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Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Another post about Welder Continuity & Qualifications
- - By SeeJeepGo (*) Date 02-15-2018 19:54
I've read a bunch of posts regarding welder continuity, welder log books, 6 month expiration of quals, etc etc.... I know the code is vague and non specific in many areas of this topic so id like some real world feedback. As a recently appointed CWI working at the same company i've been welding at for over 6 years I am now doing more paperwork than metalwork.
Here's the basics: Before me, and before the person that was before me, the company initiated a system to get welders qualified and have WPS' on file for the regular work they performed. All good but not closely maintained or updated because back then they prob didnt feel they needed to. Within the last few years they decided to improve the existing system to be more up to date and accurate with record keeping etc to comply with newer contacts and requests from certain clients. So now there's a better plan in place for new hires and procedures etc. Not every job requires code compliance, but they want to be ready for the ones that do.

Here is my question:  It's easy to start now with someone new, get them qualified and maintain it.... but what about the people who have been here for decades? I.E. I can look back and find a welder Qual for FCAW from 1999 and it's all good, EXCEPT there is no record or log or way to back up a continuation for that process with a paper trail. I know the code (d1.1) says that qual "remains in effect indefinitely unless the welder in not engaged in the given process for a period exceeding 6 months."  but without a log or record of that person using the FCAW process at least every 6 mo IS THE ORIGINAL QUALIFICATION STILL VALID?  I know some people say that continuous employment is also enough, but in this shop situation that person might not be using FCAW as regularly as say GMAW, etc so they could have easily gone 6 mo without it at some point. Is the only option to go and re test everyone that has already been certified but is now way expired because of lack of a paper trail?
Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 02-15-2018 20:20
As you pointed out, the code does not address how continuity is verified. There is no reference to a continuity log, time cards, etc. So, it is in your lap and it is up to you and your employer to make a decision as to how you are going to move forward.

As you mentioned, it is easier enough with new hires, they are tested, the results documented, and if you decide to use a formal continuity record, add them to the roster. It is a clean approach.

What to do with employees that have been arcing and sparking for the last century? My question is, what are you fabricating, what type of inspections records are available, and are you willing to put your name and reputation on the line attesting to the fact they have been welding and producing acceptable welds? A big question is, do you have their qualification records available?

There is nothing wrong with or questionable about instituting a new system. Rarely, if ever, is the new system going to correct the omissions, sins, or errors of the past. If you are satisfied the welders currently employed are producing acceptable work, then simply add them to the continuity roster and move forward. If there is a question of the welder's ability, requalify the welder and move forward. The sticky point is you must treat everyone fairly and without bias. One way do that is to have everyone requalify on a 3/8-inch plate. That "renews" the welder's qualifications to what they were originally qualified to do and you have a clean system that is above reproach.

Best regards - Al
Parent - - By SeeJeepGo (*) Date 02-16-2018 18:20
Thanks Al. I was thinking exactly that... to put a log system in action for everyone new and old and just start from 'today' and keep track. Most of what we fabricate is not structural and is not code regulated but we're trying to maintain everything as if it was so when those special customers and jobs show up we're already in a good spot to handle them. Regarding existing welder qual records, YES I have a binder than has old records from 20+ years or so with the qualification tests and results. My concern would be during a code compliant job, if a 3rd party inspector asked for so-and-so's qualification records and saw they were from years ago would they ask for some sort of log or papertrail to bring them to current date? And if that happens i guess i could then retest them to get them updated.
Parent - By jwright650 (*****) Date 02-16-2018 18:58
Several years ago, I worked for a small fabricator for 30 years and was their QC manager. I was sort of forced into the position when the guy who I was supposed to shadow for a while suddenly died and I ended up into his position to fill the void. Several jobs were awarded and I was sending out welding submittal packages with the WPSs and Welder's certs attached. Then I got a call regarding the 18 welders that the previous QC guy tested and certified while he and the 18 guys were with another company. I couldn't vouch for these guys while they were at the other fabricator and the only guy who could was now deceased. I spent an entire weekend witnessing, cutting, bending coupons. That was not a fun time, so I vowed to test everyone who came through the door and it didn't matter if they had a briefcase full of certifications. I maintained logs on everyone who welded in that shop for the entire time I was their QC manager.
Yup, you have the right idea....maintain those records and the continuity that goes with them. It saves a lot of heartburn later especially during audits.
Parent - By Joey (***) Date 02-19-2018 05:19
I think in your situation, the best approach is to get your HR to issue a testimonial, as proof the welder has been involved in some project / task using a particular welding process on this date to this date.

Continuity record can be useless without any supporting NDT reports like RT, UT that showed satisfactory results. Another issue is when you have a continuity record, but the NDT results stated were not related to the construction code your company is bidding.

Wait for the right time to retest those old welder when the testimonial produced is not acceptable to your customer.
- - By 803056 (*****) Date 02-20-2018 13:54 Edited 02-20-2018 20:25
Most codes do not specifically require a welder's log as evidence of continuity. Most simply state that it is the responsibility of the contractor to ensure the welders have not experienced laps of more than 6 months (or 90 days depending on the standard). Technically, if the contractor has a QA manual that states the contractor's QC department shall attest to the welder's continuity once every six months, that fulfills the requirement.

Per the code, there is no need for a "paper trail" that includes the job number, welding process, filler metal, NDE method, none of that is required by the codes. They simply say there can be no periods of time in excess of six months were the welder didn't use a particular welding process for which he is qualified. He or she could strike an arc and deposit no more than a tack weld and meet the code requirements.

That being said, if the contractor's QA manual describes something more elaborate, the QA manual's requirements become the standard that must be met. In short, lacking any requirements imposed by the QA manual or the project specification, no NDE is required, no WPS must be followed, no specific weld length or position necessary, nothing more than someone of authority's attestation that the welder has been welding is sufficient to meet the code requirement for continuity.

What the inspector would like to see holds little sway since it is the Engineer that has the final say in the matter. Unless the project specification specifically specifies what documentation is required to verify welder continuity, there is little to be said. The Owner cannot unilaterialy impose additional requirements once the contract is signed.

Best regards - Al

Parent - By SeeJeepGo (*) Date 02-23-2018 17:18
Thank you Al. Sometimes super simple is too difficult for us detail oriented people to grasp. :-) I went and checked our QA/QC binder and did not find anything related to the 6 month time period. All it says regarding this subject is welders are qualified by testing to the appropriate AWS code procedures, those tests are monitored and results inspected by one of our in house CWI's and that those qualified welders are assigned by the shop foreman to the jobs per task requirements. Also a line about inspection duties include the final confirmation of welder qualification before fabrication begins. Fairly straight forward.

Anyway, looks like for now I'm on the the right path; improving the current standard using some sort of log for anything current and new and if I have to deal with someone who falls into the pre log era we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

thanks for the input
- - By SeeJeepGo (*) Date 03-01-2018 14:47
Heres a related 'what if' scenario.... Say a welder is qualified for a given process through normal Part C performance testing and all's good. then they stop using that process for 9 months. their qual lapses. A new job comes along for that process but it requires a new WPS (maybe a different joint config or thickness not previously covered, etc). Because according to D1.1 4.15.3 a welder can be qualified through WPS qualification a) CAN that welder (currently w expired qual) be used to perform that WPS test?  and b) if yes, when it passes in conformance w 4.9 does that count as reinstatement for their previous qual ranges or just the range for whatever they did the WPS test to?
Parent - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-01-2018 14:52

Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Another post about Welder Continuity & Qualifications

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