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Buyer - Specifying a Steel Casting
This section provides an overview of the role of specifications as a means of communication between all parties concerned in the purchase of steel castings.
Table of Contents
Introduction Definitions Specifications Standard Code What Can Be Specified Composition Limits and Tolerances Dimensions, Weights, and Tolerances Properties and Performance Surface Integrity and Roughness Internal Integrity, Soundness Inspection Methods and Procedures Testing Methods and Procedures Manufacturing and Welding Methods and Procedures Overlapping, Redundant, and Contradictory Specifications Specification Writing Bodies and Jurisdiction Material Specifications Welding Specifications Testing Specifications Inspection Standards Surface Discontinuities Visual Inspection Standards Magnetic Particle Inspection Liquid Penetrant Inspection Dimensional Tolerance Classes Internal Discontinuities Radiography Ultrasonic Relevance of Discontinuity Acceptance Levels Cost of Specifications Introduction One needs only a superficial knowledge of a few of the existing steel casting specifications, and of metallurgy in general, to understand that stating what one needs is not a simple matter. All requirements must be clearly and accurately stated with nothing taken for granted. This is best accomplished by the use of standards and specifications. As you read this section, you will notice that the use of nationally recognized standards and specifications is recommended, while the use of proprietary specifications is strongly discouraged. Definitions In the specification process for steel castings, there are three key words which should be understood. These are specifications, standards, and codes. Specifications A specification is a form of standard, which precisely states a set of requirements to be satisfied by the casting. Some of these requirements might be chemical composition, mechanical properties, repair procedures, or any other requirement that is necessary to develop the quality of the casting needed for its end use. Specifications for steel castings are sometimes expanded or limited by standards and codes. Standard A standard can be defined as a specification, test method, definition, or recommended practice that has been approved by a nationally recognized specification-writing body such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), ISO (international Organization of Standards), or SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). A standard can be further be defined as a document which details properties, processes, dimensions, materials composition, relationships, or concepts. This connotation follows Webster's definition of "something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality." It can be seen then that there is some overlapping between specifications and standards, and for that reason the two terms are often used interchangeably where steel castings are concerned. Code The word " code " is a term of much broader meaning than either specification or standard and can best be described as a set of rules established by a recognized authority such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' (ASME), Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code or the United States of America Standards Institute's (USASI) code for pressure Piping. In adopting the rules that make up the various codes, consideration is generally based on health, safety, and environmental protection. The code-formulating bodies, in addition to writing their rules, usually adopt ASTM material specifications either in whole or in part to be come a part of the code. What Can Be Specified A specification, as previously defined, is a precise statement of requirements. Therefore, any requirement can be specified or incorporated into the www.sfsa.org/sfsa/buyrord3.php#spf1 1/8
There are also carbon and low alloy grades with specified chemical ranges found in some ASTM specifications such as A216. and approved for ASME code use by the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Committee. Hardenability is the property that determines the depth and distribution of hardness induced by quenching. no matter how small. Composition Limits and Tolerances Most steel casting specifications take into consideration the chemical analysis of the casting either directly by specifying the analysis. Dimensions. section sizes to be cast. if one is given. Other elements in those same grades such as carbon. including those issued by ASTM. But no matter how considered. and the end use of the casting. The product analysis tolerance. it had to be removed and repaired. scale. Properties and Performance Steel castings. there seldom is a problem with omissions. Other chemical requirements have been avoided because no foundry can cast all steels in the many modifications. they can cause no end of grief for both the foundry and the purchaser. Surface Integrity and Roughness For many years. Carbon steels are less hardenable than low alloy steels and should not be used in applications requiring high hardenability. where S stand for stress and N for the number of cycles of stress to cause failure.sfsa." the ASTM specifications state that "Visual Methods MSS-SP-55". A217. elongation. nickel. Hardness and hardenability should not be confused. Hardness and Hardenability. the chromium in the various stainless grades of ASTM A351 must be within prescribed limits for predictable corrosion resistance. so when using an ASTM specifications. merely specifies the amount by which an analysis of a sample. taken from