated March 18, 2013 the facility representatives were told that:
“[T]he special permits do not exempt you from the hydrostatic testing requirements listed in the regulation for the manufacturing of DOT 3A cylinders, so § 178.36(i)(l) applies. The regulation requires testing to be by water-jacket method, or other suitable methods operated so as to obtain accurate data. During our inspection, we observed the use of a calibrated cylinder being used to calibrate the system, and observed actual tests being performed using the water jacket method. The water jacket method and the use of a calibrated cylinder to verify accuracy of the test equipment and the requirements pertaining to confirming accuracy of the test equipment using a calibrated cylinder are set forth in § 180.205(g)(4). This section states that the calibrated cylinder must show NO permanent expansion.”
In your letter you question the applicability of Part 180 to the hydrostatic test required during the manufacturing process for cylinders. Your questions are paraphrased and answered, specific to your scenario, below.
Q1. Do the calibration procedures for hydrostatic retesting set forth in § l80.205(g)(4) apply to the hydrostatic test required in the manufacturing process of cylinders?
A2. Section 178.36(i)(1) states that during the manufacturing process “each cylinder must successfully withstand a hydrostatic test, as follows: the test must be by water-jacket, or other suitable methods, operated so as to obtain accurate data.” If one chooses to use the water-jacket method, they must confirm this method is operated so as to obtain accurate data. During the requalification process, a cylinder calibrated in accordance with § l80.205(g)(4) must be used to ensure the system is properly functioning and that all data that is obtained is accurate. For the manufacturing process, the method to determine that the equipment is properly functioning and that all data that is obtained is accurate is not specified. If the hydrostatic testing during the manufacturing process is completed using the water jacket method, the equipment should be calibrated in accordance with § 180.205(g)(4). PHMSA acknowledges that § 178.36(i)(1) does not directly reference the hydrostatic retesting set forth in § l80.205(g)(4) and we intend to address and clarify this requirement in a future rulemaking.
Q2. How would a manufacturer be aware that the hydrostatic testing procedure set forth in § 180.205(g)(4) applies to the manufacturing process set forth in § 178.36(i)(l)?
A2. Currently, § 178.36(i)(l) does not directly indicate that the hydrostatic testing procedures in § 180.205(g)(4) apply to the manufacturing process. As such, PHMSA acknowledges that a manufacturer may not be aware that the hydrostatic testing procedure set forth in § 180.205(g)(4) apply to the manufacturing process set forth in
§ 178.36(i)(l). PHMSA intends to address and clarify this requirement in a future rulemaking.
Q3. Section 178.36(i)(1) allows hydrostatic tests to be conducted by “other suitable methods, operated to obtain accurate data.” In your letter (see attached), you describe your specific procedures and ask if PHMSA would consider your testing method to be “suitable” and in compliance with § 178.36(i)(1)?
A3. We are of the opinion that the method you describe to verify the accuracy of your testing equipment is suitable to obtain accurate data and therefore in compliance with § 178.36(i)(1); however, the results of your test procedure did indicate some expansion of the calibrated cylinder which is not normal.
We appreciate you bringing these issues to our attention and intend to address them in a future rulemaking. In the meantime, we suggest that you conform to the calibration procedures for hydrostatic retesting set forth in § 180.205(g)(4) when performing the hydrostatic test required in the manufacturing process of cylinders set forth in § 178.36(i)(1).
I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at 202-366-8553.
Charles E. Betts
Standards and Rulemaking Division
|§ 180.205||General requirements for requalification of specification cylinders|