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Overview of API RP 576 - Inspection of Pressure-Relieving Devices

API RP 576, Inspection of Pressure-Relieving Devices, is a recommended practice developed and published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that describes inspection and repair practices for automatic pressure-relieving devices commonly used in the oil and petrochemical industries, and is intended to help ensure these devices perform properly. The first edition of this RP was published in September of 1992. The most recent release was the fourth edition, published in April of 2017.

The equipment specifically covered under API RP 576 includes things such as: pressure-relief valves, pilot-operated pressure-relief valves, rupture disks, and weight-loaded pressure-vacuum vents. API RP 576 explicitly excludes from its coverage any devices that are either manually operated, or depend on an external power source. This includes things such as weak seams or sections in tanks, explosion doors, fusible plugs, or control valves, among others. Moreover, this RP does not cover any inspections or tests performed at the manufacturer’s plants, which are primarily covered by codes or purchase specifications.

Another thing to note is that API RP 576 only covers the actual inspection and repair of automatic pressure-relieving devices, not the inspector qualification or inspection interval requirements. These requirements are laid out in API 510, Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: In-Service Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration. Along with establishing standards for the in-service inspection, repair, alteration, and rerating activities for pressure vessels, this document also gives the requirements for a quality control system for such devices and establishes how to set up a training program for the same. This is the best way to ensure that inspectors and engineers are properly trained to implement API RP 576 at a facility.

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