Successful metal fabrication pieces depend on a quality weld. Each individual weld plays a key role in ensuring the structural integrity and longevity of the custom metal fabrication. Insufficient welding quality control may compromise the entire project. Welding mistakes can lead to costly results– even the tiniest of holes can welcome rust to poorly fused welds that will later create breaks. Not meeting the OSHA guidelines for your industry can result in product failure and these kinds of errors can sometimes be disastrous. Properly trained and certified welders combined with an effective quality control program can help avoid delays and mishaps for your custom project. The following are 5 questions to ask your custom metal fabricator to ensure your welding is of the utmost importance…

#1: Do you have documented proof that ensures all of your welders are properly certified?

As part of a documented quality control program, a quality custom metal fabricator will be able to verify the qualifications and certifications for each of their welders.

Their team of welders should be qualified to do the following:

  • Weld structural steel as described in the American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1– carbon steel exceeding ⅛’ gauge
  • Abide by the Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS) which align with ASME Section 9
  • Meet or exceed AWS D1.6 standards– stainless steel exceeding 1/16” gauge
  • Follow closely all industry specific welding regulations including the stringent standards set forth by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB)
  • Weld carbon steel tanks that adhere to the API-650 standard

#2: How were your welders qualified?

A custom metal fabricator will be able to provide a Welder Qualification Record that confirms each welder on the team was tested in accordance to existing welding codes including:

  • American & Canadian Welding Society Codes – most current edition
  • AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Codes for Steel
  • API Standards & Codes
  • 8.1.2 AISC Standards & Codes
  • *.1.3 CSA Standard W47.1

#3: Is there a quality assurance manager overseeing your welder’s performance?

One thing renowned fabricators have in common is that they employ a quality assurance manager that oversees the performance of each welder and tacker. Twice a year, the quality assurance manager should update the specific qualifications of each tacker and welder, as well as document their work histories as designated in applicable industry standards and codes.

In addition, fit-ups must be inspected as required in the applicable fabrication drawings. The quality assurance manager must photograph and document all welds and assembly details and send the custom metal fabrication documents off for final approval prior to shipping the piece.

#4: Does your system allow for identifying and numbering Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS)?

The quality assurance manager should have an established system used for identifying and numbering Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS). Their system should be able to record all necessary welding information, including material type, plate dimensions, as well as welder and operator identifications. Every essential variable of the Welding Procedure Specifications must be evaluated. This includes consumables, preheat, interpass temperature, amps or volts used during the preparations, and travel speed. The quality assurance manager will need to make updates to the WPS as necessary and actively communicate with every welder in the shop regarding updates and next steps.

#5: Are safe welding practices a part of their quality control program?

Creating a safe work environment for their employees is something every reputable metal fabricator strives to do. Having a team of healthy welders who are less likely to make welding errors that result in defects or malfunctions is a critical part of earning that reputation.

At Palmer Tool Company, we employ only those safe welders who are certified as part of our quality control program. Our program meets the requirements as set forth by current welding standards per ASTM, AWS, and CWB specifications and abides by industry-specific standards in all of our custom metal fabrication projects. We offer documentation for each fabricated piece to our clients, these documents include the quality control inspection paperwork for welding certification as well as detailed photographs. Our quality assurance manager and quality control inspectors go above and beyond to ensure that every metal fabrication meets the safety and quality standard.

Contact us (731-584-4681) to start a no-obligation discussion about your project.

About Palmer Tool

Palmer Tool completes critical jobs on-time and on-budget. Since 1966, Palmer has taken on jobs that other shops and contractors either didn’t want, or just couldn’t do. We can fabricate parts in our shops, visit you at your plant, or meet you at on-location (ie. logging, mining, construction, etc.). From the toughest repairs to the most complex new assembly, we’ve seen and done it all. Over the past 50+ years, Palmer has maintained our reputation as a trusted expert welder and fabricator of non-ferrous alloys in demanding applications (high pressure + high temperature chemical plants). Our hard-facing applications, and robust designs, have successfully extended the service life of countless industrial “extreme service” components, saving our clients’ money! Palmer Tool and Contractors provide on-call emergency services 24/7, because we understand that in manufacturing “the clock never stops.”