a casting. For instance." There was no definition for defect: and no basis for judgment as to what was "injurious. must also be within limits in order to maintain a balanced microstructure necessary for the mechanical strength of the alloy and to insure proper corrosion resistance and performance in different environments. should be purchased to property requirements rather than to chemical analysis specifications. Quotations and acknowledgments from the foundry will often refer to a variation in weight or weight tolerance. The plot is often referred to as an "S-N" curve. impact values. and several others. have replaced such ambiguous wording with requirement such as " The surface of the casting shall be examined visually and shall be free of adhering sand. The stress level at which failure does not occur regardless of the number of cycles is known as the endurance limit of the material. Dimensional tolerances should be included on any casting drawing. and on the high temperature performance of the casting. Furthermore. Tolerances are the expression of the expected or acceptable variation. Mechanical properties of steel castings can be categorized as follows: Tensile properties which include tensile strength. ASTM A802 has a 31 piece set of surface comparators which has many more categories of surface finish from which the purchaser will specify the level of www. For steel. there was no definition for "sound metal" and no basis for judgment for "completely. This problem has been rectified in the ASTM specifications. This permits the foundry engineer to select the alloy compositions which best satisfy mechanical property selection. and reduction of area. other grades whose chemistry may deviate only slightly from the approved grades are not acceptable for ASME code use. the composition is important. It should be emphasized that ASTM specifications take into consideration all of these requirements and more. castings were to be clean and "free from injurious defects. The importance of mechanical properties at a depth below the surface of the casting of a given design determines the significance which the engineer must place on hardenability. and hardenability ranges. Structural and engineering grades of high strength cast steel are covered by A148 (High Strength Steel Castings). the "injurious defect" had to be "completely removed to sound metal. may be used.specification. Whenever requirements such as these are discovered. Since any change in composition may have some effect on weldability. Fatigue properties. every attempt should be made to rewrite them in a manner similar to those found in the latest ASTM specifications.org/sfsa/buyrord3. To help define "unacceptable visual surface discontinuities. Tolerances for chemical analysis are relatively new to steel casting specifications. and leave the choice of composition to the foundry. Weight and Tolerances Variations occur in dimensions and weights of parts made by any metal-shaping process. The most common are listed and discussed in the paragraphs that follow. For example. Unfortunately. or indirectly by specifying properties that are related to the analysis. many other specifications today still contain the same or similar ambiguous wording." Requirements of this type can easily be misunderstood. the ASTM specifications allow for that option.php#spf1 2/8 . heat treating methods. which include both producers and users of steel castings. A487. " This preferred wording goes on to say that " unacceptable visual surface discontinuities shall be removed and their removal verified by visual examination of the resultant removal verified by visual examination of the resultant cavities. The writers of the ASTM specifications. most casting specifications. cracks. Most fatigue testing results are expressed by plots of stress versus number of cycles. and is a measure of the resistance to indentation during the hardness test. which is issued by the Manufacturers Standards Society of the Valve and Fittings Industry. This standard contains photographs of various casting surfaces and defines them as acceptable or unacceptable. The chemistry chosen for each grade should take into account the strength level. The only chemical requirement in that specification is for sulfur and phosphorus. The strength levels in A148 run from 80 ksi to 175 ksi (552-1207 MPa) tensile strength. and then both parties will have a clear understanding of what is expected. although they have been in use for other steel products for some time. involving both ductility and strength and usually expressed in US specifications as "foot pounds". and the purchaser may so specify in his purchase order. such as hardness or tensile strength. Most of the grades found in those specifications have been evaluated as to weldability and mechanical properties at various elevated temperatures. most of the national specification are written in terms of tensile properties and in some cases hardness values. " If more stringent examination of the cavity is required. testing to 10 million cycles is considered sufficient insurance that the endurance limit has been reached. Impact properties or toughness which is most often determined by the amount of energy absorbed during fracture in a Charpy V-notch impact test. contained very ambiguous wording in regard to surface inspection and integrity." If the purchaser's inspector said a discontinuity was injurious. whenever possible. and hot tears. the complexity of design. yield strength. and molybdenum. and misapplied." Again. Hardness is the property usually specified. may deviate from the specified composition range.
