API 6A Records, Material Test Reports, and Certificates of Conformance

Posted by Michael T. Perschke on 14th Dec 2023

Many misconceptions exist about the records or documentation a purchaser should receive after purchasing API 6A equipment. We will walk you through the documents required and explain each.

Let’s start with an overview of API 6A. In the 21st edition of API 6A, Section 15 describes the documents that the manufacturer of API 6A equipment must provide to a purchaser. To summarize API requirements, PSL 1 and 2 equipment does not require the manufacturer to furnish records to the purchaser. PSL 3 equipment states the manufacturer shall provide a certificate of conformance, assembled traceability records, and test charts for the equipment.

Certificates of Conformance for API 6A, or COCs, are manufacturer-generated documents describing the equipment purchased, the equipment's material class, the equipment's temperature class, and the standards used to manufacture that equipment. Again, this is manufacturer-generated, and because it is manufacturer-generated, we see many different types and styles of COCs. This can make it confusing as some manufacturers may include more information than required on their COC, causing the purchaser to think now that additional information is needed on all COCs from all manufacturers.

Assembled traceability records provide serial numbers for the major pressure containing/controlling parts of an assembled component. For example, a trace record for a gate valve would most likely list the body, bonnet, gate, seat, and stem, along with their corresponding serial numbers.

Test charts are the pressure test charts for the assembled equipment and usually, at a minimum, will list the part number and serial number to identify the correct chart for the equipment. Pressure test charts can show the pressure hold periods for assembled equipment for hydrostatic tests and, if required, gas tests.

So, what about MTCs, MTR, and EN 10204 3.1 and 3.2? What are these reports, what do they mean, and do I need them? Here is where it gets interesting. Material Test Report, or MTR, and Material Test Certificate, or MTC, are the same thing and refer to a certificate showing the chemical and physical composition of a specific material and stating all standards to which the material was manufactured. Usually, these material test reports are called Type 3.1 or Type 3.2 certificates. 3.1 is a standard MTC, which includes the chemicals mentioned above, physicals, and listed standards from the manufacturer. Upgrading to 3.2 requires a third-party inspector to verify that the material was manufactured to a specific material standard and that the correct traceability and records were maintained. 3.2 may include coupons made during the manufacturing process that can be used to verify a batch of material does meet the requested requirements. OK, so do I need any of that? For the most part, not really. Suppose you purchase equipment from an API manufacturer and license holder. In that case, you are buying it from them because the company's API license confirms that they are following a strict quality plan that ensures the final product sold and provided meets the requirements. The API monogram on the product verifies that the material purchased meets the product's design requirements and that the seller has reviewed, approved, and maintained all the reports and records for the material monogrammed.

If we don’t trust the governing body that makes the rules for the equipment we purchase, in this case, API, then in the end, what is it there for?