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Economics of Structural Steel Work Welding

Economics of Structural Steel Work Welding

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Published by thomas kilian

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Published by: thomas kilian on Jul 15, 2009
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14.1 Introduction
General information on welds and welding is given in the
Steel Construction Handbook 
 (Ref. 5), which covers welding processes, electrode classifications and strengths, plateedge preparations, etc.A more detailed treatment of the structural aspects of welding is included in the book
Structural Steelwork Connections 
Limit States Design 
(Ref. 7).
14.2 Code of practice and standard welding symbols
The code of practice used in South Africa with regard to all aspects of welding processes,materials, procedures, etc is the AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code – Steel (Ref. 13).The standard symbols used on production drawings specifying the type, size, length andother particulars of welds are reproduced in the
Steel Construction Handbook 
. Thesesymbols should be used consistently and accurately on all workshop drawings so as tomaintain an acceptable level of information transmittal.
14.3 Electrodes
Electrodes are classified in accordance with American Welding Society (AWS) notation.The first and second digit (after the letter 'E') indicate the ultimate tensile strength of thedeposited weld metal, in kilopounds per square inch (ksi). The commonly used grades ofelectrode produce the following weld metal yield stresses and ultimate strengths:
ElectrodeclassificationYield stress(MPa)Ultimate tensilestrength,
E60XXE70XXE80XX345413 – 410480550
14.4 Cost of welding
The main components in the cost of making a welded joint are the volume of weld metaldeposited and the time taken to deposit it. In order to achieve economy in welded joints itis therefore necessary to select a joint configuration that uses a minimum amount of weldmetal and that is easy to carry out. Both these cost components are largely influenced bythe type of welds specified by the designer. The time taken to lay a weld can be optimisedby following certain guidelines, viz.:
Using welds of minimum volume.
Using electrodes that have high deposition rates.
Using downhand welding in preference to overhead or vertical welding whereverpossible.
Using single-run welds rather than multi-run welds where strength permits.
Avoiding excessive lengths of welds, for example by welding opposite sides only ofgusset plates, angle cleats, etc, instead of all four sides.The efficiency of a welding operation is measured by the ratio of actual arc time to totaltime, i.e. by the time that welding is actually taking place against the overall time to makea joint, including fitting up, tack welding, final welding, turning over, cleaning andinspection.Some of these aspects are discussed in greater detail below.
14.5 Types of joints and welds
The two main types of weld used in structural connections are the fillet weld and thegroove weld. The former is sometimes referred to as a projection weld because it islocated outside the profile (as seen in cross section) of the parts connected, and the latteras a flush weld because it is contained within the profile.
Fillet welds 
Fillet welds are by far the most commonly used welds because they are easy to lay,require no special plate edge preparation and do not call for a very accurate fit-up of theparts. Wherever the loading permits, they should be laid as single-run welds up to 8 mm,if the manual metal arc process is used. The laying of additional runs of weld addsconsiderably to the cost of a joint. The strength of a fillet weld is directly proportional to itssize (i.e., its throat dimension), but its volume varies as the square of its size. Thus, an8 mm fillet has 1,33 times the strength of a 6 mm weld, but its volume is 1,78 times asmuch. Its efficiency in terms of weld metal deposited is therefore only 0,75 that of thesmaller weld.A further drawback of a large weld is the amount of distortion it produces in the connectedparts. Where this is beyond acceptable limits it will be necessary either to preset the partsbefore welding or to straighten them afterwards both operations obviously being costly.It is thus of the greatest importance not to overspecify the size of fillet welds.
The leg size of a fillet weld can be reduced by using an automatic process instead of amanual procedure because of the deeper penetration that can be achieved. There will bea saving in both weld metal and welding time.In the case of manual fillet welds considerable savings can be made by using intermittentwelds, but the length and spacing of the welds should be according to the designer'sspecification. Intermittent welds should not be used in members subject to dynamicloading because of potential fatigue failure, nor in corrosive situations where moisturemight enter between the unwelded contact surfaces of the components.Examples of intermittent-welded components are intermediate stiffeners on plate girders,flange plates or built-up
-columns, and column web stiffeners at beam-to-column momentconnections.
Groove welds 
These welds, sometimes referred to as butt welds, may be used to connect two plates orother elements lying either in the same plane or at an angle (usually 90º) to each other.As shown in Fig 14.1, the welds in a butt joint may be square butt, single or double V,single or double U, or partial penetration single or double V welds. The square butt can beused for plate thicknesses up to about 6 mm without a backing strip and is obviouslymuch cheaper than a weld requiring edge preparation to the plates. Up to about 12 mmthickness the single V is used without a backing strip and beyond this the double V. In thelarger plate thicknesses the double V is the obvious choice because it uses about one halfof the weld metal that a single V would and produces considerably less contraction of theplates along their length. Only in the case of much thicker plates are the U preparationsused – above 20 mm for the single and above 30 or 40 mm for the double weld. The Upreparation, although efficient in terms of weld metal deposited, is more difficult toexecute and this limits the number of fabricators able to undertake the work.Table 6.16 of the
Steel Construction Handbook 
lists a range of full-penetration weldpreparations as applicable to manual groove welds, including single and double V, J andU preparations, and gives the dimensions and preparation angles applicable to variousplate thicknesses.(a) (b) (c)(d) (e) ( f ) (g)
Fig 14.1: Butt joints

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