yet each is capable of achieving the same end results. With these methods.sfsa. are automatically qualified to A488. when a specific internal quality level is required.org/sfsa/buyrord3. likewise. and contradictory requirements are eliminated whenever they are discovered. A common example is a Brinell hardness requirement which is not always compatible with the specified tensile strength. All problems and solutions are openly discussed. Many non-standard specifications. Thus. that by their very nature are not subject to further development or change. The net result is partial duplication of specifications and some unnecessary restrictions. Procedures and welders qualified to ASME. Soundness The soundness of a casting is most often determined by radiographic methods. even if it were desirable to do so. Unfortunately in some cases. Some of the controlling factors. However. are often destructively examined by sawing into slices and examining the pieces. One inherent problem with process specifications is that they often contain requirements which cannot be checked by the buyer. Manufacturing and Welding Methods and Procedures The use of " how to do it " or process specifications in the manufacturing of steel castings is to be discouraged for several reasons. ultrasonic Standard methods or recommended techniques for carrying out the inspection have been developed and are published in ASTM documents listed in the Testing and Inspection Specification Table. As a result. that promulgate specifications and hence have full jurisdiction over them.acceptance he requires. Another example is specification of chemical analysis when mechanical properties might be the only requirement really needed. redundant. Pilot castings of small size or those preceding large production runs. and unnecessarily increases the cost of a casting without affecting its serviceability. This weakens any specification. may have conflicting requirements. although ultrasonic inspection is also used. By far the largest specification writing body in the United States is the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) whose standards are used worldwide. Such multiplicity of specifications results in confusion and misunderstanding. and the sampling procedures for obtaining specimens to be tested are usually specified in material specifications. including carbon. These specifications are subject to review and discussion twice a year by the subcommittee on steel castings. Even though a pilot casting might meet all radiographic requirements. cracks can be revealed that would go undetected with the unaided eye. Welding methods. and then incorporated into customer specifications even though they may not apply to the customer's casting needs. public and private. may change even slightly and affect the end result. the pertinent ASTM document should prevail over any individual company specification unless it is proven to be inadequate for the specific application. Other specifications in common use for special products and under the jurisdiction of their respective trade associations are those issued by the Association of www. hardness. and Contradictory Specifications All orders should reference a nationally recognized specification. no matter how closely monitored. Section IX. preferably an ASTM specification. care should be taken to be sure there is a workable range between the two. it should be stated in the order.and heat-resistant steels. However. other inspection techniques such as magnetic particle or dye penetrant examination may be specified. In fact. Internal Integrity. for metallurgical reasons. and all freedom possible should be granted the foundry. Upgrade welding is just as much an operation in the manufacture of steel castings as is the molding operation or any other operation involved in casting manufacturing. The actual methods and procedure for performing the tests. who has a problem with an ASTM specification can write to ASTM and describe the difficulty. Overlapping. there are very few outside the field who are qualified to write such a document. Since there is no absolute conversion from hardness to tensile strength and a maximum hardness. Testing Methods and Procedures Test results. Overlapping. castings for similar end use may have requirements for two or three different quality levels. Specification Writing Bodies and Jurisdiction There are numerous organizations. In all cases. They are prepared by knowledgeable representatives of both purchasers and producers working together to develop specifications of proven usefulness and compatibility. Once the casting procedure and foundry technique have been established. the internal integrity will remain relatively unchanged. to specify that the welding procedure be qualified. and impact. low alloy and high alloy (corrosion. almost all of the ASTM casting specifications require that procedures and welders be qualified in accordance with the recommended practice described in ASTM A488. in addition to being radiographed. Such specifications might be justified in certain well-established areas. but in the field of foundry science new developments are constantly being made. are generally specified in a testing specification such as ASTM A370. Inspection Methods and Procedures There are three principal means of inspection in common use to detect internal and surface discontinuities in steel castings. such as tension.php#spf1 3/8 . Even then. Complying with the requirements of a testing specification assures that all testing is conducted in a standard and reproducible manner. For a customer to decide which method should be used would seriously hamper the development of new manufacturing techniques. The requirements of ASTM cover many widely diversified applications of steel castings. or meet with the subcommittee. since the weld will become a part of the casting and go into service with the casting. changes are made to existing ASTM requirements. there is no guarantee that all others will meet the same level. bend. whether an ASTM member or not. Redundant. There are wide variations between methods used by various foundries. it is perfectly justifiable. These changes frequently contain provisions that have been previously rejected by ASTM as impractical or unnecessary. frequency of testing. When higher levels of surface integrity are needed. especially on heavy sections. Anyone. such as those prepared by individual company organizations. These are: radiography magnetic particle and liquid penetrant. should be left to the foundry and not dictated by a process specification.
