Different industries usually utilise welding in joining and fusing materials. And for these industries to perform welding effectively, they must follow a set of procedures that are intended to give the best welding results possible. This set of procedures is typically indicated in a document called Welding Procedure Specification (WPS).
WPS is a written document that describes welding procedures and provides directions to the welder or welding operators. The presence of this document helps welders know the accepted procedures for the welding process. It also enables them to stick with repeatable and verified welding techniques that are deemed effective and efficient.
If you are dealing with demand critical welds or with hard-to-weld metals, then having a fully developed WPS can make things simple. To develop your own WPS, you may want to follow the following approaches.
Use a Previous Welding Procedure
If you have successfully welded metal materials before, then you may want to use that specific welding procedure again. When you encounter the same metal material that you have welded before, what you can do is to copy and use the same welding procedure you have used before. You can also perform additional verification tests like the macro-etch test and bend test to determine if there are some elements that you should modify on your existing welding procedure.
Follow Recommendation from the Manufacturer
Filler metals are typically used for securing joint between two adjacent surfaces. Usually, manufacturers of filler metals publish typical operating procedures for their products. Following these procedures can be a good start, especially if you do not have a lot of experience in developing welding procedures or lack some knowledge on the specifics of welding. But remember, you can still modify or simplify the recommendation of the manufacturer for safer and more productive welding.
Develop Procedures from Scratch
Developing a new WPS usually happens when the materials or the variables involved are not common and typical. This type of approach also happens whenever you are limited by your equipment. And given the complexity of this approach, you are required to perform a lot of tests and evaluations for you to gain the most optimal welding performance and results. Tests like macro-etch tests and bend tests can also be applied when performing procedure applications.
Use a Standard Welding Procedures Specification
There is a difference between standard WPS and prequalified welding procedures. A prequalified welding procedure specification can only be used by certain welding codes and is not widely published. Therefore, you still need to develop the procedures on your own. Standard WPS, on the other hand, can be used right away without determining all the needed procedures and variables for your welding. Standard WPS is best for fabricators that lack proficiency in welding.
Hire a Professional Welding Consultant
If you have the resources to hire a professional welding consultant, then hire one. However, you must be very careful since some welding consultants tend to recommend welding procedures that are not appropriate for your welding materials and other elements. Work with a consultant that has amazing background and experience in welding so that he or she can come up with great welding procedures. He or she must also help you in qualifying your welders for excellent welding results.
Whatever approach you intend to choose, you can expect great welding results if you appropriately evaluate every element and conduct every test possible. If you need help with the development of your WPS, feel free to contact us at Warco Engineering. We have accredited welding inspectors and supervisors that have extensive knowledge and experience to follow specific welding techniques that guarantee high-quality weld results.
Certified weld inspectors have access to a wide range of non-destructive inspection services. Sure, a weld flaw can be visually detected, but even the keenest eye can’t see beyond a solid surface. NDT inspection services are designed to ‘see’ beyond the visible light spectrum. They use special sensors and scanning arrays to accomplish this impressive feat. Deemed a key inspection service, just what is this cutting-edge equipment all about?
Why is Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Important?
If a pressure vessel or engineering asset is mechanically certified and commissioned, it’s classed as ready to install. How reckless would it now be to tear into a section of that metal frame? Even if the test involved nothing more than the removal of a maintenance hatch, the equipment could be compromised by this action. NDT procedures inspect weld seams and materials for flaws without altering the equipment configuration. Furthermore, these tests can be conducted while the equipment is on-site and locked into its processing framework, which represents a benefit that can’t always be offered by a more disruptive inspection routine.
Designing the Electronic Instrumentation
Imagine a range of non-destructive services that inspects welds for subsurface flaws. The equipment discovers microcrystalline defects in the sheet metal, locates imperfect welds, and seeks out hidden joint flaws. On the surface, that metal may look perfect, but below that surface, there could be a weak spot. NDT services use radiographic inspections and ultrasonic instruments to look through the solid material. They peer deep into the microscopic realm so that the contents of a metal component can be evaluated. Technologically speaking, the techniques employed here can detect any material imperfection, no matter how far below the surface that flaw is located.
Trained in All NDT Analysis Procedures
Entire chapters in engineering manuals are reserved for this critically important discipline. The science begins with liquid dye penetrants, then it takes flight with eddy current detection technology and radiographic scanning. Those latter sensory checks are commonly employed in hospitals as biological imaging procedures. Indeed, this field uses X-Ray science, radio waves, sound waves, and every other conceivable wave type on the electromagnetic spectrum. Equipped with a computer brain, the technically advanced tools can even create images of the subsurface scattering effect, just like an X-Ray.
If intelligently managed engineering resources have been exhausted while fabricating pressure-capable vessels and load-bearing structures, then those parts obviously are not meant to be compromised after they’ve been installed. Non-destructive inspection services allow engineers to conduct their weld and material analyzing routines without modifying those parts. Furthermore, the NDT routines look deeper than the human eye, so deep that they harmlessly peer past solid surfaces and into the potentially flawed internal geometry of a weld joint or a material form.
Like any other craft master, welding inspectors know everything there is to know about their chosen field. That metallurgical jointing expert probably started from the bottom as a welder. Working in the industry, certifications were gained, welding processes were mastered, and all applicable engineering codes were comprehensively assimilated. Today, that welding professional is backed by qualifications and certifications, the credentials that will open the door to new career opportunities.
Welding Inspection Jobs: What Does It Take?
