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- - By kingcohiba Date 07-19-2018 20:04
Hello everyone, I would like to get the opinion of some folks in this group if possible.

I'm a cwi and I work for a AWS ATF. We're currently in the process of making some changes and one thing that we are butting heads on is the issue of grinding on a certification test.

I realize things happen sometimes during a test, and that some grinding is in order occasionally. The gas runs out, some arc blow, whatever. But I am seeking your opinions on the cover pass of the weld.

It's my opinion (and that's all it can be because the folks at aws don't have the stones to answer this for me) that if you exceed the allowed groove weld reinforcement then you are done. But someone who is also working here says it's fine to grind down any areas that exceed the allowance on weld reinforcement. So if you have a cover pass that's 3/16" high, you can grind it down to the 1/8" max and still pass the test.

It's not addressed in d1. 1. It should be. And aws won't give you an answer on it. So what do you folks think? If I had someone do that on a weld test at the shop I used to work at they'd never get a phone call. I don't believe that people should be trained to believe that it's OK to take a welding test, and grind down what doesn't conform to the specs because that's what they'd do on the job.

Am I being too picky by wanting to see welds that aren't ground down on the cover pass?
Parent - By welderbrent (*****) Date 07-20-2018 02:20
Good Day Brian,

So, a couple of comments are in order:

First, this has been discussed previously and can probably be found on both this forum and the new AWS Welding Forum/Members Network.  Many good comments in those threads that it would be impossible to restate here.

Second, It is often noted that it is a Welding Test, NOT, a Grinding Test. 

Third, some codes, D1.5 do not permit use of anything except a slag hammer and wire brush for testing which would definitely rule out grinding.  As you state reference to D1.1 we will direct our comments mainly that direction.  You are correct, D1.1:2015 and previous do not state a condition either way. 

Why?  D1.1 places the responsibility for testing at the feet of the manufacturer/fabricator/erector.  It is their call how they want work performed and also the testing performed to see if employees can do the work they need.  So, it is not a code issue but a Contractor issue.

As their representative for testing in some cases, or, testing an individual because they just want to be 'Certified', it is your responsibility to meet each customer's need.  Ask questions, establish a procedure as to welding, cleaning, and finish work.  Make up a statement of work conditions and what will be allowed and what will not.  Lay everything out in writing so the welder knows what must be done and what will be allowed. 

AWS staff for the most part have no authority, ability, or access to information that would allow them to answer your questions.  Most of the time there are not people in the office who serve on the committees.  To actually answer your questions you must submit a Request for Official/Technical Interpretation.  The procedure is stated in the back of each code book in the Annexes. 

After posting this, I will review previous Interpretations and see if this has been dealt with but currently do not remember such a case. 

Hope this is of help for you.

He Is In Control, Have a Great Day,  Brent
Parent - By Lawrence (*****) Date 07-20-2018 12:14
Use of a grinder is allowable in a welder performance qualification test in accordance with AWS D1.1.

On a root, feathering a termination, on a tack, or on a cover pass.

If the D1 committee wanted grinders prohibited or limited you would see it in the text. (as it is in the Bridge Code)

You are not the first to ask this question... There is an official D1.1 interpretation on your question.  

With that out of the way...   The code requirements are a minimum;  meaning that users may set forth more stringent criteria for performance qualification so long as the minimum requirements are met.

As an ATF you should be providing detailed work instructions and welding procedures to the welders taking the test.  Those procedures should be discussed, vetted and agreed upon by your customers prior to contracting with them.

If your customer does not want grinders used during performance testing, they should make that known up front.  Then it is your job as the ATF test administrator to provide clear work instructions and examination criteria to the test taker prior to giving them the test assembly.

However if you exceed the code criteria in any way without making that fact clear, in writing, to your customers and to the welders taking the tests, that may open the door to problems, arguments and possibly litigation that basic process control at your ATF would eliminate.

The blunt reality in this case is that the ATF is unaware of the requirements and it's processes are out of control.   They welders are not so sloppy as the ATF is.

As an ATF it is important for you to keep in mind the scope of the users of AWS codes, especially D1.1.   It is enormous!!!!!   So many users in so many industries, some with the highest level of criteria needs and some very basic job shops and manufacturers. When I began to grasp this, it was a little more easy to understand why things like grinders and undercut are allowable on test assemblies.