the original specification should be consulted. scale. liquid penetrant. Material Specifications Specifications and standards predominately used by the steel casting industry are those issued by ASTM and can be grouped into three general groups: material. A more favorable price and delivery can be obtained by first selecting the material specification (preferably ASTM) which meets the mechanical test requirement. Castings should not be produced under a particular specification if the intended use of the casting is outside the scope of that specification. The necessary quality level can then be established by specifying special inspection procedures such as visual. most inspection standards are concerned with these properties. and exact testing procedures are detailed for each type of mechanical test. www. may specify a quality level higher than the design really requires. specimen dimensions. all parties concerned must use inspection methods that are standard. In all ASTM specifications. soundness of sections. A list is included in the Testing and Inspection Specification Table.org/sfsa/buyrord3. ultrasonic. or cracks that are found on the surface of the casting. the scope is stated in the first paragraph. Standard test methods for the purpose of obtaining mechanical property data. which serves no purpose except to increase the cost. there are a number of military and other agency specifications. Inspection Standards The steel casting industry has numerous specifications and standards that are concerned with nondestructive testing of its products. ASTM A488 and Section IX of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. However.php#spf1 4/8 . and testing To obtain complete details. Welding Specifications Welding specifications are listed in the Testing and Inspection Specification Table. others are either not visible or go unnoticed without special inspection methods such as magnetic particle or liquid penetrant examination. For the examinations to be meaningful as a basis for purchase. are the documents most often used for the qualification of procedures and welders. and dimensional tolerance. welding.American Railroads (AAR) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). the drop-weight test method described in ASTM E208 should be used. Also. Material specifications for structural and engineering grades of steel castings are covered by A27 and A148. the designer. For that reason it is best to qualify to Section IX only those grades of steel actually approved for Code use and referenced in Section IX. magnetic particle. Ordering castings for use outside the scope of the specification may result in additional and unnecessary requirements or in the omission of requirements that are necessary for the particular application. the exact type of cast coupon and type of specimen should be spelled out in the purchase order or contract to be in accordance with the provisions of ASTM A370. The chief criteria of casting quality are surface appearance and integrity. For this reason. Because of the worldwide use of the ASTM and ISO specifications and standards. For instance. Often. it will be necessary to refer to the complete and latest document. In addition. Other material specifications cover castings for specific applications. such as tension.. imperfections. A216-80. an understanding of each is helpful. The most recent revision of any specification should always be used. Carbon and low alloy steel valves and fittings for elevated temperature service are covered by A216 and A217. if he is unfamiliar with the foundry process. One other major specification writing body whose specifications are beginning to be used in the US is the International Organization for Standards (ISO). Visual Inspection Standards Most ASTM specifications contain a requirement stating that the surface of the casting will be examined visually and free of adhering sand. e. cracks. high strength structural castings should be ordered to A148 and not to A87.sfsa. Surface Discontinuities Surface discontinuities are the irregularities. These two specifications. There need be no duplication in qualification because A488 states that welders and procedures qualified to Section IX are automatically qualified to A488.g. Testing Specifications Testing specifications for steel castings are included in the Testing and Inspection Specification Table. Not all ASTM grades of steel have been adopted for pressure service under the ASME Boiler Code and referenced in Section IX. This standard consists of a series of photographs which are defined as acceptable and unacceptable. To try to qualify those grades under Section IX may result in confusion and possibly misunderstanding with the customer as to interpretation of the qualification rules. All other grades should be qualified under the rules of ASTM A488. while castings for low temperature service are covered by A352. radiography. carbon steel valve castings intended for high temperature service should be ordered to A216 and not A27. and impact. Although some are of such size that they can be seen visually. and accuracy of dimensions. for complete details of any of the specifications. such as steam turbine castings (A356) and bridge castings (A486). Any other visual standard may also be used as long as both parties agree to it. of a cast steel are specified in ASTM A370. hardness. Test coupons. indicates the year of adoption or latest version. Each specification has been written for a particular type of service or environment which should be described in the title and in the scope of the specification. The additional number following the ASTM designation. The requirements of any specification should be compatible with the intended use of the casting. and hot tears. Whenever mechanical testing is required and is not covered by the material specification. and whose scope encompasses the service for which the part is intended. If the determination of the nil-ductility transition (NDT) temperature is required. bend. Visual Method MSS-SP-55. available from the Manufacturers Standardization Society of the Valve and Fittings Industry may be used to define acceptable surface discontinuities.