Not surprisingly, this is a role that cannot be placed on the shoulders of an everyday welder. If a competent professional is getting the job done right, we still can’t simply pluck that skilled individual from the crew and assign him this position. As capable as that journeyman is, there’s no guarantee of technical proficiency. Similarly, we don’t pull a knowledgeable structural engineer from his office and say he’s the site welding inspector. This latter professional is academically capable, but where’s the practical experience? No, a welding inspection job needs a fully-rounded skillset, which is why the certification program exists as a merit-based career auditor, a qualification system that ensures the job claimant is both practically and academically accredited.
An Accredited CWI Professional
The CWI (Certified Weld Inspector) does visually inspect the metallurgical joints, but this fundamental inspection mode belies the true role of this exhaustively trained individual. If the training framework surrounding this professional could be made visible, we’d see an underlying platform built from years of practical welding experience. Alongside that block, there would be a second foundational support, one that illustrated process compliance and safety fidelity. Of course, these hypothetical musings are only that, a look at some possible capabilities. Certifications provide concrete proof of a wide range of competence-proven welding mastery. In short, this is a recognized accreditation program, one that requires investment, and that investment will take the form of money and time, but the resulting certification does place the successful candidate on one of the highest rungs of the welding career ladder.
There are no shortcuts here. Sure, a decade of welding experience smooths the career path somewhat, but that practically-minded worker now needs additional seasoning from the other side of the welding fence. Essentially, the candidate needs training in non-destructive testing technology, in structural engineering principles, and all other test methods. Armed with the practical and theoretical skills, paperwork and recorded documentation is the next order of business. It’s a diverse, multidisciplinary work position, the role of welding inspector, but the career path is also the ultimate culmination of years of hard work in the field of welding.
Next on the agenda, we’ll be talking about the differences between welding engineers and certified welders. What discernible qualities separate the two engineering titles? Well, a welding engineer possesses an extra set of engineering skills, such as the ability to scientifically assess the structural integrity of a particular project. Certified welders, while intimately familiar with many weld techniques, are not formally trained engineers.
Certified Welders Do the Job Right
Make no mistake, the performance-based certification program does use a competency-based approach to prepare welders for a career in this challenging industry. The qualified professional gains an understanding of the many principles and practices that are currently required to procedurally produce any metallurgical formed weld join. They’re exhaustively trained in regulatory compliance issues, then expected to wield the right jointing solution in any imaginable situation, be it a chemical processing plant, an oil rig, or a massive civil engineering project. In short, certified welders are tested to ensure they meet and even exceed a demonstrated skill level.
Welding Engineers Direct the Job
This is next level engineering knowledge, a skill set that goes beyond welding. The engineer in question demonstrates more knowledge and more experience than the Certified Welder (CW). Capable of carrying out a metallurgical assessment, a CWEng is an experienced welder, but this professional individual is also trained in the ways of structural technology and metallurgical science. This person has all the wherewithal to direct and manage a complex weld-centric operation so that every structural element is certain to comply with all relevant engineering regulations. This advanced supervisory position includes but is not limited to knowledge of material characteristics, the principles that determine structural laws, and the mechanical workings of a comprehensive range of architectural components. Essentially, there are 4 challenging tests that must be passed in order to gain this title. They’re composed of theoretical modules and hands-on examinations.
Employed as key personnel in any welding operation, certified welders are tested and accredited. They’re trained to work in every conceivable industrial and commercial domain, and that training also includes key weld equipment types, so every arc welding procedure will match a required weld specification. However, when sourcing an advanced operative, someone who has the wherewithal to competently direct the work, only a welding engineer can fill that role adequately. That professionally vetted technologist is a welder, a hands-on worker, but he’s much more besides. Capable of assessing the structural and material requirements of any situation on a case-by-case basis, an engineering welder can essentially run the whole operation, from beginning to end.
Rigorously administered codes and guidelines act as a driving force for weld procedure qualification tests. In truth, those qualification tests are methodically structured, which means there’s an entire framework of rules and regulations directing this critically important engineering vocation. Governed by procedural routines, by documented inspection programs and quality control systems, every applied weld becomes repeatedly consistent and mechanically sound. Let’s dive a little deeper into this procedural framework.
What Are Weld Procedure Qualification Tests?
In simple terms, these are a series of structured rules that have been established by qualified engineering authorities. The governing bodies include national engineering experts and certain weld-oriented technical societies. It’s these supremely capable groups that formalize the tests. They generate the weld procedure qualification records (WPQR), which act as a formatted report on the joint production methodology. A brief look at that report shows the desired welding methods, the equipment required, and the materials that will facilitate an expertly formed material joint. Compliance with this document is where the crux of this article lays.
Certifying Procedurally Trained Welders
The goal, when these qualification tests are properly applied, is to produce welding personnel with process compliance knowledge. Those joining engineers comprehend the weld procedure reports, they repeatedly meet the required quality standards, and they always demonstrate an ability to consistently work within the provided procedural guidelines. If it helps, picture weld procedure qualification tests as a compliance-based bridge, one that’s built from ASME codes and technical knowledge. In crossing that bridge and gaining the certification, the skill of the welder is tempered and professionally validated. Also, beyond testing the welder’s technical skills, this systemic approach adds a regulatory mechanism to this tough work. It’s that translation of project requirements, plus the ability to expertly carry out those duties, that makes the difference between a fly-by-night operation and a truly professional engineering service.
If we’ve established anything by this point, it’s that it takes more than a mechanically skilled operative to weld a joint on a challenging engineering project, although that skill does create a solid foundation from which the certification service can commence. On top of those welding skills, the weld procedure qualification tests assess code knowledge and regulatory awareness. Applied as a certification, the welder must demonstrate competence as well as consistency. In service of these commendable goals, the qualification test also adds knowledge of procedural aids to the welder’s already quality-assured training. Those aids come in the form of procedure-based qualification records, the instructions and reports that demand absolute compliance.