Weld Procedure Qualification Tests

29 September 2017

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.

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