Liquid penetrant inspection is of particular importance for austenitic alloys because they are non-magnetic and therefore their surfaces cannot be examined by magnetic particle inspection. A set of reference photographs has been assembled by ASTM as document E125 depicting the appearance of different types of casting surface discontinuities as revealed by the dry power magnetic particle technique. Dimensional Tolerance Classes Dimensional tolerances are permissible deviations from the nominal dimension. Additionally. etc. as in E125 for the dry powder magnetic particle technique. Although the separation between degree 1 and degree 2 is completely arbitrary and in no way related to service performance. there should be a prior agreement of interpretation and acceptance to prevent subsequent misunderstanding. except porosity. but only trial by actual production will show precisely how the metal will behave. By prior agreement between the purchaser and the producer. (16 mm). Upgrading. Also. A series of tolerance classes is a practical means of communicating the needed tolerance to the foundry and of explaining to the purchaser the ability of the foundries' process. Although these dimensions are somewhat arbitrary. orders should not state both visual and magnetic particle standards because of the possibility of overlapping or contradictory requirements. or even 1/16 in. Deviations from the nominal. straightening. (13. Each type of discontinuity is classified in five degrees of severity. or processes. One example is in the linear discontinuity of degrees 1 and 2. or 1. while those of degree 2 are approximately 5/8 in. Tolerances for the production of a single casting. It has made possible the selection of castings for critical applications by greatly assisting the upgrading effort with its outstanding ability to detect surface discontinuities. increase the cost of a casting without improving its performance. On the other hand. The tightest grade. their width is seldom considered. The primary source is the contraction of the liquid metal as it solidifies and cools in the mold. or very smooth " as cast " surfaces. and five tolerance classes have been suggested. without subsequent dimensional upgrading. Also. In this situation variation will be minimized but a slight variation will still exist. (13 mm) or less than 5/8 in. only the length of the indication is compared to the photographic references. therefore. It can also. there is often great concern as to whether the indication is greater than 1/2 in. An experienced foundryman can estimate the metal contraction that will occur on any dimension. when improperly applied. some purchasers specify acceptance standards to various degrees in E125 and then add that cracks and not tears shall not exceed 1/2. Misunderstanding can be minimized if the inspectors for both parties are least ASNT (American Society for Nondestructive Testing) Level 1 inspectors. represents the best tolerance encountered in a recent SFSA study. may occur for several reasons. Magnetic Particle Inspection Magnetic particle inspection is used to detect surface discontinuities.org/sfsa/buyrord3. It is named T3 to provide room for additional tolerance www. it is difficult to rigidly interpret magnetic particle indications on castings against a set of photographic references. Magnetic particle techniques methods for dry powder and wet inspection are set forth in ASTM E109 and E138. Under this new standard the purchaser can specify surface requirements by quoting category numbers and levels of appearance. this is primarily a surface inspection method and caution should prevail in attempting to ascribe other capabilities to it. based upon the type and magnitude of stresses to which each area is subjected in service. the opportunity exists to make changes in pattern equipment and manufacturing processes to compensate for abnormal casting contraction behavior. which is a higher qualification than Level 1. porosity. no attempt has been made to establish the metallurgical cause of the discontinuity. If magnetic particle examination is needed. Admittedly. 1/8. Magnetic particle inspection has probably led to more misunderstanding than any other inspection tool. 3. Under ideal conditions certain discontinuities lying just below the surface can also be detected. It should be pointed out that there are no degrees of severity. To overcome some of the interpretation problems. coining. ASTM E 165 describes the standard method for conducting this test. then visual methods of inspection need not and should not be specified. This is a rating of the level of competence to which the individual is certified by training and completion of a prescribed number of classroom hours in inspection techniques and interpretation. with castings produced in large numbers. and other measures are available to achieve any desired tolerance level that cannot be achieved by the casing process alone. The degree 1 indications are approximately 1/2 in. where two examples are shown. however. The ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code requires that inspectors making interpretations be certified to Level 2. consequently there is a need for close cooperation between the manufacturer and the purchaser. However. Also. tend to be liberal. degree 3 of type I is not equivalent to degree 3 of type II. For instance. To avoid any misunderstanding. The comparators are merely points of reference used in communicating a requirement. Different types of discontinuities do not have equal effects on the serviceability of the casting and an effort should be made to assign realistic acceptance levels to each area of the casting.php#spf1 5/8 . the degree 2 causes the powder to cling in a wider pattern. by grinding and gagging. Upgrading of this type adds to the price and should be specified only where required to minimize the cost of the component. or class. The new system of tolerance classes is therefore desirable. ground. respectively. their being specified does eliminate much misunderstanding. Liquid Penetrant Inspection Liquid penetrant inspection is another surface discontinuity detection method. It is not generally used on the " as cast " or shot blasted surfaces because of the likelihood of obtaining false indications. Each of the documents must specify actual dimensions including maximum length of indications and number of indications per unit area. When E433 is specified.ASTM A802 is a 31 plate set of comparators depicting various degrees of surface discontinuities in several categories such as wrinkles. A set of reference photographs for acceptance or rejection is contained in ASTM E433. The standard specifies nothing as being acceptable or unacceptable. it is essential that standards of acceptance be applied with discretion. (13mm) long. or aimed for dimension. any conclusion with regard to depth or extent of the interior nature of the discontinuity must be based on exploration by other test methods.5 mm) in length. it should be pointed out there is no correlation between degrees of the various type of discontinuities. Therefore. The acceptable degree of severity for each type of discontinuity must be spelled out in the purchase order or contract. In the interpretation of indications. veining.sfsa. these photographs may be used as standards to accept or reject castings. (16 mm) in length. The penetrant method is best suited for use on machined.
