High-quality welds are key to successful metal fabrication. Each weld is crucial to ensure structural integrity and long-term durability. Insufficient welding quality control (QC) can lead to mistakes that could compromise the entire custom-metal fabrication.
Welding mistakes can lead to product failure, failure to comply with OSHA industrial accessibility regulations, or other costly consequences.
Having properly trained and certified welders along with a documented QC program can help to prevent delays and mishaps. These are five questions you should ask custom metal fabricators in order to ensure that welding quality is top-of-mind.
1. Can you provide documentation to prove that your welders have been certified?
As part of a documented quality assurance program, a qualified custom metal fabricator must be able to verify all certifications and qualifications for their staff.
Welders need to be certified to:
- Use structural steel according to the American Welding Society AWSD1.1 (carbon steel greater than 1/8″)
- AWS D1.6 Standards (stainless steel over 1/16″ gauge)
- Follow the Welding Procedure Specifications, (WPS), that conform to ASME Section 9.
- Fabricate carbon-steel tank that meets the API-650 standard
- Respect industry-specific welding regulations such as those set forth by the Canadian Welding Bureau CWB
2: How can you make sure your welders are qualified for staff?
To verify that each welder has been properly tested according to applicable welding codes such as:
- Codes of the American and Canadian Welding Society (latest accepted edition).
- AWS D1.1 steel structural welding codes (as mentioned above)
- 1.2 API codes and standard
- 1.2 AISC codes, standards
- 1.3 CSA standard W47.1
3: Do your welders have a quality manager?
To ensure that each welder is performing to their best, a quality control (QA) manager should be on staff at a reputable fabricator. The QA manager should keep each welder and tacker updated every six months and record their work history in accordance to applicable industry codes.
Fit-ups must be visually inspected according to the specifications of the relevant fabrication drawings. Before shipping, the QA manager must document and photograph all welds as well as assembly details.
4: Do your systems allow you to identify WPS and number them?
The QA manager for custom metal fabricators should create a system to number and identify Welding Procedure Specifications. This system should record all relevant welding information such as plate dimensions, material types, welder, and operator identifications.
The WPS must also be evaluated for essential variables such as consumables and interpass temperatures, travel speed, travel speed, and the amps or volts used to prepare the specimen for the qualification test. As necessary, the QA manager should update the WPS and communicate any updates to all welders in the shop.
5: Does your quality control program include safe welding practices?
Full-service metal fabricators know the value of protecting their most valuable long-term assets, their employees. Workers who are healthy and happy will be less likely to make mistakes in welding that could lead to product failures or structural defects.
The General Saw Company only hires certified and safety-conscious welders in our quality control system. Our QC program conforms to welding standards per AWS and ASTM specifications. It also adheres to industry-specific safety guidelines such as material thickness in every custom metal fabrication.
Our clients receive documentation regarding every fabrication. This includes QC inspection paperwork to allow for welding certification and detailed photos. Every metal fabrication is checked by our dedicated QA manager and QC inspectors to ensure it meets or exceeds safety and quality standards.
This article was written by Tyler Duoos, Tyler is the owner of General Saw Company. General Saw Company takes pride in being a leader in sheet metal fabrication services to Central Florida and its surrounding areas. If you are looking for Metal Fabrication Companies to get the job done right the first time we got you covered!