Ever wondered what a welder must do to get ‘qualified’ to work on a welding project? Basically, a welder must first perform a Welder Qualification Test. This is a practical test to demonstrate the ability to weld to a standard set out in a weld procedure qualification record (WPQR) for the project.
For economic reasons, many clients now stipulate the use of automated weld processes. So, today’s welder must be proficient in the use of semi-automated welding equipment such as Firefly as well as more traditional SMAW/MMA welding methods. In short, today’s welder needs to be versatile and multi-skilled.
Ship Yard Project
This project involved the upgrading of four spudcans on the offshore wind farm jack-up installation vessel, Aeolus.
WPQR’s for the Aeolus project where first carried out by IPWL prior to the welder qualification testing and passed by DNV. To qualify welders to work on the welding phase of the Aeolus project, a prospective welder was expected to carry out the following multi-skilled welding tasks during their Weld Qualification Test:
- Root and hot pass using manual SMAW (111) weld process
- Fill and cap passes using mechanised FCAW (136) weld process, forty (40) passes using Firefly welding machine
Here is some video footage of welders during their weld qualification tests for the Aeolus project. Check out the speed of the wire feeder!
The welder qualification test piece was 25mm thick and fixed in the 2G (PC) weld position. The material was S690 grade steel. The entire welder qualification test was independently supervised by a weld surveyor from DNV. Once the test was completed, the welder’s test piece was stamped by DNV and sent away for independent UT testing. UT testing is required to ensure the integrity of the welding meets the standards specified in the WPQR. For the Aeolus project, the standards where AWS D1.1 and DNV-OS-C401.
It is only after a successful UT report is received that the welder becomes qualified to carry out welding work on the project. During the Aeolus project, welders also carried out other tasks such as automated cutting (using Firefly cutting equipment) and bevelling.
Therefore, to get ‘qualified’ to work on a weld project, a welder needs to demonstrate versatility and proficiency in a range of skills.
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