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Introduction

Welding-software comes in many flavors.

Some programs may work well just for you.

Would you like a program that asks you a few questions about your new job?

And then cranks up the answer.

Including a complete Welding Procedure Specification (WPS).

With optimized equipment and parameters for the most economic production...

Unfortunately it does not work that way. Not yet, at least, that is.

Are you surprised that such a Welding-software is presently not available?

The reason is probably that Expert Systems based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) are still far from practical realizations, except maybe for very simple situations.

Which Welding-software would you need?

Automated parameter developing

But things are moving fast. A growing body of work on Welding-software performed at the Sandia National Laboratories under the name
"Sandia Optimization & Analysis Routines" (SOAR) for automated welding, intends to do just that.

Explore the website
http://www.sandia.gov/soar/

It provides an Open Source Applications for Weld Analysis and Optimization.

You are urged to view all the available features to get a feeling on what you could do to benefit from the facilities available.

SmartWeld features 14 selectable welding applications.

The problem is analyzed on computer, and parameters are manually adjusted until an acceptable solution is found.

Then the job is ready for physical testing to further refine the operating conditions.

In their own words, "SOAR is a suite of desktop Welding-software applications to develop optimal automatic weld procedures.

Helpful applications provide interactive displays of fusion zone dimensions versus weld parameter levels within a weldment.

Other applications display heat affected zones and temperature contours by computing solutions to conduction heat transfer models.

SOAR provides analysis tools to investigate the impact of changes in weld procedures.

The procedures are applied without license from Sandia for a growing range of processes and joints, the present set of this Welding-software, covering different materials.

At any time prospective users should search if their application is covered by those available.

In the future, with gained experience and further development work, this kind of Welding software will no doubt solve more and more problems in analytical preparation and optimization for an increasing number of welding processes.


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Another well known and resourceful organization, The Welding Institute (TWI) in the UK, has been working for years on many Welding-software and proposes programs like:

  • Computerizing Welding Information
  • Comparing Processes
  • Gas related Welding-software
  • Resistance Welding toolkit
  • Weld Management Expert Software Packages

Furthermore TWI (The Welding Institute - www.twi.co.uk) has launched (2004) a program to prepare STEQTM - Welding-Software for SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises).

It is an ongoing project whose fruits will be available gradually in the coming years.

The power of Virtual Reality

At the Navy Joining Center (http://www.ewi.org/njc/), Virtual reality Welding software was developed as an aid for training, to simulate manual virtual Gas Metal Arc Welding.

Trainees are engaged in simulated operations that visualize the result and can be monitored on a screen in real time by the instructor.

The simulated process is sensitive to weld parameters, torch position and travel speed. Results are recorded for further analysis and learning.

Positive feedback on actual usage was provided by skilled welders and novices alike.

Virtual Welding Training was introduced in past issues of Practical Welding Letter.

Click on PWL#093 for an article (2) with the above title.

An update is available in PWL#096, also in section (2).

To get at no cost every issue of PWL as it is published, please subscribe.

Book-keeping

Even a most simple self made Welding software type accessory may be of help.

Everyone with a minimum of personal computer practice of spreadsheets should be able to set up, for his/her welding shop, a Table with the most used consumables, their characteristics, price, suppliers and usual parameters.

Such a table, to be continually updated, can be useful also for keeping inventory and for tracking alternative materials usage.

Calculations

One of the basic needs of any welding job concerns the calculation of the quantity of filler metal needed.

Welding software is ideally suited to accounting.

The more precise the estimate, the more advantageous can be the procuring policy, ideally to get consumables available "just in time" (according to the Japanese teachings) to minimize storing and accessory expenses.

The theoretical estimate of filler metal consumption for any given weld joint can easily be reduced to simple geometrical calculation of the volume to fill up with weld material and relative weight.

No need for expensive Welding-software for this task.

The quantity of filler material required for the job is obtained by dividing the above result by the electrode deposition efficiency factor.

This is determined in percentage, by dividing the actually deposited metal weight to the weight of filler metal used, that can be either estimated or measured.

