Ensuring quality welding standards and compliance throughout the entire process is essential. While it’s only possible to undertake certain critical verification checks of a completed welded joint by destroying the component, inspection after completion doesn’t guarantee weld serviceability. As such, companies must reliably build quality into the welding process from the very beginning.
THE ROLE OF WELDING STANDARDS AND COMPLIANCE IN PUBLIC SAFETY
The importance of welding standards and compliance in ensuring public safety cannot be overstated. Standards Australia is responsible for approving national welding standards, with both Australian and International Standards providing guidance to ensure welded structures are safe. These standards have been developed and reviewed over the years by volunteer engineers and tradespeople with extensive experience designing and constructing welded structures. Technical data and specifications are of the highest standard and accuracy.
If applied correctly, standards ensure that fabricated structures meet the specified design criteria, are fit for purpose, and will be structurally sound for their design life. Using standards for a process like welding is critical because welding must comply correctly the first time to ensure safety. Welding defects and flaws can be challenging to detect, test for, and repair once a welded joint is complete without destroying it. Non-destructive testing can provide some confidence, but variability in processes and technicians means they are not always reliable.
Several key elements make up welding management, with ISO9001 identified as inadequate in controlling all facets of welding. As a result, several standards have been introduced, including AS/NZS ISO 3834 and AS/NZS 5131, detailing the elements of fabrication and welding that need to be controlled.
WELDING PROCEDURE SPECIFICATIONS
A Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) exists to describe standard welding procedures that guide welders in creating products. A WPS contains proven and tested procedures covering materials and tools to use, techniques to employ, design requirements, and essential processes to follow, such as preheating requirements, filler metals to use, wire feed speed, amperage, and testing methods.
Welding Procedure Specifications are essential to ensure welds used in creating a structure are safe and compliant. Standards Australia has produced Welding Procedure Specifications for some of the most common welding types, including 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 through compliance with standards, which includes 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 welded as specified. Welding companies must also observe their obligations and duty of care to supply safe plants under the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 and take steps to develop a WPS where those created by Standards Australia do not cover welding procedures required for the project.
CONTACT TECHNOWELD FOR ASSISTANCE WITH WELDING PROCEDURES
Technoweld can assist with developing and implementing welding management systems to reduce rework, increase client confidence in your welds’ compliance, and create quality products. As industry specialists who understand welding management as detailed in AS/NZS ISO 3834 and AS/NZS 5131, contact Technoweld on 1300 00 WELD today to find out how we can help!