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Posts Tagged ‘Weld Proceedures’

An interesting project has come to our shop that is leading to a new welding procedure. The project is a simple stainless steel pressure vessel, 6” diameter pipe, 0.432” wall approximately 18” long. While this seems overly simple it has led me to investigate the welding options we have qualified for stainless in our shop. We have stainless hardwire, flux core, stick, and TIG procedures but which one to use? Flux core fills very fast, hardwire is clean and neat, TIG has an artistic look when done right but is slower then hardwire and flux core. Stick welding is smoky and unless the welder is REALLY good it just doesn’t look as nice as the others. I’m beginning to think multiple processes. If we hardwire the root then no backing gas is required (meaning we don’t have to purge the inside of the vessel to remove any oxygen exposure on the back side of the weld) then we can fill the majority of the weld joint with either spray arc hardwire or flux core and finish with TIG. We get a solid, quick welded joint that looks like art! But I don’t have a weld procedure that includes three different welding processes. Do I need to break out some stainless steel scrap and weld up a coupon using the three selected processes and have it tested? Conveniently, I do not. Because I have Procedure Qualification Reports (PQR’s) for all three processes I can write a new procedure using the existing PQR’s. I can take the information from each PQR and implement a new procedure that includes all three processes. Each process must be noted on the new weld procedure and the essential variables must also be noted. One other item to be sure to review, the thickness of the additive PQR’s must yield the thickness range required for the intended joint. Maintaining documentation of all our welding processes and procedures makes this an easy accomplishment, an accomplishment that allows us to utilize our knowledge and history to go forward. If you like the way a certain welding process looks but have been told it costs too much or takes too much time, give us a call. We’ll help you find a happy medium that yields beautiful welding and cost effectiveness.

TIG Cover Pass

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 A fantastic Article found on: http://www.csb.gov/newsroom/detail.aspx?nid=293

November 09, 2009

Without appropriate safeguards, pressure vessels can pose lethal dangers.
Washington, DC, November 9, 2009 – CSB Chairman John Bresland released a new video safety message today asking jurisdictions across the country to adopt the ASME Pressure Vessel Code to reduce the number of accidents involving catastrophic pressure vessel failures in process industries.
The safety message can be viewed on CSB.gov and on the CSB’s safety message channel,www.youtube.com/safetymessages.
In the safety message, Chairman Bresland warned that without appropriate safeguards, pressure vessels can pose lethal dangers. Chairman Bresland said, “Pressure vessels store tremendous amounts of energy and you should never become complacent about the risks.”
Particular danger exists when vessels are improperly installed, welded, or modified, or when they lack effective pressure relief systems. Mr. Bresland refers to several incidents investigated by the CSB including an explosion at a Louisiana natural gas well that killed four workers when a tank rated only for atmospheric pressure was exposed to gas pressure up to 800 pounds per square inch.
In April 2003, an 8-foot tank used to heat sugar caramel exploded when the vent line became blocked, killing an overnight operator, releasing large amounts of ammonia, and forcing a community evacuation. The vessel had no pressure-relief system.
Additionally, in 2004 a pressure vessel weighing 50,000-pounds exploded at a chemical plant in Houston, Texas, throwing heavy fragments into the community, which damaged a church and businesses.  The CSB found that the company improperly modified and welded the vessel.
Chairman Bresland stated that these accidents can be avoided if states implement long-established codes for safe use. He said, “There are only eleven states that do not require companies to follow the Pressure Vessel Code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). I ask all jurisdictions to adopt the Pressure Vessel Code and related boiler standards. Lives will be saved as a result.”
The ASME Code provides the fundamental safeguards for pressure vessels, including design, welding procedures and fabrication, testing, and pressure relief. In 2006, the CSB called upon the City of Houston to adopt the Code to protect residents and industrial facilities from these incidents. However, Houston has failed to implement this recommendation despite reoccurring pressure vessel failures such as a summer of 2008 heat exchanger explosion in a resin-production facility that killed a veteran supervisor.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.
A powerful reminder about the purpose of the ASME code and the dangers of not using a qualified and certified ASME code shop for repairs and alterations.  The nominal costs of making proper repairs to ASME pressure vessels is insignificant to the potential loss of human life. Likewise, the risk of installing non-code vessels is equally dangerous and potentially deadly.

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One of my favorite things about working here at Precision is that we practice  Manage By Wandering Around.  (MBWA as Introduced by Peters/ Waterman in the book, In Search of Excellence)  While the authors were doing research for the book they interviewed HP President John Young who explained what the term meant and its importance to HP especially during times of explosive growth.  Reflecting back on the concept of MBWA and first learning of its meaning Peter’s writes, “MBWA … Managing By Wandering Around … quickly became our favorite “excellence” idea! Technically, it meant staying in direct touch (damn the bureaucracy!) with the folks who do the work. Metaphorically, it stood for all/much of what was wrong with American management—McKinsey & Harvard Business School-style—as we confronted the Japanese challenge in areas such as product quality. That is, “big business” had become an abstraction. It was a “by the numbers” affair, where front-line “personnel” were pretty much interchangeable parts in a well-oiled “machine” and where “strategy” was considered far more important than primitive ideas such as quality and service and turned-on folks. Of course by then the bearings had lost most of their oil and seized up!”

