assuring weld integrity

Weld-quality concerns the safe operation of any manufactured product.

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It may be a power plant, an airplane, a car, a high rising building, a bridge, a ship or anything.

It is  to be present not only at completion of work when delivered to the owner.

But all along its design service life, through adequate inspections and maintenance or repair work as needed to assure continuing safety.

Weld-quality must be built in every welded, brazed or soldered manufactured item.

To assure adequate Weld-quality, its design has to take into account both service life and manufacturing requirements.

Then suitable materials and welding processes have to be selected and implemented, through calling for applicable standards and codes, and by specifying the employment of certified welders showing acceptable performance qualifications.

The reasons for these strict requirements stem from the risks that loss of service, liabilities, repair or replacement are associated with costs, likely to impair the economic health of the affected parties.

All the more so as increasing performance as required is achieved by using stronger and lighter materials.

Therefore adequate cost effective quality control programs must be implemented.

Safe Operation requires excellent Weld-quality

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Weld-quality relates to the integrity of weldments.

Reliability and fitness for purpose are necessary preconditions to the correct performance during the programmed service life.

It is essential to understand that Weld-quality assurance depends on the capability to examine, detect and correct the presence of unacceptable discontinuities in weldments.

It is commonly agreed that the selection of quality requirements affects all of the following: design, fabrication, inspection, operation, maintenance and economics.

Design must strive to assure fitness for service by specifying adequate features.

Fabrication procedures and practices must ensure that weldments meet design specifications.

To that effect procedures must be spelled out in clear binding documents (WPS - Welding Procedure Specification) and strict adherence must be confirmed by current manufacturing inspection.

Additional product inspection and Non Destructive Examination must follow, to verify the absolute absence of dangerous discontinuities in the weldments.

During service life, continuing operation has to be constantly monitored by performing periodic inspections, and necessary maintenance interventions must be scheduled for safe and reliable service.

Economic concerns related to the ongoing operation of weldments affect all maintenance planning decisions.

The lowest fabrication cost may conceal the dangers of expensive maintenance costs.

Therefore it is customary to take into account the total cost, that includes all maintenance and repair expenses to be sustained along the whole service life.

Safe operation has to be guaranteed at all times.

Loss of operation, for performing maintenance work that cannot be delayed, may be far more expensive than the cost of repair.

It should be reminded that discontinuities may be found in every weldment.

The difference between acceptable or repairable discontinuities and those that must be rejected in a given project is established by the designer who takes into account the risk of failure and its consequences.

An overview of the most common rejectable discontinuities is given in our page on Welding-defects.

An Article on Putting Welds to the Test was published (11) in Issue 166 of Practical Welding Letter for June 2017.
Click on PWL#166.

See the following publication on related subjects

Ensuring Weld-quality in Structural Applications


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