How API 20E Protects Facilities from Catastrophic Bolting Failure


  • In the past decade, the industry has suffered a series of failures that were traced back to critical bolting operations. While investigating these bolt failures, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) discovered that fasteners were being manufactured and coated with little to no communication between steps in the process. This lack of communication resulted in catastrophic bolting failures that put lives at risk and cost the industry billions of dollars, yet were somehow “nobody’s fault.”

    API 20E is the industry’s response to these bolting failures, and the standard that will define bolting for the 21st century. It creates better oversight of the fastener manufacturing process. Time-tested production methods have been reevaluated to produce higher quality bolting, and problematic practices have been prohibited to stand up to the industry challenges of today.

    As a third party auditor, API 20E helps bolting vendors prove to their customers that they have properly adhered to industry specifications without cutting any corners. All companies that comply with API 20E receive a license and are entered into a freely searchable database called the API Composite List, giving procurement professionals a second set of eyes to share the risk of bolting evaluation. As a further layer of protection, API 20E provides an easy path for customers to report non-compliance, so each company is constantly driven to maintain and improve production through an industry-led rating system.

    API 20E also offers three Bolting Specification Levels (BSL) that differentiate compliant fasteners according to their ideal application. BSL 1 audits a company’s manufacturing and coating process to make sure specifications were followed, and requires that companies keep a record of compliance with the specification that can be reviewed if needed. BSL 2 includes all of the testing and auditing practices in BSL 1 along with additional testing of all processes to keep a closer eye on fastener production. BSL 3 bolting, in addition to all testing specified in BSL 1 and 2, limits testing methods to the most precise evaluations and prohibits fasteners that are manufactured using continuous casting techniques.

    Bolting accountability also requires traceability. To maintain API 20E compliance, fastener companies must produce and keep records from each bolting production batch for a minimum of 10 years. This way, if there is ever a problem with its field performance, a bolt can be traced to its origins and the production process can be re-audited to detect any issues that may have caused the failure. On the customer end, fasteners backed up by records can be traced at a glance to the Material Test Report (MTR) that corresponds to their production batch, helping customers target and address potential issues before they become catastrophic failures.

    At Doxsteel, we are fully committed to API 20E compliance. When it comes to precise operations that determine the wellbeing of a facility and its employees, API 20E is critical to success in today’s bolting environment. From topside, subsea, and splash zone offshore environments, to refinery, petrochemical, and power generation applications, API 20E bolting helps facilities save time, money, and lives.

    To learn more about how API 20E bolting can safeguard your operations, contact Doxsteel today.