specimen thickness. Relevance of Discontinuity Acceptance Levels Surface Discontinuities The ASTM steel casting specifications contain the requirement that the surface of the casting shall be free of visual cracks and hot tears. However. or E280. E446 applies to castings up to 2 in. Ultrasonic Although the ultrasonic method of inspection has not been in common use for as long as radiographic methods. the areas to be radiographed with the required severity level should be indicated on the casting drawing. The first ASTM specification for ultrasonic inspection of steel castings was issued in 1970 and is for longitudinal-beam ultrasonic inspection of heat treated carbon and low alloy steel castings. considerable judgment must be exercised in interpretation of results.sfsa. E186.classes in the future. This inspection method is in general not useful for austenitic steel castings due to large grain size of these castings. and severity level 3 for gas porosity. They only serve as a reference point in communicating the purchasers' requirements. Although the photographs show magnetic indications on steel castings to various levels of severity. (76 mm) higher severity levels are usually called for. In fact. www. For structural castings which are not dynamically loaded. the technique is invaluable in detecting discontinuities in heavy sections. Since no picture. the castings were never available for study. E186 to 2 to 4-1/2 in. moderate severity levels are usually specified. unsharpness ratios. no deviation need be made. The intermediate classes T4 and T6 were selected to provide for a geometric progression from T3 to T7. and the widest tolerance encountered. iridium -192. To require quality levels in excess of those justified by actual service conditions adds needlessly to the cost of the casting.e. Consistent quality of the radiograph itself can be readily achieved if the recommendations and methods outlined in these two ASTM documents are followed: ASTM E94 is a guide for radiographic testing and E142 is a guide for controlling the reliability or quality of the radiographic images. There is a tendency on the part of some individual company standards to specify films. when they are detected by other methods. in thickness (51 mm). To help overcome this deficiency. such as low-voltage X-rays. As wall sections increase and as the fatigue and impact stresses are reduced. Both are completely adequate in that internal discontinuities of any significance can thereby be detected. it nevertheless is a valuable tool for examining heavy wall castings for internal discontinuities. Reference radiographs in E242 show how such factors as radiation energy. Likewise. E390 is applicable to inspection of welds used for cast-weld inspection. None of the reference radiographs are based on any kind of test data. (13 mm).org/sfsa/buyrord3. and the severity levels are not graded to any basis of acceptability as to service performance. It should also be kept in mind that the entire casting need not necessarily require radiographic inspection and that the same severity levels need not apply to all areas of the casting. Reference radiographs of discontinuities common to steel welding are categorized in ASTM E390. Another possibility. since radiography does not reveal the depth of a discontinuity. low severity levels are specified for pressure-containing castings with high pressure rating and wall sections of 1 in. In any case. then to radiograph only those areas where a suspicious ultrasonic indication is found. However. severity levels become somewhat relaxed. respectively. to the acceptable severity level for each individual type of discontinuity. A special set of reference radiographs for investment castings is available as ASTM E192. low severity levels are specified for machinery or dynamically loaded casting subject to high fatigue and impact stresses. the severity and relevance become a matter of judgment.. (51-114 mm) thick sections. Also. even defining acceptance levels was once something of a problem. and for specialized processes such as investment and ceramic molding techniques. good judgment can affect sizable cost savings. 1 to 2 MeV X-rays or 10 to 24 MeV X-rays. ASTM issued specification E125. (114-305 mm). requiring a single across-the-board severity level for all types of discontinuities should be avoided. and other details aimed at producing perfect films with cost being no object. of the discontinuity is obtained. and E280 to wall thickness of 4-1/2 in. neither castings nor sections of castings were tested to determine the relationship of various degrees of discontinuity observed to the service requirements of the casting. Each group is available in a choice of sets based upon the source of radiation employed. Generally. for heavier sections about 3 in. It is simply not logical to specify a technique capable of sensitivity which will show discontinuities smaller than the minimum size for rejection.php#spf1 6/8 . The different degrees of severity are based on nothing more than opinion. and again. and film properties affect the radiographic images. at least. and with wall sections of less than 1/2 in. Repair welds should be inspected to the same standards employed for the original casting. Internal Discontinuities Radiography There are three basic groups of reference radiographs issued by ASTM for evaluation of steel castings as seen in the Testing and Inspection Specification Table. Tolerance grades T5 and T7 represent the average. This again is governed by the type of stress and the stress levels in the given casting section. Careful analysis or. since the latter is generally much less deleterious to tensile properties. The document consists of 37 reference photographs of surface discontinuities divided into five classes of graded severity. However. Except for a very few isolated cases. densities. in the purchase order or contract. (25 mm) or less. It is well recognized that ultrasonic inspection and radiography are not directly comparable. For instance. where radiographic methods would be considerably slower. Reference radiographs become standards for acceptance and rejection only after the purchaser and the producer have agreed. which has become the standard for surface quality for the industry. severity level 2 might be specified for shrinkage. in the usual sense. E446. to 12 in. The choice of discontinuity severity level should ideally be based upon realistic evaluation of design and stress analysis criteria under anticipated service conditions. It should not be forgotten that the radiographic film is a means to an end and not the end in itself. One approach in the examination of large heavy wall castings when ultrasonic evaluation may not be acceptable to the purchaser is to first inspect by ultrasonic. depending upon he nature of the stresses to which the casting is subjected in service. The meaning of this statement is quite clear and there is seldom any disagreement concerning this requirement when cracks and hot tears can be seen visually. i. It should be borne in mind at all times that the severity rating is strictly arbitrary and based on little more than opinion. is to follow radiography with ultrasonic in order to determine and evaluate the depth of the discontinuity. Some types are more detrimental than others. cobalt -60.