Don't take this personally.... Your ATF organization bears the responsibility to provide you with guidance on how to administer and evaluate test assemblies.
Parent - - By jrw159 (*****) Date 07-20-2018 13:26
  As has been stated, D1.1 does not specifically prohibit grinding on the cover pass. Personally I believe it is a mistake for companies to allow t other than on start and stops and other issues like have been described ("gas runs out, some arc blow, whatever").

I have seen this have bad results for several companies in the past. The worst was at the last company I worked for. Their weld test guidelines stated in big, bold red letters "NO GRINDING ON COVER PASS, 1/8" MAX REINFORCEMENT". however other inspectors were allowing it. there were cover passes that had up to and sometimes over 1/4" reinforcement that were being ground down to 1/8'. I would not allow it per the company test guidelines. They then reworded it to allow grinding on the starts and stops. I told them this would not solve the issue I was witnessing.

Now comes the kicker and the comical part to this whole thing that was going on all at the same time.

The field welding foremen and super's were constantly complaining and wanting to know why the welders that they were sent could pass the weld test but could not perform out in the field!! :lol: Also there was a TPI that was rejecting welds left and right in the field and he had witnessed several of the weld tests on the people he was rejecting welds from. He told them the same thing. "Your test is yours, these welds are mine and the customers and will meet the code requirements and the specifications set out by the customer."

Well you have given them a test in perfect conditions on the easiest weld they will ever do here, with the easiest criteria. Then you do not hold them to that criteria and wonder why they can not perform under harder conditions.

Again, I have seen this at several different companies. If that is the way they have written their test guidelines then that is their problem as long as you have followed what they want done.

I personally think allowing the entire cover pass to be ground down to 1/8" it ignorant and any company that allows it deserves every bit of problems and headaches that result from it.

Parent - - By Steelslinger (**) Date 07-22-2018 00:20
When I test our welders on D1.1, I allow grinding of intermediate passes to address issues with the weld pass, but if they foul up cover passes, they have to grind them off and redo them. I would rather them be in the habit of grinding and fixing poorly ran passes in production than try to cover them up. In production you can't just throw the weldment away and start over.
Parent - By jrw159 (*****) Date 07-23-2018 12:30
I totally agree where intermediate passes are concerned.

Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 07-22-2018 12:22
I have administered a few tests as a test supervisor at ATF's. I have developed the written quality systems for a few current ATF's Being an ATF currently does not change any criteria for completing an actual weld under supplement G. Other supplements have specific requirements and augment the requirements of referenced codes.

The scope of supplement G is

"This Supplement to the AWS QC7-93, Standard for AWS Certified Welders, provides a welder certification method not specifically based on a code but which may be acceptable for various codes. The rules for performance qualification are as defined by the applicable specification referenced in the WPS or as defined by the employer in the WPS or accompanying documentation (acceptance criteria)."

Many codes could be used and you are referencing AWS D1.1.

So D1.1 is the issue and being an ATF currently has no bearing on the allowing of grinding or any acceptance criteria. That has been addressed numerous times. However, AWS QC7-93 also states the following.

"G5.2-3 If during qualification testing the Test Supervisor determines that the welder does not exhibit the skill required to perform the test satisfactorily, the test may be terminated."

A thing to consider whenever rejecting a test is what the welder has been told, what the code allows, what additional requirements you have agreed to. Should you reject one of my tests based upon excessive reinforcement and all other code requirements were met, I would take pictures, request a copy of the documentation, write a complaint to the facility representative or whoever is defined in you written quality system, and file a formal complaint with AWS.

What I do is this. I make sure the welders are aware that
1)  I have the right to stop the test
2) They have the right to file a complaint
3) Acceptance criteria is AWS D1.1
4) I want to see the root pass and final pass in the as-welded condition. Grinding may be performed after at the discretion of the welder.
5) If excess reinforcement is present on the final layer I will not reject it based upon that alone and they will be required to correct it after visual inspection.
6) I may observe them at any time during welding and may exercise my right to stop the test if it appears necessary.

On the side when I am the test supervisor and I choose to stop a test it will be heavily documented, photos taken, and the welder will almost ALWAYS know that there is a problem brewing before it becomes too late. 

It may be excessive grinding, inability to maintain a consistent bead or layer contour, discontinuities on fill passes, safety issue etc... But there will almost always be a warning or awareness of my concerns. Safety may be excluded from warnings.

There is some judgment that comes into play. If I suspect excessive grinding because of poor passes, then I observe the testing a bit closer.

