Building Pressure Vessels

Building Pressure Vessels

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it; however, a small propane tank has a high level of engineering requirements that allow it to perform safely. Take a pressure vessel that is exponentially larger and with different fuel types, that asset requires even greater engineering. We’re often asked how we build our pressure assets for clients and in today’s blog we’re going to answer that question. It’s important to remember that this is a general overview of how we build our pressure assets and that there are several more phases involved.


Before we even begin drawing up a client’s new pressure asset, MaXfield’s team of designers and engineers ask detailed questions about all the following requirements:

  • Spherical or Cylindrical
  • Length
  • Used for ammonia, propane, diesel etc.
  • Inner & Outer diameter
  • Internal pressure
  • Minimum wall of thickness

The above list displays just a few of the key specifications we need before creating a layout on paper. Once our design team has drawn up the pressure vessel on paper, we scan and upload the information onto a computer.


MaXfield uses engineering software to test the 3D model of the designed pressure vessel. The virtual test examines aspects such as thermal loads and pressure loads. After we are satisfied that the 3D model is a safe and functional, we wait for client approval.


Once we’re given the green light from our clients, MaXfield begins the actual fabrication of the pressure vessel by cutting the steel required. Our expert metal fabricators will create grooves for nozzles, roll steel and weld the steel to form the shape of the vessel. After all the welding requirements are completed, the pressure vessel undergoes autofrettage, which applies enormous pressure to the asset, essentially increasing its durability. Nozzle holes, manholes and reinforcement pads are cut and then welded to assemble the pressure head vessel. The assembly process then involves attaching (welding) the heads to the cylinder shaped pressure asset. Once the pressure vessel is completed our safety engineers will test the asset to ensure that it functions safely and optimally.


This is just a general layout of how MaXfield fabricates pressure vessels at our facility; there are several more aspects to each phase of manufacturing these important assets. We also design and manufacture the skids and trailers used to transport our pressure vessels. For more information on MaXfield’s line of pressure vessels and custom manufactured pressure assets, contact our sales department in Calgary at (403) 258-3680.

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