E280. severity level 4 for sand inclusions. The dry power reference photographs of E125 are often employed for all three types of inspection because ASTM has not supplied reference photographs for wet magnetic particle. This seems to cause some concern even though the committee that prepared the standards was of the opinion that severity levels could be relaxed somewhat as the section size increased. costing several hundred dollars each. a foundry would have to have as a bare minimum. " Gamma Ray Radiographic Standards for Steam Pressure Service. that severity level 2 shrinkage in E446. However. Most have been specifying a single severity level across the board. Some buyers request wet magnetic particle inspection rather than dry powder inspection. severity level 1 for linear discontinuities. Quality Control and Quality Assurance Cost The principal costs in this area are incurred when the castings are processed through the shop. this has not been employed by most casting buyers. because differences in quality requirements may exist. government personnel decided. Narrow ranges of acceptability are usually congruent with high quality levels. and chemical plants. and a higher percentage of rejected and reworked casting is probable. E433 show only examples of discontinuities and makes no attempt to classify them as to severity. Testing and inspection to ensure exceptional quality levels requires the careful efforts of a relatively large quality control staff along with reams of paper work. and the severity levels are not graded to any basis of acceptability of the casting as to its load carrying ability. the cost of the casting will be higher than it should be. in addition to the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code and the USASI B-31 Standards. dictating that the quality and tolerance requirements of one be of a different order than those of the other. or other pressure castings. " was issued by the Navy's Bureau of Engineering in 1938. and certification requirements. However.org/sfsa/buyrord3. followed by further inspection and additional production time. Two castings which may look alike may have different costs because the service requirements of the two are entirely different. The qualification of both facility and personnel is nothing more than being assured that the producer has the capability of supplying castings to the specified requirements. Some power plant contractors have specifications several hundred pages long. and others specify liquid penetrant inspection. and the reference photographs in E433 for liquid penetrant inspection are presented in a manner different from and less accepted than those in E125. acceptance standards. the American Petroleum Institute Standards. E446. In other words. This is no small task and even a specification specialist cannot remember the details of every document with all of the variations in formats and requirements. A summation of the past and present on reference radiographs would indicate that their use has grown extensively. Cost of Specifications Steel casting are specially designed and manufactured parts. They are based on the opinion that anything that is less than perfect is questionable. Primarily. Document Maintenance A cost area often overlooked is one of maintaining the most current editions of specification and reference standards. the more costly the product will be. some having 30 to 40 separate specifications. Naturally. and design. the cost of castings will depend upon the complexity of the design of the part and upon the purchasers' requirements. the American Welding Society Standards and the Standards published by the Manufacturers Standardization Society for the Valve and Fitting Industry. To add to the confusion. and so. information made available by SFSA would indicate that severity level 2 shrinkage and severity level 5 porosity is a much more comparable relationship. A wide range in estimated casting costs from several foundry bidders often reflects that the purchaser was not specific as to the properties and requirements desired. for example. In fact. To produce valves. or 3 inspector in accordance with the American Society for Nondestructive Testing www. and add nothing to the serviceability of the casting. it is necessary to go back to the beginning of such standards. affidavits.php#spf1 7/8 . Qualification of Facilities and Personnel To produce castings to rigid specifications requires skilled and qualified personnel working in an adequate facility. whether they were acceptable or rejected on the basis of the way the defect appeared to them. The first. shape. and therefore. a buyer could select severity level 3 for gas porosity.Steel casting buyers often specify a severity level across the board and in many cases. If the requirements of the casting are overstated. tolerance limits. Some experience was available regarding valve leakage related to varying degrees of shrinkage in steam pressure service casting. inspection requirements. fittings. it is pointed out. severity level 1 is arbitrarily selected. Inspection personnel are often required to be certified as a Level 1. The foundry would also have to have documents such as the ASTM standards. refineries. The cost of one casting cannot necessarily be compared to the cost of another casting similar in weight. Necessary quality requirements should