Monday, July 6, 2015

How to Train Welders about Quality Welds

Welders act as the first line defense against any defect, then it is important to involve them in proper training on how to ensure quality welds.

Though there is an official title of quality control welding inspector, he shouldn’t be the only one that worries about weld quality. Welders should share the responsibility for ensuring quality welds.  Each person take his/ her own accountability in the welding operation – those are, design, materials, processes, compliance. If there occurs any weakness in any of those functions, welders are often pointed at for a bad weld. They are really under such tremendous pressure. And good welders would learn to become inspectors who check their own creations. That means added responsibility but more guarantee of successful welding operation. Welders are the ones with the best read on their welds’ quality as they watch these welds being produced. Once the welders understand how it is critical for them to inspect and evaluate the weld quality and ensure it, they will have more peace of mind of the weld accept possibility and have a job with reduced stress. Management must supply welders with accurate drawing, a copy of updated welding code, customer approved specification along with training required to seize instructions about the expected type of weld.


1. Clear instructions to welders include the company’s commitment to the customer. The welder’s products are expected to be aligned with the designer’s intent and expectations of the customer. Those topics are just essential for the welder to create quality welds. Welders are none other than the first line defense against weld defects.

2. A quality weld is defined as the one that satisfies the designer’s intent. What is problematic in the production area is that the history of extraordinarily perfect weld quality or accepting  less-than-code quality welds sometimes influences the current welds and causes issues about what is required. Importantly, every weld addresses the code/ drawing requirements and doesn’t go beyond the weld size or fail to reach the required quality. Still, by deciding to always offer only minimum sized welds which just meet the code, welds might be rejected by other inspectors in next manufacturing processes or as warranty problems arise.

3. Welder performance certification should be a must before any welding worker starts work on the production parts. From the first day of employment, every welder is required to show proficiency and ability to weld as required for the particular assignment.

4. Welding procedure specifications (WPSs) contribute a great deal to effectively managed and arranged welding operations. WPSs help smooth communication among all persons connected with the welding operations as related to what is expected for a weld. Those specifications include procedural documentation regarding the design of weld joint, base material kind and grade, welding process, consumables and equipment, essential variable ranges – ex. volts, travel speed, amperes. All the departments (i.e. design, purchasing, operation, quality) engaged in welding need access and understand WPSs. They all are required to know what to expect in the finished welds. To grasp tight this welding knowledge is the essence of success.

5. To shed light on the importance of welding, management should ensure welding workers do the following listed:

  • Understand the most current revision of print and welding symbols.
  • Seize the code, specification, essential variables, acceptance criteria.
  • Know what is the correct time of welding inspections or QC inspection hold points.
  • Always keep the working place safe, aired out, well lighted and properly clean.
  • Wear protective clothing, ensure hold, lenses are in good repair.
  • Put on clean and neat clothes, safety boot. Dress just like a professional welder.
  • Watch out the equipment condition and operation. Prepare extra cups, tips, liners, etc.
  • Wear prescription safety glasses, or welding helmet magnifying lenses when welding.
  • Make hand tools – ex. pliers, wire-cutters, screwdrivers, etc. readily available.
  • Keep sufficient consumables accessible and stored safely.
  • Know typical weld joint designs.
  • Keep parts at the working station and be provided by assigned material handlers.
  • Keep the filler metal, consumables like gas, backing, inserts, etc. available.
  • Keep an eye on essential variables in WPSs (volts, amperes, travel speed).
  • Know the preheat and post-heat treatment requirements and employ a temp stick.
  • Apply the preferred technique – weave or string the weld for the product consistency.
  • Know welding code requirements and planned non-destructive testing.
  • Include a set of fillet weld gauges, measuring tape, metal ruler, mechanical devices for measuring correct root openings and weld sizes.
6. Encourage welders to utilize in-plant made visual samples that help remember what acceptable welds and rejected welds look. Make a proper wall fixed board to, for all time, keep those reminders available for effortless reference to all the welders. The welder also must bear in mind that as the first and foremost inspector of welds, they should make the accept/ reject decision whilst the hood is down and the arc is on. It is just the welder that can, indeed, see the puddle of the crucial root pass and figure the defect in the mist of the root weld pass or whilst the puddle is molten.

7. Visual inspection should happen throughout welding. Talented welders with high responsibility, pride in expertise will do their utmost to smooth the whole welding operation without minute defects and make inspectors of final welds less sweating. The non-destructive testing tools help welders with well-timed weld inspection along the process. Apart from visual inspection criteria, a welder can conduct liquid penetrant inspection, or magnetic particle tests on welds during the process or when welds are finished, before the official QC inspection. Welders without successful efforts of personal inspections can drain their company’s finances.

8. Accountability by all the weld team members would improve weld quality. Every involver from designer, purchasing, operation to quality need let the welding supervisor know their contact number to give timely responses to welding issues on the shop-floor as shortly, day, night or weekends. Bear in mind that in-process welding is the real time operation that awaits no one.

Also, the inspectors of final welds, after their checks, should find specific countermeasures to problem detected, and help welders take lessons and avoid the same defect(s) later on.

9. Individual welders must keep work ethic and always tell the truth. If they need new tools, get them. If they have problems with vision, get portable lights, or glasses. If there cannot access the weld, then stop to change the design or create a subassembly. Nobody can inspect ‘quality’ into a welded part. The term ‘quality’ is relative, meaning compliance with the code and the designer’s intent.

Above are helpful pieces of advice by Dr. Grantham, a Forensic Welding Expert. Throughout his life, he worked as welder, welding supervisor, welding engineer, and welding inspector in various industries. What he has shared is from his experiences and precious lessons drawn along the way.

1 comment:

  1. yay thank you for the tips! Im sure a lot of welders can benefit from this article. Anyway contact Industrial Equipment Pampanga for welding machine and supplies in the Philippines.