I am also the technical manager for one ATF in a full-time capacity. In the cases where we test employees for a company, I make sure that they understand that only the applicable code criteria applies to the test unless they provide something else.

I have rejected tests of perfectly fine welders because they had to make more passes on the test than allowed by the company provided WPS because of the need for verbatim compliance with the WPS.

If the ability to make a sound weld is interpreted by the amount of reinforcement left before any grinding and that's the ONLY thing wrong with a persons test then some thinking is required.

As a company representative giving a test, I have the flexibility to test however I like for potential or currently employed welders. THAT IS NOT the same as testing people at an ATF.

The technical manager or facility representative at the facility should be consulted to make sure everyone is on the same page including the welder when it comes to acceptance criteria outside the code or documented requirements.

You ask "Am I being too picky by wanting to see welds that aren't ground down on the cover pass?" My answer is no based upon the question.

If you are rejecting welds that exhibit excessive reinforcement and restricting activities that are allowed by all documented requirements, then YES. You are binding something that exceeds the requirements of the code.

All of the above is my opinion and my experience is limited to only my experience so take that into consideration with any "internet opinions".

Gerald Austin
Greeneville TN
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 07-22-2018 17:50 Edited 07-23-2018 10:38
In AWS QC47, there is a restriction on grinding that completely prohibits power tools altogether except for tacks. So now the AWS QC47 committee is "smarter" than all of the codes that do NOT prohibit power tools. Hmmmmm, I wonder how they got so smart.

So when this specification comes into force, many things will change. When that will happen, nobody knows.

So then there will be two levels of AWS Certified Welders. There will be the Pre QC47-Grinding Allowed welders and the QC47 welders that could not grind.

It would be my preference to see a restriction placed on how soon someone can take the CWI exam after taking the "learn how to pass the test" courses offered by so many but that's an entirely different topic...but similar in "mentality".

Edited:Changed the word code to specification.
Parent - By Lawrence (*****) Date 07-23-2018 01:45
Thank you Gerald.

A response other than “feelings” and “what I do”

So many inspectors invent their own acceptance criteria.
Parent - - By kingcohiba Date 07-24-2018 01:03
Thanks for all of the great responses. I'm familiar with the code requirements, etc. Also familiar with most everything else (most, but I have some other things to look at now) you folks mentioned too.

My issue with this is that I'm trying to pound it into students heads that if they can only pass a visual examination by grinding their welds down to the correct height that nobody in the real world is going to take them seriously. I used to administer pre employment welding tests at a company I used to work for and we'd never allow something like that to happen and then turn around and hire a welder like that.

I want my students to be monitoring their tests throughout the entire test. And in my opinion, they should address the issue of excessive reinforcement prior to putting a pretty cover pass on their test. If they are about to put a cover pass on and they're nearly flush with the base metal, that's the time to grind a little, not after it's done.

That being said, I think that aws absolutely needs to address this. Who is sitting on this committee that hasn't thought "hey, maybe we shouldn't let people grind their cover pass off if they get in trouble on a test?" I firmly believe that aws leaves way too much open for interpretation in practically every piece of literature they publish. I've met far too many people who have piss poor judgment on welding matters but they carry credentials because they read a lot about welding and take a test and pass it.
Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 07-24-2018 02:18
If you cannot tell if a student has learned to weld because of removing reinforcement then there are issues.

If a cap is too high does that REALLY mean someone can't weld ?

I usually find the non welders waaaaaay before the cap stage.

Companies can add whatever they see fit to a test. That's one reason THEY should test any employees. Even if just visual. Some want someone else to do that work for em.

I think doin em 12 inches off the floor is a great way to show students or experienced welders a little challenge...or maybe make em mirror weld em all.

Welders have to test all the time. I think its somewhat crap that people.wanna go above and beyond many things when it means nothing. I can tell if a person is a decent welder way before the bends happen. But I just follow the code. 

An inspector or fitter or millwright can wprk 10 jobs a year and never take a test. Some welder has to show his skill to everyone wanting to flex their "quality muscle".

AWS has modifed the standard for AWS certified welders and its comical for me to read. Its gonna be special.
Parent - - By Lawrence (*****) Date 07-24-2018 10:12 Edited 07-24-2018 10:30
Grinding is not open to interpretation in AWS D1.1 performance qualification tests.  It's allowed.

AWS is not being unclear about anything.  You just don't like what they have said.   The Official interpretation, published over 30 years ago, is perfectly clear.

If you want to see a change in the D1 code, start attending D1 committee meetings.  You will find some folks who are in agreement with your opinion, and some that are not.