not be compromised in order to obtain a lower price. and E99. The present reference radiographs are available for the casting buyer to set his own severity levels. since revisions are constantly being made. are considered necessary to properly process an order for parts for the construction of steam power plants. a foundry doing extensive work of this nature must have a large quality control department. these costs must be reflected in the price of the casting.sfsa. There is also the necessity of maintaining files of specifications for the military and for countless other customers. A separate book of procedures must be followed for each specification in addition to numerous special handing procedures to cover various customers' requirements. severity level 2 for shrinkage. from viewing the radiographs. Specifying minimum quality requirements is necessary if castings of minimum cost are desired. All of these documents. ASTM Reference Radiographs E186. but it must recognized that the more requirements specified to attain higher levels of quality. The purchasers should always rely on value analysis in the specification and buying of steel castings. Personal opinion was the criterion for determining that a certain radiographic quality level was considered acceptable and another rejected. There is no basis provided by ASTM for concluding that severity level 2 for porosity and severity level 2 for shrinkage are related in any manner as to the ability or inability of the casting to perform the service for which it has been designed. Levels of quality which are higher than demanded by the end use are excessively costly. All of these documents must be kept up to date. 2. E186 and E280 are not the same severity. In fact. they are not based on factual test data. Steel casting costs reflect variations in material specification. Coincident with any extra testing and inspection is the cost of upgrading by skilled workmen. As a result. Internal Discontinuities For a clear understanding of current radiographic standards.
A specification range should be as narrow as necessary and practicable. half the results will be immediately rejected. or thumbing through the pages of handbooks and selecting average values and adopting them as specification limits is never satisfactory. Therefore. Averaging the results of a few tensile tests. In the ASTM specifications. On the other hand. For instance. heat treating furnaces and temperature controllers. Welders and the procedures they use must be qualified to ASTM 488 or to Section IX of the ASME Boiler code. much statistical information. rejections become excessive. if the chemical ranges for a low alloy heat treatable steel are too wide. impact testing machines. if the range is too wide. Specification control can be obtained only when the normal expected value and the standard deviation are known.Recommended Practice No. magnetic particle inspection equipment. The preparation of a specification is an exacting undertaking in which buyers and producers should collaborate. dimensional tolerances. A ll rights res erved. mechanical properties. When the distribution curve is normal.org/sfsa/buyrord3. and common sense. Although castings for ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code use and castings for nuclear use may be produced without the foundry having to obtain the ASME " U " stamp or " N " stamp. producers. if it is too small. the hardenability of the castings from different heats of that grade of steel might have a wide variation which will result in excessive heat treating costs when heat treating to a narrow range. L as t modified: M ay 2 0 0 8 C opyright 1 9 9 5 . Additional costs are incurred for the approval and certification of equipment such as tensile testing machines. Specified Range vs. and engineering groups to discard private specifications and replace them with specifications created by nationally known specification writing bodies. a balance must be maintained between the value of establishing a narrow specification range and the cost increase resulting from the more exacting quality control required in holding the process to narrow limits.sfsa. requires careful study. additional processing costs in other areas may be incurred. SNT-TC-1A. the surveillance costs are extremely high when those stamps are required. calibration standards and numerous other items that are used to prove conformance to the specifications. or any other range.2 0 1 2 by Steel Founders ' Soc iety O f A meric a. there will probably be found a closer balance between process capabilities and purchasing requirements than in any other group of specifications. The proper creation of a specification is much more time consuming than is often supposed. A ddres s C omments to: blairr@ s fs a.org Home | C ontents | C ontact www.php#spf1 8/8 . Specification limits are never based on averages. hardness. Process Capability The determination of an economical specification range. half the results are higher than the average and half the results are lower. whether it be for chemical analysis. Radiographic facilities must be certified and licensed by city and state agencies. However. If the average value is taken as the specification limit. It is probably much more economical and advantageous in the long run for purchasers.
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