Development of a WPS / Qualification Test Records for D17.1



Hello All,

I had a question about WPS and Qualification test records, etc. for the AWS Standard D17.1

How do we go about establishing a WPS, and when the company welders perform test weldments at various thicknesses of each alloy group, do we fill out the Qualification Test Record form for them and send this to an NDT facility with CWI's for Visual / NDT Testing? What specific tests are they required to perform, and are they supposed to sign the "Qualifier" portion of the form?

I just started work on quality engineering for an FAA Repair Station, and it is approaching the time for the welder recertification and such. Any light on the situation would help me establish and formalize the welding setup we have at our facility. Thanks in advance. :thanx:



Involved In Discussions
Before proceeding, I would suggest getting a copy of AWS D17.1 (latest edition) if you haven't already and also AWS B2.1.

When creating a Welding procedure specification (WPS), it's crucial that you capture all the essential variables related to the welding process plus whatever additional requirements (if any) the customer may require, or if there is any preheating, or post welding heat treating involved. AWS D17.1 doesn't provide much in regard to these essential variables, but rather references AWS B2.1 Standard for welding procedure and performance qualification. This standard will provide more in depth information regarding the requirements for procedure qualification.

Some things to consider when creating a WPS are;

-Welding Process (GTAW,GMAW, etc)
-Manual, Auto etc.
-Backing (if used)
-Material type and specification
-Material thickness
-Filler metal type and classification
-Filler metal size
-Welding position
-Joint detail (groove, fillet, etc)
-Shielding gas(s)
-Preheat info (if applicable)
-Post weld heat treat (if applicable)
-Tungstes size/type (GMAW)
-Mode of metal transfer (GMAW)
-Travel speed
-Electrical current (AC or DC)

This is an abbreviated list, but considering the amount of variables involved, it's important that everything is captured. Remember, the WPS is basically a "recipe" for the welder to follow which allows them to produce an acceptable weld with a given process and base metal. The more information available, the better the chances of success.
If you?re not sure, you can always call the testing facility you plan on using, and they may provide you with some useful information.

Hope this helps.


Involved In Discussions
First thing you'll need to know is what code you will be working with?

In the code you will find all the essential variable information needed on the WPS. But before you get too far ahead of yourself, some basic things that will need to be determined ahead of time are, material type, thickness, process, position, joint configuration, shielding gas (if applicable), filler metal type and size. Knowing this will help you find the requirements within the code. Remember the WPS is a recipe for the welder to follow to be successful, so any welder should be able to read and understand the information that is on the WPS, so you'll want to make sure it's clear and easy to understand.
The code books have recommended forms you can use for your WPS/PQR, however keep in mind these are minimum requirements, and may not fully capture all the information for your particular situation. You can add more requirements than what is shown on the form, if your situation requires it, however if there is no need for additional requirements, I would keep it as simple as possible.
Writing a WPS can be a little time consuming, however if you do a little homework ahead of time, things should fall into place. Also, AWS B5.1 does requires that a CWI be able to interpret and understand a WPS, however it is not a requirement that a CWI know how to create a WPS. That would fall under the responsibility of a SCWI or the employer.
Once you have put together a preliminary WPS, discuss it with your employer or welders and make necessary changes. When everyone is in agreement, it's time to move on the the PQR where you will witness the welding and the variables.
Before the welder strikes an arc, it is very important that they understand what YOU expect from them during the test so there aren't any surprises.
If doing a multi pass weld, the welder needs to know that EVERY welding pass needs to pass a visual welding inspection to the code requirements. If one pass does not meet the requirements, it should be decided before the test begins if grinding or any type of rework is allowed. AWS D1.5 is the only code I know of that does not allow the use of any power tools during the test. If you feel the work being performed in your shop should or shouldn't allow for the use of power tools during welding, be sure everyone is in full agreement before starting the test.
When I administer a welding test, I don't allow for any leniency. Typically they are working in "ideal" situations with clean metal and good fit up so if they struggle with that, it's only going to be more difficult in the shop or in the field where often times they don't have ideal situations.

Hope that helps.