Welding Inspection Standards and the Importance of High Quality Output

27 September 2018

To safeguard welding inspection standards, it’s important to have a best-in-class inspection program in place. The weld examiners use especially determined engineering codes and standards to assess fuse-bonded discontinuities and to gauge whether these flaws exceed certain in-service requirements and/or fabrication criteria. Ultimately, the journeymen in this tough-as-nails industry must deliver high-quality output, not just every now and again, but every single time a weld is applied.

On-The-Job Weld Consistency 

Someone once said a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This maxim may as well be illuminated in neon for all welding professionals to read. While other industries can forgive a lapse in concentration or an occasional shortcut, welders cannot afford that luxury. The job relies on a high degree of consistency. Above and beyond that skill level, welding inspectors are expected, no, obliged to know the codes and standards that will conclusively gauge the quality of each and every join, so this weakest link issue never prospers, not when every seam and joint discontinuity has been identified and assessed from multiple angles.

Introducing Welding Standards 

The tools of a welder’s trade are his equipment. For welding inspectors, their toolkits are made up of special instruments. Governing those taxing efforts and stressful interactions, welding inspection standards cut through biases and human error. American Welding Standards perform their role as safety and reliability enhancing guidelines in the USA. In Europe, we turn to the CEN standards, where the EN 1011 dominates. Meanwhile, in Australia, the AS 1545 deals with weld categories, symbols, materials, procedures, and scores of work practices.

Focal Point: Welding Inspection Standards 

Fundamentally, inspectors are looking for a handful of qualities, which must exist in every metal joint they encounter. They check for weld consistency, continuity-assured welds, reliable work practices, and for that all-important metric that guarantees a high-quality output. The standards often work on a binary level, so a YES or NO judgment is entered on a document, and then it’s recorded and appended to a report. Alternatively, and more realistically, welding inspectors wield their standards-trained senses with more maturity. They assess weld discontinuities, judge what’s acceptable and what simply cannot be sanctioned, and they do this job without any bias, all thanks to the documents and practices that regulate welding inspection standards.

Again, and this truism has been mentioned in past posts, high-quality output is not merely a matter of aesthetics. Clean and attractive welds are desirable, but they don’t determine overall joint integrity. For true output quality, weld inspectors use national and international accredited documents, guidelines and standards that detect concealed discontinuities. Beyond the capabilities of the human eye, these instruments see deep, so deep that no risk-engendering weld discontinuity can hide.

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