As mentioned before... USERS CAN EXCEED CODE STANDARDS for testing or for production criteria.

This thread is all about your opinion, and it's a good opinion when training students.  It's important for students to understand acceptance criteria.

People on the "committee" have thought about people grinding, 30 years ago.   Users are EMPOWERED to make performance qualification test instructions that benefit the production work they are doing.

Attached is a WPS I used when teaching at a tech college.   Problem solved and I didn't need to insult AWS or the volunteer committee members to do it.

Whether in training or production... It's simple enough to get a test written that gets you the welder performance you need.
Parent - - By kingcohiba Date 07-24-2018 18:06
Hi Lawrence, thanks for the reply.

You're correct on all of what you have said. And I'm familiar with using procedures to restrict certain things (like grinding on a cover pass, no roller pins in your hair during the test, etc.). I'm also quite aware that d1.1 allows grinding and some codes prohibit other things like power tools, etc.

You're also correct that this is all my opinion.

I guess there are details of why I made this post in the first place that I've left out. Such as, that I work for a testing facility that recently had a personnel change and that my hands have been tied for years regarding certain aspects of the testing rules. I know that testing facilities are able to make rules (house rules) that people must follow when testing. But because of the lack of rules like this, we've in my opinion not been able to produce the caliber welder we should be because people have been able to do things like grind their cover passes down, are allowed to slide on things (because they're a good guy, etc.). And I'm wanting to implement some minor changes, but because they brought in "Mr it's OK to grind whatever you want part 2", I'm going to have to fight for these changes (and will probably lose).

In regards to insulting aws and the committee members. Thank God for the AWS. I can't imagine how bad it would be without them honestly. We need them. We need the committee members too and I'm grateful for them. And I know that their job is vast and they're volunteers, and they do not get all the time they need on many things they do. But there needs to be some serious change to their qc7 and a procedure that aws testing facilities need to follow that address the whole testing process. Everything from grinding of scale, interpass temperature, tools allowed, when grinding is allowed, when it's not, to what extent, just all kinds of stuff. A universal procedure for an atf.

That's what I'm saying. It shouldn't be left up to whoever works there. And there's no denying that there are countless things that are left open to interpretation.
Parent - By Lawrence (*****) Date 07-24-2018 18:21
AWS committee work.

Jump in my friend.  The water’s fine :)
- - By 803056 (*****) Date 07-24-2018 14:21
If the welding standard is silent on the subject of interpass cleaning, it leaves it up to the employer to decide whether they want to permit grinding on a test coupon.

Some employers do not permit grinding other than to feather tack welds on open root pipe. Others will allow grinding of the root pass to clean up starts and stops, but not the intermediate or cover passes.

Since I am not certifying the welder and since I have little if any responsibility for production welding I feel it is appropriate for the employer to determine whether they want to hire welder/grinders or welders. If they are involved in fabrication where the welds are in the flat and horizontal positions there should be little need to spend time grinding every weld bead. On the other hand, a welder that will be welding open root pipe joints in position which are subject to radiography, it probably makes sense to permit some grinding when a weld bead doesn't have an acceptable profile. Who better to make that determination, to grind or not to grind, then the employer?

I sign the test report as the test witness. It is the employer that signs the paper certifying the welder has met the requirements of the code. It is the employer that has to accept responsibility for the welder’s work. It is the employer that provides the WPS stating whether the interpass cleaning is performed with hand tools or power tools. The WPS has to comply with the applicable welding standard. If the welding standard prohibits the use of power tools or changing bead profile on the test, I expect that to be addressed by the WPS followed by the welder.

As the inspector, it isn't my function to find loopholes in the code to the benefit of either the welder or the employer. The pros and cons of permitting grinding and the extent of grinding is discussed before the qualification test is scheduled. Can the welder take the test coupon down from the test position for interpass cleaning? Can the welder use a sledge hammer to round up the pipe before fitting? Are the pipe coupons counterbored to true up the ID? These conversations should take place and put to pen and paper before the welder is handed the coupons for the qualification test. The welder should be informed what will be permitted and what isn't permitted before the first arc is struck.

My opinion is the employer should consider whether the purpose of the test is to comply with the minimum requirements of the code to fill the open slots or is it to replicate the type of work that will be performed during production welding. In the long run, there is a happy medium. Being overly restrictive means a few potential welders will be washed out during testing. The flip side is loading the job with mediocre welders will slow production, increase cost, and will increase the need for repairs. Only the employer is in a position to determine the best course of action.

