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Posts Tagged ‘ASME Certified’

Did you know that there are a few simple steps you can take to save quite a bit of money on your insurance?  No, it’s NOT switching to GEICO®!   Certifying your company with the State Cost Containment Board (Name varies from state to state) can make a big difference in the amount of Workman’s Compensation Insurance that your company pays out.  (And, it is so easy, even a Ca…you get the point.)  It is amazing that every company doesn’t go through the steps of cost containment to keep that money within their organization.

More importantly, cost containment is more than saving money – it is a commitment within your organization to provide a safe working environment for all.  This ethos can only be achieved through the constant effort of top leadership to promote safety within the organization.  Safety programs and open lines of communication are effective tools in keeping a safe work environment but without a constant push from the top, employees often become complacent which can lead to accidents.

If you haven’t already, begin a cost containment program within your organization.  Usually, a company needs to have a cost containment program in effect for one year prior to submitting to the certifying entity.  Though this process may seem tedious, it is worth creating an environment of safety and care as a core value.

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Yesterday marked a first for me in my eleven years of working in the ASME world; a welder who stated he could pass a 6G weld test on 2” Schedule 80 carbon steel pipe using the GMAW welding process actually showed me he could do it. It’s amazing to me how many welders come into our shop boasting about their accomplishments and certifications only to completely discredit themselves when it comes time to perform an actual weld. A couple of years ago I had a welder come in and apply for work that had every welding process and material I could ever imagine welding at our facility listed on his resume. His resume looked fantastic! He even had lead man experience and design experience listed on the resume. When I was reading through his certifications and came across ASME 6G MIG certified I was ecstatic! So I asked the question, “Can you pass a 6G MIG test today”? “Of course I can” he boasted.  6G is a one test fits all approach to qualifying welders. If a welder can pass the 6G test he or she is qualified to weld in any position (Vertical, Horizontal, Flat, and Overhead). As such it’s a pretty tough test. The welder must tack weld two pieces of pipe together then secure the two pieces to a jig that holds the pipe to be welded 45 degrees off the horizontal. The welder cannot move the pipe once the welder has started. When in this position the welder is forced to weld vertically, flat, and overhead on the same piece of pipe. Now back to the welder… I set him up in the shop with a welder and some pipe and said “GO”! I went back to my office to let the man work in peace. Twenty minutes later he came through the office with all his tools extremely frustrated and simply said he was leaving. Shocked I went out to see what happened. I found his weld test stuffed way under the table he was working on. It looked HORRIBLE! It had to be (and still is) the worst coupon I had ever seen. Unbelievable! I chocked it up to the fact that no matter what the paper says the caliber of a welder can only be known through testing. The saying you get what you pay for certainly applies to welding. We at Precision Pipe & Vessel have had some extremely high end welding and if we let people who THINK they can weld anything without testing them in the door we will be closing the doors permanently all too soon. In today’s market place we have found that diversity is what works for keeping our doors open and our employees enjoy having a variety of work including the high end stainless steel and other alloy work come in the door. May I suggest if you are a buyer or a purchaser in today’s market that before you go with the least expensive bid you ask for a weld sample along with welder qualifications before you issue the purchase order. Sometimes the “you get what you pay for” can end up costing so much more then expected the cheapest manufacturer is not worth it.

As a follow up, this weld was just made by one of the welders in our shop:

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How do you feel when a project is due to ship in two-weeks time?  Now how about one-week?  Is there a sense of confidence or sheer panic?  When it’s crunch time who/what do you turn to make your deadline?  There are only two choices:  One, ramp up with resources to get the job done. OR, Two, go to your customer and explain why you won’t make your deadline.  (Side note:  When it comes to excuses, I always think of John Belushi in the movie, Blues Brothers, giving Carrie Fisher a long list of why he couldn’t make it to their wedding.)

We know that the two options have serious problems.  If we ramp up resources, our margins slip away fast.  When we go to our customer with a list of why we can’t, we look incompetent and incapable of completing a task we said we could do.  Neither of the two options sound very appealing to me, yet businesses engage in them countless times, usually, with no shame.

How then, do we carry our project through on time and on budget and mitigate the risks and unknown problems that may arise during the project lifespan?  Two words: Hard Work.

It takes hard work to plan out resourcing and stay on task.  It takes hard work to stay motivated to see a project to its completion, but the payoff – well, it’s usually worth the hard work.   Usually, there are simple steps that we can take to make sure we stay on task and that our hard work is not in vain.

Years ago, a mentor of mine encouraged me to write on a 3×5 note card the three most important things I had to do the next day.  (At the end of my day, everyday)  That way, when you come in the next day, you know exactly where to start and what is important to accomplish.  The great thing about this advice is that it keeps you on track in the midst of a chaotic day.

Another great tip from my mentor is to hold a 10 minute meeting at the beginning of each day with various leads and managers of the project that is in progress.  This gives you as project manager  the forum to ask of your leads:  “What are your priorities for the day?”  This in turn, leads to greater communication and accountability within the team.

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When it comes to kicking off a project we usually focus most of our attention and energies in moving the project from beginning to end.   For some of us, there is excitement in the start of a new project and a sigh of relief when the project ends (with a whole lot of hope and nail biting in between).  Not long into the life of a project there comes a sobering reality of the tedious tasks that are required to make a project successful.  Our follow through with these tasks are principal to the outcome and overall success of the project and ultimately how customers perceive us.  Follow through is best achieved within a team environment where every member of the team is using their strengths to maximize the effort given towards the project.   Within a team there is a greater level of accountability and creativity that leads to effective communication and clear direction.  Clear direction leads to efficient work flow and easy identification of bottle necks and other potential problems making your project economical and creating greater margin within your business.

Don’t forget to conduct follow up meetings regularly to track progress.  These brief meeting should be done at the beginning of the day, be brief, and cover what top tasks each team member has to accomplish that day.  Above all, have fun!  The more you enjoy your team and project, the greater strength you have to complete the tasks you have throughout your day.

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Does your company fabricate or market boilers?  Do you need to have your boilers certified in accordance with the standards for Power Boilers from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)?  Well then, an S-Stamp is for you. In this case, the S-stamp is for Power Boilers and applies to two types of boilers under Section I of the latest copy of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.   First, it applies to boilers in which steam or other vapor is produced at a pressure greater than 15 psig (100 kPa) external to itself.  Second, it applies to high temperature water boilers intended for use with operating pressures greater than 160 psig (1.1 MPa) and/or has temperatures exceeding 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Getting the S-stamp is not easy as there are many things a company needs before ASME will issue the stamp.  These “things” include but are not limited to:  A Quality Control (QC) System, initial investments and personnel to maintain.  These subjects are covered in more detail under  sections  PG-104 through 109, and PG-111 of Section I of the most recent revision of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.  These sections cover general information, types of stamps relative to Section I, applications, agreements, quality control systems required, and stamping of boilers and associated power piping as well as field-assembled boilers.   Once a company has satisfied the ASME requirements, it will receive the S-Stamp (and thus use it to stamp boilers) and a Certificate of Authorization from ASME to enable them to start code construction.  Additionally, although a company may have an S-stamp, it is also “good business practice” that the company has product liability insurance on the boiler prior to delivery.

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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.

http://www.precision-pipe.com

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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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