Ok, I know what you are thinking and you are right, we’re not a giganto conglomerate that has thousands of people working for us at multiple locations!  Yes, this is true, but what is even truer is that on a daily basis small companies must fight against losing their nimbleness, effectiveness, and..well, their human touch.  We believe in measurement and standards, but not at the expense of losing touch and becoming irrelevant.  We believe in knowing our employees, not intrusively, but in such a way that they know they are a valuable member of our team.  We believe in getting out of our offices and wandering around.

Nobody in our company does this better than our President, who regularly practices MBWA and often times finds himself in the middle of lending a hand to one of our employees.  (And on occasion our customers)  There is no substitute for MBWA; it is the lighthouse that steers the small business away from the shoreline of irrelevancy that it is headed for.  Engage in MWBA today…seriously, get up and go wander!

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An interesting project has come to our shop that is leading to a new welding procedure. The project is a simple stainless steel pressure vessel, 6” diameter pipe, 0.432” wall approximately 18” long. While this seems overly simple it has led me to investigate the welding options we have qualified for stainless in our shop. We have stainless hardwire, flux core, stick, and TIG procedures but which one to use? Flux core fills very fast, hardwire is clean and neat, TIG has an artistic look when done right but is slower then hardwire and flux core. Stick welding is smoky and unless the welder is REALLY good it just doesn’t look as nice as the others. I’m beginning to think multiple processes. If we hardwire the root then no backing gas is required (meaning we don’t have to purge the inside of the vessel to remove any oxygen exposure on the back side of the weld) then we can fill the majority of the weld joint with either spray arc hardwire or flux core and finish with TIG. We get a solid, quick welded joint that looks like art! But I don’t have a weld procedure that includes three different welding processes. Do I need to break out some stainless steel scrap and weld up a coupon using the three selected processes and have it tested? Conveniently, I do not. Because I have Procedure Qualification Reports (PQR’s) for all three processes I can write a new procedure using the existing PQR’s. I can take the information from each PQR and implement a new procedure that includes all three processes. Each process must be noted on the new weld procedure and the essential variables must also be noted. One other item to be sure to review, the thickness of the additive PQR’s must yield the thickness range required for the intended joint. Maintaining documentation of all our welding processes and procedures makes this an easy accomplishment, an accomplishment that allows us to utilize our knowledge and history to go forward. If you like the way a certain welding process looks but have been told it costs too much or takes too much time, give us a call. We’ll help you find a happy medium that yields beautiful welding and cost effectiveness.

Denver Stainless Steel Welding

TIG Cover Pass

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New Year, new beginnings- same results?  That is not so bad when the last year was successful – or is it?

Recently, I have noticed that I am currently NOT doing much in the way of self-improvement other than maintaining the successful practices I have adopted last year.  On the surface this seems benign – after all, if it’s working, why change?  I can’t help but think…..what if?  What if I can add or tweak some of those successful things 2-5% for the better?  Wouldn’t that be worth the time investment to enhance what I do well? Certainly.

In business, we often focus our attention on our defects over the past year and give our organization the same old pep talk involving words such as, “We cannot continue…and/or Knock it off.”  This exercise is well worth the time and effort.  Making efforts NOT to repeat mistakes is always a worthwhile endeavor especially when your competency and reputation is on the line.  What about the things you do well?  Does your organization look to improve upon the good things that you do, even if it is “just” a 2-5% improvement.  (Example:  If your organization is good at turning quotes around what if you improved it by a couple of hours?  Soon, those hours – turn into day(s).)

Sometimes the smallest of efforts to improve what you do well can pay the biggest dividends.

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Interestingly enough, I have not noticed requirements of regulations in customer specifications regarding the concept of welder continuity. Welder continuity is the idea that a welder must continue to weld using a given process within a six month period to remain a “qualified welder” (See ASME Sec. IX, QW-322). ASME Section IX states that if a welder “has not welded with a process during a period of six months or more” he must be re-qualified. So just because a welder has passed a GMAW weld procedure qualification in the past does not mean he is qualified for the rest of his life. For example, if a shop makes a welder pass welding tests for GMAW and GTAW in order to be hired but then only uses the welder for GMAW for the next eight months the welder’s GTAW qualification has expired and he must be re-qualified. You’re probably thinking, “what a pain” and you could be right! If you do not have a continuity log for your welders showing the welding processes they have used within a six month period since they qualified it could get very difficult to remember who is still qualified for what! Continuity Log. This is a simple spread sheet that records the date and procedure a welder passed the qualification test and then maintains a running log recording that a welder has used the welding process every six months. I underline process because if you have multiple welding procedures for the same process (GMAW for carbon steel and stainless steel, etc.) then the welder remains qualified for every weld procedure he has successfully tested for within the same PROCESS by welding any of the weld procedures within that process. Every six months you simply review the log and record a date and a reference number (to either a job, a part, a test) that the welder was working on for a given process. If the welder has not used a process in the six month period you simply grab a couple of pieces of scrap material and have him weld it for you. Then record the job number and move to the next welder. It seems very simple and it is. Even if you use rig welders or a mobile welding service you can call and have them stop in for an hour to make a weld or two then record it on the log. The nice thing about the log is you always have a reference to review for which welders are qualified for your welding procedures if you keep it up to date. The bad thing is it only comes around every six months which makes it really easy to put on the back burner and forget about. When it comes time for a quality audit and someone asks to see it or asks how you keep track of your welder qualifications it can become a simple check mark or a sticking point. Feel free to stop by Precision Pipe & Vessel and ask to see our welder continuity log. We like check marks!

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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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