I HAVE A QUESTION ON WELD FACE APPEARANCE,UNIFORMITY,ETC. I WORK FOR THE US NAVY CIVIL SERVICE QA AT INGALLS SHIP YARD. OUR PEOPLE SUP SHIP AND THE CONTACTOR ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE SMOOTHNESS,CONTOUR OF A FINAL WELD.WHAT ABOUT YOU FOLKS OUT THERE WHO WORK AT POWER PLANTS,PIPE LINES, OR OTHER PLACES.DO YOU HOLD CONTRACTORS TO TIGHT STDS. ON WELD FACE APPEARANCE,CONTOUR,ETC.?NOW I KNOW I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TOLD THAT A WELD MAY LOOK ROUGH BUT HAS GOOD STENGTH AND CONVERSELY A GOOD LOOKING WELD COULD SHEAR OFF AT THE TOE ENDS.WHAT IS GENERAL CONSENSUS OF OPINION OUT THERE? DON KUMPUNEN US NAVY QA AT INGALLS SHIPYARD
Right, a rough looking weld can be a metallurgically sound one and a nice looking one can be as full of pores as a Swiss cheese.
Now, this doesn't apply to welds on the US Navy ships. The US Navy is the most powerful, respecful, pretigious navy humanity has ever seen and the welds on its ships MUST BE PERFECT, not only from a metallurgical point of view but also from their appearance.
Suppose a US aircraft carrier or frigate drops anchor at Rio de Janeiro port and the US Ambassador in Brazil decides to open it to public visitation to impress the Brazilians on how powerful the USA are.
Thousands of people would climb the gangplank to see the monster, as has happened in other similar occasions. Bad looking welds would leave an unfavourable impression, especially on those who have seen sometime a good looking one. They'd say:"Look at those horrible welds. Isn't the US Navy capable of making better ones?"
Brazilian warships can display ugly welds, for Brazil is a third world, underdeveloped country. US warship can not.
Ahhh, Don, being the most powerful country in the world raises a lot of obbligations .............
Giovanni S. Crisi
Sao Paulo - Brazil
Regarding appearance, I like to see uniform, smooth welds in our shop. I say like to because not all welds are that way. I don't reject a "rough" looking weld if it meets code quality criteria but I do mention it to the welder and his/her foreman so they can work on making them better.
My reasoning is that the customer and QA inspectors like to see smooth welds because they can quickly evaluate quality that way and I don't have to work so hard proving they meet code. The production superintendent agrees with me on this, but the focus is to improve the welder's skills without beating on him for work that is really OK (call it "tweaking").
As QC in a structural steel fab shop, I have to be concerned with my company's profit, as well as making sure the welds are per the specs. As long as the code criteria IS met, I do have to consider what the weld is doing, where it is, and who will see it. There have been cases where we have won a contract based on the quality of past performance when we were not the lowest bidder. And on some jobs, the owner had a different opinion of an "architectural finish" and wanted better than what we provided even though the welds met specs (that's why aspirin and Rolaids were invented).
So, we've found it's better to give a little better than what was expected if it can be done with a reasonable effort. Of course we don't "polish" coffer dam steel or other items intended for rough use, but we still want our welds to look better and perform better than our competitors' welds.
I know what CHG is talking about, a nice looking weld doesn't draw as much attention to itself as does a rough one. An Inspector on the job glancing over the job will probably spend more time Inspecting and trying to prove the serviceability of a rough weld, rather than a nicely ran weld. Nothing structuraly wrong with either, but the rough one will get more attention.
Obviously the first obligation of the fabricator is to meet code and specification requirements. It is the customer's obligation to specify additional requirements if the code requirements are not adequate. In your case, do the welds meet code and customer specifications? If so, I am certain that you can get better looking welds, as long as you are prepared to pay for them.
While it is possible that a good looking weld can perform poorly, and a poor looking weld can be sound, it is much more probable that a good looking weld is a sound weld and visa-versa. (At least, in the case of steel this would hold.) At the end of the day, a rough weld, especially if it has severe under-cut, will not deliver the same service under impact loading or fatigue conditions. As ships have a tendancy to be exposed to low temperatures, rough seas and impact loadings (with explosions being very possible!) I believe that a weld with a good profile will deliver a substantially better service when you really need it.
