Competent Authority compliant, ATI provides a wealth of testing and inspection services around the world, as Dr Roy S. Irani, Gas Package Solutions (GPS) Ltd, discovers.

Founded over 35 years ago, Authorized Testing Incorporated (ATI) is a highly regarded inspection and consultancy agency which specialises in the approvals of all sorts of pressure vessels and in particular gas cylinders. The company continues to build on established practices but never loses sight of current requirements, as can be evidenced by the prototype testing last month of the largest composite cylinder ever made, at its remote 100 acre test site in the Californian High Desert (Fig.1). Here we see a test on a 6.1m high x 3.2m OD non-metallic lined composite cylinder bursting at a pressure of over 500 bar!

Test facilities
With its headquarters based in Riverside, California (Fig. 2) the company not only provides a confidential service to cylinder manufacturers, but also offers a cylinder design qualification service, through its well-equipped laboratory of full pulsation test equipment capable of 20000 psi (1380 bar), thermal /environmental cycling, burst testing facility up to 65000 psi (4480 bar) and the entire suite of techniques one would expect in an advanced cylinder test house (Fig.3).

Also certain properties, such as the rupture strength of individual components like the actual fibres used in composite cylinders, including glass, Aramide and carbon are routinely measured. The quality of ATI’s equipment is matched by its competent test operatives, who are fully trained and certified to HAZMAT requirements.

The latter range of equipment is used for evaluating complete cylinders by prototype testing, according to a number of different standards/specifications to include DOT, TC, ISO, NGV2. In fact, ATI will work with many other specifications including confidential customer requirements.

The company’s second location, a remote desert site, is used for the more hazardous types of destructive testing such as large vessel burst testing, gunfire and bonfire tests – the latter using all types of specified fuels such as wood, diesel and propane.

Scope
Testing apart, ATI also provides a research and development consultation service on all varieties of pressure vessel designs, assisting clients in gaining exemptions to the US’ DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations, for the use of new materials and designs.

Its clients’ products have included such diverse components as toroidal pressure vessels for missile guidance systems to large multicomponent cylinders for automotive hydrogen fuel cells.

ATI has several, fully qualified resident inspectors at cylinder manufacturers the world over including China, Mexico, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand. Hence not only all standard types of seamless steel and aluminium alloy cylinders, together with its welded steel and aluminium alloy counterparts, are in its evaluation portfolio. But the company also deals with cylinders made from more exotic materials such as stainless steel, Inconel and titanium alloys. In keeping with the times, designs of composite cylinders to include metallic liners and non-load bearing plastic liners are also within ATI’s scope.

Apart from its home-based competent authority (CA) in the US, ATI has obtained the trust and respect of other CA’s such as those from New Zealand, the UK, Canada, Japan and India, enabling customers to import composite pressure vessels into these countries. Of particular note is that the US Federal Aviation Administration and the US military have recognised ATI’s professionalism by engaging it to inspect its cylinder requalification facilities at bases around the world.

In Conclusion
If you need your cylinders or pressure vessels tested on a confidential and independent basis, ATI will be pleased to oblige. Its overall wish or intent is to provide customers with a service which will result in the continued safe and efficient use of its products.