Having said all of that, does it make sense for a school to certify their students with no idea of who the student will work for or what type of welding the welder will be performing?

I am convinced the employer should qualify their welders. To that end I eliminated all my test booths and require the welder to be tested on-site with equipment, PPE, tools, coupons, and electrodes provided by the employer.

Just my opinion.

Parent - - By Lawrence (*****) Date 07-24-2018 18:25
Great post Al
Parent - By 803056 (*****) Date 07-24-2018 19:29
Thanks Lawrence.

Best regards - Al
Parent - By welderbrent (*****) Date 07-26-2018 19:03
So, I decided to wait until what appears the end of this as I was so intimidated by Gerald, Lawrence, John, and Al.  What great comments and methods of application all around.  I think I missed someone... was Adam in there too? 

Anyway, I agree here with all of them.  Lawrence's invitation for committee participation is especially notable.  Al's last post was very well expressed and applicable.  It is hard to even consider adding anything on my level as a small community rural welder and inspector to what these giants with larger backgrounds, educational teaching credentials, and vast personal educational accolades have already contributed.  Wait for it....

BUT,  (love that word)  when working in a small community like mine a couple of things become quickly obvious: 

1) I have not gone to the length of Al though I agree with him because of the variety expected of welders in this area.  I end up being asked to qualify welders before they even get a shot at employment so the employers don't have to waste time, money, overhead, etc to get someone qualified and have them bomb.  I may do both sets of tests, mine and theirs, but they don't even get the other chance if they can't clear mine. 

2) D1.1, just like the exams to get the CWI, covers such a broad portion of the structural industry.  It is used by many different types of structural work.  To narrow it down so that you have a cookie cutter one-size fits all code just won't work.  It has already gotten split to better accommodate some industries.  D14 and D1.5 are so related but are now stand alone, for the most part, codes. Employers doing exactly the same type of work may not have the same resources for equipment so procedures are different.  Thus, the welder qualification exam should be different to make sure the welder can do it their way.   

I noticed a comment about taking a test 12" off the floor.  That really is good in many ways.  Especially if most of the work the welder will be doing is in that position.  Why let them take the test in a comfortable chair with the piece at a comfortable arms distance to run a pretty bead when the work will never be positioned there? 

I know some welder tests and inspectors tests for NDT that are done in some of the most awkward positions.   Teachers said, they may have to work there, so, they will practice and test there. 

This is all up to the employer not AWS and some code committee that has no idea of your particular needs and requirements. 

Besides, can you imagine how expansive and voluminous D1.1 would be if it tried to cover every conceivable condition and application?  It would be worse than ASME or the City of LA codes. 

As a testing witness and test conductor I, and I know several of these other guys, have a set of instructions that are basic information on what and how things will be done.  It will vary but still be presented when doing a test for a particular company that wants something different implemented in their test. 

Just as the problems we now face because our government has been tasked through the years with being the final say so on every little jot and tiddle in our lives, AWS is finding itself more and more tasked with super detail defining of every aspect of all codes.  That was not the intent.  It can't and really shouldn't be done that way.  Personal accountability, responsibility, knowledge, and expertise all come into play and contribute to each situation with each one's unique set of essential variables.

Do you really want the code to specifically detail what kind, if any, band saw you will use and how to cut the coupons and/or components for the job?  The type and quality of grinders and cut off wheels, grinding discs, sanding discs, etc?  When you will use a torch vs air arc and/or plasma?  What if you can't afford all this equipment or would not have the kind of work to keep it busy enough to justify its' purchase? 

Have you done a test by torch cutting the coupon bevels and no grinding for prep?  I have.  I would prefer a grinder thanks.  Just like I recommend self study, online seminar, and face time seminar for those taking the CWI exam, I want to give myself every advantage for success.  BUT, not all Contractors can afford the newest latest greatest piece of every mentionable material prep equipment. 

We have to allow variables.  This is not a cookie cutter business nor world. 

Is there room for improvement?  YES!!  And we all know how to adjust when needed even though we some times dig in our heels because WE HATE CHANGE. 

You keep making suggestions.  Think outside the box.  Silence will not get us anywhere.  Disagreement is always welcome as it challenges us to make our case more distinctly and intelligently. 

He Is In Control, Have a Great Day,  Brent
Up Topic American Welding Society Services / AWS Learning & Education / Certification Test Question

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