Thursday, February 22, 2024

Quality in the Welding of metallic structures

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In every industry where metal structures are built, the application of various welding techniques is frequently used, which constitute processes in which the parameters that must be controlled to ensure quality cannot be easily inspected and as a consequence, the Errors incorporated during manufacture, in general, become apparent during the use of said structure.

We know that in today’s world there is a growing emphasis on quality need, since the concept of quality from the industrial or business point of view has evolved throughout history to the point of reaching considerable importance and degree of development today. On many occasions we talk about good or bad quality of a product.

Welding Metallic Structure

What do we mean when we talk about quality?

Although there are many definitions, it can be said that the Quality “It is the property that products, services and processes have to fully satisfy all those involved in their realization and usufruct”. To achieve this goal in relation to the welding application In production work, we can think of systems that assist us in management, using different concepts aimed at achieving quality through planning of all the aspects that involve the development of a welded prefabricated part.

The Welding it is a process in which the final result cannot be completely verified, that is, the inspection and subsequent tests cannot fully verify that the established quality requirements have been met, and this constitutes a very differentiating feature of this process. Likewise, the hand welding It can be considered as a craft work, where it depends largely on the skills and welder experience to obtain a satisfactory final result, that is, a healthy and resistant weld.

The first evaluation carried out on a welding it is “visual”, and if it complies satisfactorily in relation to an application standard, technical specification or contractual specification, we are probably beginning to comply with the welding quality required.

This visual inspection can also be complemented with Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) in order to be able to detect external and internal indications or discontinuities, which is generally done in percentage form or through random inspection. In these cases, only part of the welding is verified superficially and/or volumetrically and the method does not confirm the complete health of the weld seams that make up the welded structure, and therefore its final strength. However, manufacturers, customers and authorities need some assurance that the total length of the weld has properties and quality that exceed the minimum requirements specified, regulated or contractually required.

A very practical, intelligent and profitable way to solve this problem, or at least greatly improve it, is by implementing a Welding Quality Management System specifically designed for this process, which must contain requirements that guarantee compliance with the aforementioned aspects. Achieving this guarantee implies controlling the variables that influence the welding results, which is achieved by defining a set of systematic and planned actions “from and each one” of the following stages:

  1. Engineering (project that includes all quality requirements and includes the necessary documentation)
  2. Purchase and reception of base materials and consumables (involving the supporting documentation of these elements)
  3. Selection, purchase and use of welding equipment.
  4. Training and qualification of personnel (Welder, Inspection, Supervision and Engineering)
  5. Manufacturing and assembly
  6. Workshop and site inspection (before, during and after welding)
  7. Trials and tests.
  8. Final inspection and approval of the structure for use

It is important, therefore, not to neglect the possibility of demonstrating that there is a well-documented quality management system that is in proper working order, which naturally brings enormous benefits to the organization’s competitiveness, and if, in addition, the system is based on National or International Standards of recognized application and widely accepted by the industry, the competitive margin improves even more.

Finally, it is noteworthy that there is no single person responsible for achieving a quality welding, but from each of the mentioned stages there are actors of fundamental importance in the process, among which we can mention the Welding Engineer, Supervisor and Inspector who play a very important role in any successful program of control of welding. welding quality, although as we have already said many people participate in the creation of a quality welded product.

As a conclusion we can say that when treating the welding as a special process in the manufacture of a metal structure, quality must be intrinsically linked to the entire process of obtaining the product, and the manufacturer must ensure that they are carried out under controlled conditions, it is therefore recommended the use of a management system specially designed to ensure quality in welding processes used.

Ing. Aldo J. Senra / Ing. José G. Casas

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