Basis for Establishing a Standard Welding Procedure Specification (SWPS)
(Excerpt from AWS B2.1:2005, Annex I)
The American Welding Society, acting under ANSI rules for consensus standards, publishes AWS Standard Welding Procedure Specifications (SWPSs) which are initiated by the Welding Procedures Committee of the Welding Research Council (WRC). In initiating SWPSs for consideration as AWS standards, the WRC Committee is guided by the successful service experience in welded construction of the combination of base materials, welding process(es), and welding filler metals covered by the scope of each SWPS. An SWPS must meet the rules for qualification of AWS B2.1, Specification for Welding Procedure and Performance Qualification and be approved by the AWS Committee on Procedure and Performance Qualification. All SWPSs are supported by procedure qualification records which meet the rules of AWS B2.1 and which in addition are intended to meet the rules of the major codes which govern the intended applications such as AWS Structural Codes (D1.1, D1.2, D1.3, etc.), AWS Sheet Metal Welding Code (D9.1), and ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX.
The data to support a Standard Welding Procedure Specification are derived from Procedure Qualification Records (PQRs) generated by the Welding Procedures Committee of the WRC and PQRs received from industry and government agencies. For all committee generated PQRs, the welding, testing, and evaluation are performed under the direct supervision of the WRC Welding Procedures Committee.
To be referenced as a supporting document for an SWPS, a PQR received from an industry or government agency must be qualified and documented in accordance with one of the nationally recognized Codes or Specifications such as AWS D1.1 through AWS D1.6, AWS D15.1, AWS D14.1 through AWS D14.6, or ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX. The Welding Procedures Committee of the WRC reviews and validates these PQRs before entering the information contained on them into a data bank.
It is the policy of the AWS B2 Committee that the range of conditions and variables listed for an SWPS be more restrictive than permitted by application of the full range of conditions and variables allowed by the B2.1 document or by other American National Standards (such as AWS D1.1 through AWS D1.6 or ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section IX). The purpose of this policy is to restrict the WPS to a high probability of successful application by all users. In judging the extent of such restriction, the Committee is guided by the number and scope of the supporting PQRs, including the specific material, thickness and value for each welding variable used for the development of the PQR, and by known fabrication experience. The minimum number of supporting PQRs required by the Committee is two, but is usually in the range of two to fifty, the specific minimum number being a Committee decision for each WPS. It is the intent of the AWS B2 Committee to have SWPSs only for commonly welded materials and common manual and semiautomatic welding processes.