A most important factor for comparing the cost of competing processes is the filler metal deposition rate, or the weight of filler metal deposited per unit (usually hour) of arc-on time.

The relative data can be developed and grouped for materials, processes, joint type, electrode size and welding current employed.

A special Mid Month Bulletin No. 47, of our Practical Welding Letter, was dedicated to Welding Calculations and Calculators.
Click on PWL#079B to see it.

Routine Tasks

Welding software for repetitive and organizational tasks is readily available from more than one commercial source.

The benefit is greater for most intensive use, generally for big enterprises with a vast number of welders to follow up.

They may need an organized system, which can be audited by customers and official agencies for quality assessment purposes.

Among the Welding-software offered on the market, as a help to create and manage welding documentation for those who need to fill forms on a regular base, programs are available to manage the documents listed hereafter:

  • Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS)
  • Procedure Qualification Record (PQR)
  • Welder Management System
  • Welder Certification Records
  • Welder Performance Qualification (WPQ)/Record (WPQR)
  • Welder Inspection Log
  • Welder Continuity Log
  • Fabrication Inspection Record
  • Support Database
  • ASME IX Requirements
  • ASME Interpretations Software
  • Welding Electrodes, Welding Rods, Welding Wires
  • Production Weld Management Software
  • Computer assisted NDT of welds
  • NDE Reports writing and recording
  • Weld Cost Calculation

Most of the programs present boxes to be filled in with details selected from drop-down menus, to simplify and speed up document preparation.

Demo versions are offered for online download or on CD.
See:
http://www.cspec.com/
Try also:
http://www.computereng.com/.

Welding Software(AWS, ASME, API)
to create and store online WPS, PQR and WPQ, as well as Welders Management Report
(AWS D1.1, AWS D1.2, AWS D1.3, AWS D1.5, AWS D1.6, AWS D9.1, AWS D17.1)
(ASME Section I, ASME Section VIII, ASME B31.1, ASME B31.3)

An Article on Weld Quality Monitoring was published (3) in Issue 137 of Practical Welding Letter for January 2015.
Click on PWL#137 to see it.

Requirement check

Some Welding-software programs offer to check parameters against current Code requirements.

This capability can be a most welcome checkout for the long list of conditions established by official regulatory documents.

An intrinsic advantage is that the software is routinely updated to follow Code revisions, so that customers are assured to be always complying with current requirements.

Other Welding-software routines help in providing design calculations and documentation for the most common configurations of welded pressure vessels and detail design per Code requirements.

Computerized databases are offered as a reference for learning and for training.

Guides

The following AWS Guides are available:

  • AWS A9.1-92
    - Standard Guide for Describing Arc Welds in Computerized Material Property and Nondestructive Examination Databases

  • AWS A9.2-92 Standard Guide for Recording Arc Weld Material Property and Nondestructive Examination Data in Computerized Databases

Conclusions

In the years to come, new Welding-software applications will surface capable to tackle complex problems and to suggest practical and optimized solutions.

It appears that great progress has been made in the last two decades in preparing Welding-software ready for use in a vast array of administrative and management problems.

It seems advisable that anyone involved with big welding operations get acquainted with the demo versions of Welding-software offered for evaluation at no cost.

The small shop could try to start the information journey by setting up simple programs to help with day-to-day administrative work.

Watch the Video (No Endorsement)

WPSAmerica.com
Online Welding Procedure Software

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DY2WiG1fl0

* * *

Check the following Websites for Welding Software:

http://www.twisoftware.com/home/home.jsp

http://www.computereng.com

http://www.cspec.com/

http://www.industri.no/e-weld/eng/

http://www.WPSAmerica.com

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To reach a Guide to the collection of the most important Articles from Past Issues of Practical Welding Letter, click on Welding Topics.

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Welding-software can provide a powerful boost to daily operations by helping to develop, maintain and administer the growing mass of documentation required by Code to demonstrate compliance with Quality Assurance principles. More is in the making...