Archive for November, 2009

Qualified: Having complied with the specific requirements or precedent conditions

Certify: To attest as being true or as represented or as meeting a standard

Many companies are claiming “certified welding procedures meeting the requirements of AWS and ASME” in their literature and on their websites in hopes of expanding their place in the welding industry to include ASME repairs and new fabrication. Having “certified welding procedures and welders” is only one step in being a “qualified” ASME fabrication facility. In order for a facility to be a legitimate ASME shop they must hold a current certificate and stamp issued by the ASME (http://cstools.asme.org/holdersearch/ ). The ASME only issues a fabrication certificate and a stamp after they have taken the time to review the fabricators quality system that states in writing how the fabricator intends on meeting the applicable ASME code. The welding portion of the QC system is only a small part; the QC system must also include provisions for engineering, procurement, material control, non-conformances, non destructive testing, post weld heat treatment, calibration of test equipment, and data reports and record retention. These are only a few of the sections considered the minimum for a quality control system. In addition to the quality system the fabricator must have a current agreement with a third party inspection agency (such as One Beacon America Insurance) to review and ensure the QC system is being followed. The inspection agency along with a representative of ASME audits the fabricators QC system every three years prior to renewing the certificate. These requirements are in place to make sure that fabricators have controls in place to ensure the safety of the public. Although there may be many fabricators which utilize welding procedures that meet ASME specifications and certify their welders to those procedures customers should take care to ask any potential fabricators for a copy of the quality control manual before they execute a purchase order for welding on ASME certified, stamped product.


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The economy has certainly effected work loads and the kind of work many shops are doing this year. In previous years it wasn’t unusual to have a back log of 6 or more months on new products. This year a back log of 2 to 3 is normal for most ASME fabricators. Although the work isn’t coming to us as in years past there are still plenty of opportunities. We have found that there has been a steep increase in repair, recertification, and rerate work for ASME vessels. As one of the few shops with a “S”, “U”, “NB” & “R” stamp we have been able to pursue a broad range of work with clients looking to make due with current equipment. This is a great way to finish projects and keep the bottom line as low as possible. Rerating a vessel can keep a project moving forward using equipment that has already been paid for. Comparatively, rerating or re-certifying a pressure vessel is a mere fraction in price and time but the results are the same. Another great option is finding and reimplementing used equipment. Let’s face it a used tank or vessel will be useful long after any of us are around to care. As a practice in good stewardship not just during tough times using used tanks and vessels can save substantial capital and bring more projects to our companies and to an ultimate completion. In the meantime companies looking for good deals on new equipment have a lot of buying power at this time too. Many shops will be able to provide the same equipment quicker than previous years at reduced rates. End users that have not seen price reductions on equipment should shop around and see if your vendor has become complacent in providing the best deal possible.

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