Hope this helps
As a welder, an owner, a CWI and a CWE, I would like to give my personal opinion on this one, although I probably shouldn't. I abhor a "rough" or "ugly" weld. I cannot articulate my feelings on this in any better way than what Nieke has stated. If a weld looks "rough", it probably will have something wrong with it that will not allow it to meet the specifications / criteria. Any "rough" looking welds should be inspected with the utmost scrutiny, any welder who consistantly makes "rough" welds should be busted out. Any welder in my employ who cannot make good, aesthetically appealing welds that meet the specified criteria will not work for me very long. Sorry guys, they not only have to be good, they have to look the part. I'll jump down off of my soap box now.
If I may use the soap box for a minute,
As a welder and ex CWI, and current inspector for an agency that serves various parts of industry, I have to disgree with "rough".
My experience, which I feel is pretty good, has allowed me to learn many things. However I am not confident in second guessing engineers and the many dollars that are spent on code comittee meetings based on my own opinion of what is good.
Most codes are pretty clear on what is acceptable and what is not. Anything that is in addition to the codes, should be specified in project specifications. THis could be in the form of requested workmanship samples, refined acceptance criteria, etc.
"Rough" welds that have been corrrected to meet some criteria that is not explicitly called out for are paid for by someone and are a waste. I agree that there are places for workmanship and pride however workmaanship and pride can be shown by meeting the SPECIFICATIONS in the mose efficient manner. I have watched people spend 20 minutes cleaning the toes of their 6" carbon steel pipe weld with their new file(cause the old one didn't make straight enough lines/undercut) while I put the root in my second, ground it and stared filling.
I learned what codes required, what made welds fail, how project specifications are tied to a project etc. Because I got tired of poorly trained inspectors going overboard on what is acceptable and what is not. Many times I heard the "This is a minimum requirement" statement. I then mentioned the "Waste Fraud and Abuse Policy". In my opinion what that really said is "I'm not familar enough with the requirements too know if this is acceptable or not" OR "I'm the inspector and even though I don't have the manual dexterity to do what you do, you have to do what I say".
As an inspector of any kind, you should not have the authority to pass judgment. I think you should inspect what is there, compare it to the required specifications, and report your findings.
If a welder cannot make welds that meet the acceptance criteria and said welder was explained what the acceptance criteria is. Then there is a valid reason to "bust them out". However if the acceptance criteria specificed is met, who are we to decide whether they are worthy of a job because the ripples werent evenly spaced, or the cap wasn't the same widthe all the way around, or maybe t hey only had 1/32" reinforcement on the to and 1/8" on the bottom.
What if inspectors when showing up to a new job were required to know the all of the essential variables for qualification of welders and procedures for ASME Sec IX and be able to prepare the paperwork correctly the first time. In my opinion they should be able to do that, however there is no code that requires an inspector to have that knowledge, and I would be wrong in requiring that.
Sometimes people add their own acceptance criteria to things for no reason other than to "puff themselves up"and absolutely no value is added to the product. I think we should use caution in acceptance/rejection of attiubutes that are not clearly defined.
I have seen welds that looked like they were made by orbital welders on Schedule 10 stainless cut apart with a portaband only to reveal lack of fusion around the enntire circumference. These welds were made by a well respected pipe shop that had supplied many spools to this paper mill in Northwest Alabama.
Would that have been reason to have all 1000s + welds UT'd RT'd rewelded to make them better? They had met the original inspection criteria.
I think engineers and owners of companies should decide what is "good" and convey that to the inspectors when questions arise regarding what is cceptable and what is not. It's not for the inspector to judge unless he/she has been authorized to do so.
This reflects my opinion on the issue and is based on MY experience and may not reflect the opinions of the sponsors of this forum, my employer, or the grand poobah of welding inspection.
Have a nice day all and if you reached this final statement, thanks for reading all the gibberish I wrote.