Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Do you give the Welder "test taking tips"? -or- Do you shut up and let the Welder pass or fail on their own?

So, a company is paying you to help them comply with AWS/D1.1 You've written the WPS's and now it's time to qualify the Welders. Do you give the Welder "test taking tips"? -or- Do you shut up and let the Welder pass or fail on their own? -and- Once they fail, do you give the Welder test taking tips before the re-test?

Keep in mind the premise... a 3rd party inspector helping a company that requested it, comply with AWS-D1.1

Often, in fact usually, when I'm in this situation, it's a small company looking to bid on a job that is requiring them to do something they've never had to do before; show proof of compliance to the structural welding code. These companies are too small to have a Welding Engineer on staff and wouldn't have a Certified Inspector. Generally, what I find, they have a Welder they've hired, or has been working for them for some time. His/Her qualification documents (if any) are from a previous employer. The company is counting on their Welder to know all that is needed to know about welding the product.

I'll also find that the company needing to comply with AWS-D1.1 doesn't own a copy of the code (or the copy they have is 2-3 revisions old).  So now they've called me to see if I can help them out. I'll typically tour the shop, view the product, watch how the sausage is made... then I'll come up with a list of recommendations;

• These are the codes you need to comply with (typically D1.1 and D1.3, but often others as well).
• These are the Pre-Qualified WPS's needed.
• These are the Qualified WPS's needed.
• These are the Welder Qualifications required.

Total cost can easily fall around $3k-$10k, so we break it into small chunks. 1st the Pre-Qualified WPS's, then some Welder Quals... and that brings us back to my original question, "Do you give the Welder test taking tips?"

I'm going to provide the Welders a detailed WPS. I'll provide detailed test instructions. I'll let them know the acceptance criteria (visually acceptable root pass, cover reinforcement/crown not greater than 1/8"...). I'll answer every question they'll ask. Beyond that, I have to leave them on their own. Under this scenario I have to know / they have to know, "Do the skills and techniques that they have/use today get them the required result?" Most of the time, they do not. Failing the Welder Qualification test shows the Welder and the company that the process they currently have in place doesn't work. Something needs to change.

Had I offered helpful tips on the initial Welder Qualification, and the test fail, the only response would be, "The Inspector told me to ____ and that's why I failed." On the retest I will always ask, "Can I give you some tips?", but never on their initial test.

In a School or Training situation, that is a different scenario, but this isn't training. This is determining if the process you currently have in place yields the result you need and if not, what needs to change.

Thanks for reading and following.
PWC

4 comments:

Adam Knoblauch said...

As the shop QC, I will go over the WPS, the test requirements and what we as a company are looking for. Past that, they are on their own for the first test. If that fails, and depending on why it failed, I will go over some of the issues I see (causes of, etc). At that point, it gives a good glimpse of whether they can adjust themselves to pass. If not, now training aspect kicks in.

Being a TPI, depends on the agreement and what was specified in the contract as to the nature of my duties. In your scenario, I would work similar to the QC position, as I would be contracted by the company to bring them into compliance, which could include training of welding staff.

If I am there on behalf of the project's owner/end user (and not the fabricator/manufacturer), I would not offer any advice/training. I would go over the project specs, wps's and test requirements, then conduct the test(s). If they failed, I'd tell them why/how it failed only.

Really, it comes down to "What is your responsibility as the Inspector?" and "Who's paying the bill and for what?".

Chris G said...

I also am an inhouse inspector (aws cwi) and also on the floor fabricating and welding w the crew. When someone is preparing to test I will help them get set up to practice and tell them whatever they need to aid them. I also give them a copy of our test procedure guidelines (explains what's required, who does what and when etc) as well as the wps and a printed excerpt from code w the acceptance criteria. But once practice is over its 100% test mode. And I warn them in advance. If they fail I suggest more practice before a retest if they need it. But if not then immediate retest. If they still fail the of course additiona education and training is req before more testing on a future date.

Mike Paine said...

If you are uncertified you will pretty much never make enough money to retire early, if you have alot of rare certifications such as ones for rare alloys and exotic metals/ high pressure welds you can get a 6 figure job.

metal fabrication and welding

Dash Inspectorate said...

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