Best Practices for Industrial Welding
June 8, 2017
Welding is a core part of the industrial fabrication process with the quality and integrity of the finished product directly linked to the quality of the welding itself. This makes it extremely important for welders best practices to be followed to ensure top quality output. Let’s take a look at some key best practices for industrial welding.
Understanding the Objective
For best results it is crucial for welders and craftsmen to fully understand the objectives of the project. This means being clear on all customer specifications and resolving any sources of uncertainty before welding begins. Welders must always be welding with clear goals and expectations in mind.
Connected to understanding the objectives and specifications of the project is understanding and preparing for any challenges. For example the project may call for welding in an unusual position or in a challenging environment. Likewise, the job may require an extra level of speed if the project is on a tight timeline, or it may require an exceptionally high level of precision and rigorous testing. Understanding the unique challenges of the project is crucial for successfully overcoming them.
Selecting Welding Process and Materials
Different welding processes are better suited for use on different materials or in different circumstances. For example SMAW or stick welding is ideal for portability and well suited to a variety of metals and alloys, but it cannot be automated and may spatter, requiring extra cleanup. Meanwhile, GTAW or TIG welding is a high precision welding process that doesn't create any spatter, but it requires a high degree of operator skill to perform and has a relatively high cost compared to many other welding processes. Other welding processes come with their own particular pros and cons, thus a crucial best welding process is selecting the correct welding process for the job.
Ensuring Welder Expertise
As briefly touched on above, different welding processes call for different levels of welder expertise. Likewise, welding in different positions or on different materials also requires different levels of expertise, and fundamentally it is crucial that the welder performing the job be experienced in the particular circumstances of the project. Ensuring the expertise of the welder is a key best welding practice.
Gathering Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, are OSHA requirements covered in section 1910.252(b)(3) and 1910.132 and are thus legal requirements for operating a safe jobsite. PPE refers to a range of protective equipment including Welding helmets, safety glasses and goggles, welding gloves and skin protection gear, noise protection devices like earplugs and ear coverings to sparks from burning welders' ears, respiratory protection and ventilation equipment and an array of other equipment that may be necessary for the particular job. Gathering the correct personal protective equipment, ensuring that it is in good working order, and that it fits the welder is a crucial best practice.
Controlling the Welding Environment
While it won’t always be possible to control every aspect of the welding environment, especially for field welding, it is important for welders to control the factors that they can. Workspaces should be kept free of fire hazards, equipment should be properly grounded, clutter and debris should be removed promptly, and co-workers should be made aware of the work the welder is doing, both for their own protection and for that of the welder. Controlling the welding environment as much as possible will also yield better welding results.
Completing the Job
Once the job is complete or has reached a stopping point, it is important for the welder to take certain steps before leaving. Welding equipment must be turned off and properly secured, basically cleanup should be performed on the area, especially if failure to do so poses and safety hazards, and the finished product should be carefully tested and inspected to ensure that it meets quality standards.
STI Group takes welding best practices very seriously and is careful to maintain the highest quality and safety levels at all times. STI Group maintains a weld reject ratio of less than 1% and provides dependable pipe fabrication and other industrial fabrication services. Our fabrication facilities hold ASME “U” and “S” stamps, NBIC “R” stamp, and our welders are NCCER certified.