From how mining plant and equipment are built to crucial public infrastructure like bridges, road signs and much more, welding plays an essential role in how the world around us is built. The entire product cycle of the welding process – from design through to inspection – must consider all aspects that could affect weld quality, and therefore risk, ie public safety and financial loss.
Quality welding standards and compliance that cover the entire process is essential because it is impossible to undertake certain critical verification checks of a completed welded joint without destroying the component. Unfortunately, inspection after completion does not guarantee weld serviceability. As such, quality must be reliably built into the welding process from the very beginning.
The Role of Welding Standards and Compliance in Public Safety
Standards Australia is the peak non-governmental agency responsible for approving national welding standards. The purpose of both Australian and International Standards is to provide guidance to ensure that welded structures are safe. Standards have been developed, reviewed and revised over years by volunteer engineers and tradesmen who have extensive experience in designing and constructing welded structures. The accuracy and validity of technical data and specifications is of the highest standard.
If applied properly, Standards ensure fabricated structures meet the specified design criteria, are fit for purpose, and confidence can be had that the component will be structurally sound for their design life. The application of Standards to a process such as welding is particularly important because welding must be done correctly the first time to ensure safety and because welding defects and flaws can be difficult to detect, test for and repair once a welded joint is complete without destroying it. Non destructive testing can provide some confidence but the variability of the processes and technicians means they are open to
There are a number of key elements to welding management. Over recent years it has been identified globally that ISO9001 does not adequately control all facets of welding. In response to this there has been a number of standards introduced with the intent to detail what elements of fabrication and welding need to be controlled. These standards are AS/NZS ISO 3834 and AS/NZS 5131.
Welding Procedure Specifications
A Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) exists to describe standard welding procedures to guide welders as they create products. A WPS will contain proven and tested procedures that cover information including materials and tools to use, techniques to employ, design requirements, and essential processes to follow such as preheating requirements, which filler metals to use, wire feed speed, amperage and testing methods.
Welding Procedure Specifications are an essential document to ensure welds used in creating a structure will be safe and compliant. Standards Australia have created Welding Procedure Specifications for some of the most common welding types, including for carbon steels, stud welding, and structural stainless steels. However, they don’t cover all welds, meaning companies must sometimes create their own WPS.
Ensuring Compliance through welding management.
Safety is best achieved by compliance to Standards. This includes various elements from understanding design requirements, material control and traceability, inspection and test plans, dimensional control, welding oversight, Non destructive testing, post weld heat treatment and developing the necessary records that verify the component is built as specified. Welding companies must also observe their obligations and duty of care to supply safe plant under the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 and take steps to develop a WPS where welding procedures are not covered by procedures created by Standards Australia.
Contact Technoweld for Assistance with Welding Procedures
Technoweld can provide assistance with the development and implementation of welding management systems to reduce rework, increase client confidence thatyour welds are compliant and you create quality products. Technoweld are industry specialists who understand welding management as detailed in AS/NZS ISO 3834 and AS/NZS 5131. Contact us today to find out how we can help!