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Welding-problems are costly disruptions.

Many factors can contribute to unacceptable results.

The ability to find out what went wrong comes with years of experience.

A solid knowledge base in many disciplines is required.
Attention to details is essential.

Normally a shop becomes in time knowledgeable with the materials employed, with the equipment used and with the requirements applied.

Nevertheless Welding-problems can occur at any time as unexpected surprises, and some routine for the inquiry of occasional failures should be readily available.

It is suggested here to select one person or a small team in the organization, to deal with every disruption in a systematic way.
This will allow the collection and record of all details of Welding-problems and the build up of a folder that will include evidence, findings and remedies applied.

Written records will build experience and permit to recognize a fault when it is repeated. If sloppy practices are exposed, rules to avoid recurrence and changes of policy may be brought about.

In general, welding operations involve interactions among materials, equipment and operators. It is most important, while investigating Welding-problems, to determine which of the above factors was likely to be at fault.

Some hints on what to look for first are spelled out in our page on
Welding Production Failures.

The page on Welding Defects gives a few definitions of such unacceptable results and reminds how different these are from discontinuities.

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Generally one should be wary of material substitutions, except possibly in case of shortages.
Purchasing agents may make a point in finding out cheaper sources.

As a matter of avoiding hindrances however, one should establish the practice of checking every new material, base and consumable, by making a test run before clearing it for purchase, to demonstrate than no adverse effects are produced.

Also gases and accessory consumables should be strictly controlled at purchase and acceptance.

Equipment should be always in good working condition to be used for work.
That is achieved by following a well definite schedule of verifications and maintenance, including periodic calibrations.

A list of online Resources on Welding Maintenance and Repair was published in Bulletin 99 .

Manufacturers' recommendations on equipment maintenance should be rehearsed periodically and constantly applied, especially for replacing items subject to deformation or wear, whose malfunction might adversely affect regular production.

Insufficiently skilled operators may obviously compromise the results of certain delicate operations.
But it may be hard to convince welders that they need additional supervised practice to improve their performance and prevent Welding-problems.

Every welding operation involving manual welding should be spelled out in a suitable Welding Procedure Specification (WPS).

That is particularly important if, to obtain acceptable results, governing parameters must be selected in a narrow window of values.

To avoid painful discussions with welders, one should produce a test piece, one that was used to qualify a WPS, and check if it passes or fails the test.

The practice of establishing periodic welders' tests may help in singling out those who could profit from additional training even if they are veterans in the profession.

External Help for  solving Welding-problems ?

In case of painful and costly Welding-problems, after having done the necessary due diligence to correct obvious deviations from good practice, if no improvement can still be obtained, management should seriously consider if the losses would not justify the professional intervention of an experienced metallurgist, to be charged with getting to the root causes of the problem once and for all.

It is Management's responsibility to find the best ways to get out of hindrances as swiftly as possible.
The solution just suggested might become a beneficial asset to be proud of, instead of the useless and expensive outlay it could be perceived at start. 

Welding-problems will not go away by themselves. A thoughtful effort should be dedicated to the task of finding out the best solution.

An Article on Filler Metal for GTA Welding 304L to 904L was published (4) in Issue 146 of Practical Welding Letter for October 2015.
Click on PWL#146.

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