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Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Starting a welder testing facility
- - By kwhitman90 Date 03-13-2018 23:54
I am fairly new to CWI related work, but I want to start a welder testing facility or business in my area. Any information, contacts or links I could get would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Parent - - By jwright650 (*****) Date 03-14-2018 11:14, it's been a few years since I was up there in that neck of the woods. Welcome to the forum.
AWS has an accredited welder testing program, might could check with them about what it would take to get a testing facility started and running. I know they will have lots of hoops to jump through though if you want to be affiliated with them. Check with some of the local colleges that run welding programs, you might be able to help them get students certified. As far as AWS D1.1 is concerned, it's up to the employer to certify their welding employees, so they really don't need anyone outside if they have any sort of QC program in place. Good luck.
Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-14-2018 12:10
I don't know of any code that requires the use of an ATF other than a couple of DOT and I believe the City of New York. You as an individual cannot be an ATF because the program requires multiple levels of personnel to manage the operation. Plus, as the individual administering the qualification test, you are not permitted to "teach" the welder before the test or coach the welder during the test.

In every code it is the employer's responsibility to ensure the welders are appropriately qualified. The employer then cosigns the test report certifying it is true and accurate. Some codes, ASME for instance, requires the employer to supervise the test.

If you are "new" to CWI work and responsibilities, you might consider working with a good lab to see how to "do it." There are several pitfalls and the legal ramifications can be daunting if you screw it up.

Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-17-2018 01:28
As QC4 is written now and from what my brain understands, there is no requirement for the Technical Manager, Facility Rep, Test Supervisor, or Quality Manager to be a separate person. It also doesn't require anyone to be an employee other than the technical manager. So an individual could perform all of the functions as needed and for the sake of keeping things a little less "fox in the henhouse", use an outside source as the quality manager.

I'm not sure all "labs" do a much better job from a few that I have seen. So working with one should be accompanied with caution.
They have absolutely no "requirement" for a documented system for what they do from material control, to verification of identity.

I'm not saying some labs don't do a good job. Some go overboard rejecting welders that make welds that meet the written requirements. Others have not a clue about filling out a welder performance qualification test record. And some do fine.

I'm currently working on a training session for "Welder Qualification Testing" to help some "Certified" individuals become more knowledgeable about the process. Hoping to do classroom training in one session followed by actual testing.

I think a few D14 codes refer to the AWS Certified Welder Program but none require it as you indicated.

I can't think of any pitfalls or ramifications that exist that are any way different than what we would come across inspecting. In both cases we "certify" that something met the requirements of a written specification. I never sign for "Manufacturer or Contractor" unless I am their representative. I will create a form that certifies I observed all testing, performed inspections, and all code requirements for performance testing were observed. But the ole "Manufacturer or Contractor" line doesn't get my name.

Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-17-2018 04:42
You need to underline the word "now". Changes are about to come your way in short order.

Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-17-2018 10:10 Edited 03-17-2018 10:28
I'm not so sure about that "short order". :)  I guess in comparison t0 a document approved in 89, its a good description for one dated 2016 but yet to be released. I bought one online but it has now been removed.

In the new standard, the requirement for anyone to be a full time employee or have ANY experience is now removed. The exception for the test supervisor having the currently non-existent "endorsement" is understood but that person may be a contractor or employee.

So a one person "organization" could do it all as I see it. That may or may not have been the intent. The requirements for assuring personnel have suitable "education, training, technical knowledge and experience" is a BIG loophole since nothing defines any of the requirements. (Except for the "qualifier). I thought about asking for an interpretation but have yet to decide if that's worth the potential damage to my perception of how things should work.

With some organizations, the current experience requirement of 5 years and full time employee for the technical manager is a problem.  That problem will go away now and anyone can be considered qualified under the ever accurate perception of "management". 
"Ooooooh look, Bobby the student has completed our 2 year degree program and passes and AWS certified Welder Test, lets hire him so he can be our long term employee and we can fine tune him into the ways of academia and also be over our ATF."

It is going to be interesting as it is a considerable change in requirements. Having recently joined a committee and as an observing applicant, I can say that I have a better understanding of some of the things I see. ;)
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-17-2018 11:18
Have you tested welders before? For a company or otherwise? That may help me better answer your questions. What is your experience related to the topic? If you have no experience in the matter, I suggest working with someone who does. The CWI credential does not reflect an aptitude or ability for anything. In many cases, its just a certification that one passed a test on a given day.
I passed HS English and have even been using the language my entire life, however, I have no knowledge of diagramming a sentence and wouldn't know a dangling modifier if I ran into it. Though I use the language and am around it, I am by no means qualified to "inspect" others use of the language and tell them if it "complies".

There are a couple of concepts you can consider.

1) A facility fully equipped and available for an organization to perform large-scale testing.
You could charge "rental" for the space and equipment, and then have add-ons for arranging/performing inspection and testing of completed welds.
This will take a considerable amount of equipment investment.

2) A facility that charges "by the test".
With this option, your initial investment for equipment can be low. Understanding that most decent employers perform their own testing is worth considering. If you build a good relationship with them as an organization that can test people in a manner that meets their requirements, where codes allow, you could perform the testing for them.

Do not think "Build it and they will come!!!!"

I have helped a couple of AWS ATF's get started but not all function well due to the fact that they are schools and other than "free money" from grants, they are limited in resources as far as people who have experience in industry testing welders. Many instructors are "single industry" experienced and may not have ever looked at a code.

Realize this, business and industry will often indicate they would "like" some type of service or resource in the region. This "LIKE" does NOT mean they will use it or support it.

If you are going to test individuals or even people for a company (not advised unless they have a WPS but just my opinion), you will need WPS's. Sure D1.1 and a few other codes allow for "prequalified" WPS's. But other codes do not. So knowing the "need" in the region can help you prepare for what code books you want to buy.

I have been working on a website for gathering and sharing knowledge related to the subject but have yet to get anything complete. I am intending to move forward a little quicker on the subject. The site is and there is a registration form at . I only have a few pcs of content related to setting up a test facility but your welcome to look around.
Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-17-2018 12:59
The document you should be looking for, and it isn't yet released to my knowledge, is QC-47. It combines QC-4 and QC-7. I looked at the AWS bookstore and didn't see it listed. I assume it hasn't been released yet.

Due to my wife's illness I haven't been able to attend the committee meetings, so I've lost touch with it's progress moving through the committee.

Best regards - Al
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-17-2018 13:03
I have QC47. Purchased it at IHS. It was pulled.

I attended my 1st online committee meeting this past week. I was hoping to go to Miami soon but don't think its in the bank account at home or my employer. May have to withdraw.

Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-17-2018 18:02
That's interesting. It was "pulled".

I sat on that committee, disagreed with some of the provisions, but haven't attended any meetings during my wife's long illness. My negative votes didn't get very far. I wonder what happened that it was pulled from distribution. I can't attend the next meeting because I have a prior commitment, so I will not be able to make an inquiry as to why it was pulled.

Best regards - Al
Parent - - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-17-2018 18:38
I think it was accidentally released. I happened to be searching for it regularly and it showed up at IHS.
Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 03-17-2018 22:20
It was good talking to you this afternoon Gerald.

I'm getting ready to head out to Sacramento for the week. Bunch of last minute things to take care of before I go. Always happens, no matter what I do in the way of preparations, there's a 101 things to take care before I head out the door.

Best regards - Al
Parent - By pipewelder_1999 (****) Date 03-18-2018 10:37
I enjoyed it too. Hope you have a safe trip.

Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / Starting a welder testing facility

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