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Welding THE TOWER: A brief guideline to the welding processes and techniques applied in the fabrication and erection

of the structural steel for the Torre Mayor Building.

Authors
Ramon Fernandez is Technical Development Manager for Corey S.A. de C.V. He is a Civil Engineer from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. Since 1988 he has been involved in the pioneering quality assurance project in Mexico based on ISO9000 standards. He designed and directed the project that in 1996 allowed to Corey S.A. de C.V. became the first fabricator in Latin America certified in the AISC Quality Certification Program in the complex buildings category including the sophisticated Paint endorsement. He have developed quality assurance systems and inspection plans for some of the most important structural steel projects in the last 7 years in Mexico and in projects for Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and the United States, including the inspection processes based on FEMA requirements used for the fabrication of columns for the new International terminal of the San Francisco Airport. Since 1991 he has been involved in the research and teaching of alternative NDT procedures, welding processes, metallurgy, fabrication automation, and software development. Ramon Fernandez is an ASNT Level III Certified NDT Inspector, AWS CWI Welding inspector and ISO9000 Quality System certified Auditor. Pascual Contreras Toro in the Welding Processes Development Chief for Corey S.A. de C.V. He is a Professional Mechanical Technician from the Polytechnic Institute of the University of Guadalajara. He has been involved in welding processes for more than 28 years. He specialized in welding processed in La Rochelle France. He was the Quality Control Manager for Concarril (the Mexican fabricator of subway wagons) and District Manager for Hobart. He has been involved for more than 18 years in the research and teaching of alternative welding processes and techniques including welding automation, production and maintenance welding.

Summary
The Torre Mayor Building represents a major milestone in the construction industry history of Mexico. Large, heavy and thick elements, complex connections and geometry and the most strict requirements in the industry for quality and safety implies challenges to whom welding processes cannot be absent The accumulated knowledge learned in the Mexico City, Northridge and Kobe earthquakes about seismic behavior of welded connections is incorporated in the development of this project. The 1985 earthquake in Mexico City and its aftermath of damages implied radical modifications to local construction codes in the city. Torre mayor is the first project of this magnitude developed since this new construction code is enforced. In this paper we describe the welding processes developed to fabricate and erect the structural steel for this project and how proper selection of welding equipment, consumables and joint design can help to keep project advance on schedule. Less than 4 miles from the original site where the capital of the Aztec empire was established, in an small island within a lake where they found an eagle devouring a serpent, our crew and staff is erecting and welding the tallest building in Latin America in conditions where only eagles dare to live.

Ramon S. Fernandez

Pascual Contreras Toro

if we extended all the wire to form a single unit it accounts for 1. The structural steel comprehends 16. shop- fabrication and field erection.9 times the earth circumference.500 metric tons in 57 levels. The building represents an important milestone in the construction industry in Mexico. . consumables for both. Actual stage of construction as in late March. 2002. Ramon Salvador Fernandez Orozco Pascual Contreras Toro There are no small numbers when we try to explain the size and scope of a project like Torre Mayor. In erection welding we estimate that there will be distributed approximately 45% electrode and 55% FCAW wire for semiautomatic welding To have an approximate idea of the amount of welding wire that will be used in this project. amount a total tonnage of 258 metric tones (169 metric tones for shop welding and 89 metric tones for the field).Welding THE TOWER: A brief guideline to the welding processes and techniques applied in the fabrication and erection of the structural steel for the Torre Mayor Building. THE CHALLENGE IN NUMBERS Welding Figure 1.

This is equivalent to a person working for 49. using SMAW electrode and FCAW wire for the project totals 155. and with an increased emphasis since the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City (Reinforced now worldwide as a consequence of the Northridge and Kobe Earthquakes). we will use a similar analogy to evaluate.7 years 24 hours a day. Figure 2 SMAW electrode tack welding of elements in site. this is equivalent to a person working for 17. Due to NAFTA and other trade agreements that opened the frontiers of Mexico to the competition with companies in Canada and in the Unites States. RECENT TENDENCIES IN THE STRUCTURAL STEEL MARKET IN LATIN AMERICA AND ITS IMPACT IN WELDING TECHNOLOGY Along many years.000 men-hours.6 years 24 hours a day. 365 days per years. The intention was to offer to the local market Página 3 de 10 . 650 amperes of capacity al 100% duty cycle) in two shifts are used for shop welding in two shifts. If only SMAW electrode is supposed to be used in the project we estimate that a total amount of 434. constant voltage. Along the project electrode use FCAW wire More than 45 welding power sources (multi-process. the primary steel sector in Mexico has strengthened its effort in diffusing the advantages of steel as structural material. 50 similar power sources are being used for field welding. Mexican structural steel fabricators established contact with fabricators and suppliers in other countries to evaluate available new technologies and also provided additional resources to create or adapt design and fabrication procedures to the Mexican structural Figure 3 The Torre Mayor structure Wireframe steel market reality. the fabrication of structural steel had been using the same procedures used in the last three decades. This is 2..500 men hour is required to complete the project. But essentially.The estimated amount of man-hours devoted to welding. 365 days per years.8 times the amount of time. To have a measure of the advantage of using semiautomatic processes.

These tendencies could summarize to: 1. Página 4 de 10 . 4. (Based on AISC and ISO9001 Guidelines) 6. Use of concurrent engineering structural steel detailing software. availability of welding equipment and the need of seismic resistance conditions. Cooperative work with the structural designers to develop connections more efficient to fabricate and erect at the site. equipment and consumables equal to the North American market. Provide solutions to the increasing demand of safety and reliability from our customers through the diffusion in the fabrication processes of NDT inspection procedures. fabrication and erection that until a few years ago were reserved to other sectors. important reductions in the execution time and production costs thus as a uniform quality. 5. The recognition of the need and advantage of designing welding procedures specifications fitted specifically to each welding positions. 3. as the industry of energy generation. Through these equipment it is possible to obtain the necessary flexibility to manage complex forms in the structure. reserved in the past to other type of products. Elimination of the disadvantages that traditionally have been attributed to structural steel related to the elevated cost of the maintenance to prevent corrosion and the susceptibility to suffer harmful damages in the case of fires that have been surpassed in great measure with the advances achieved in the use of new materials and processes of paint application and fire retardant materials. welding environment. Development of quality assurance systems in the processes of design. and also to initiate export projects. Use of the most recent welding technology. punctuality in the delivery and safety conditions similar to of any manufacturer worldwide. The incorporation of automation processes (Numerical controlled equipment) in the fabrication of steel structures that formerly were reserved only to other sectors of the industry.quality. cost. processes. 7. 2.

Página 5 de 10 .17 EM13K-F7A2 combination of welding wire and electrode is a high deposit (from 15 to 20 kilograms per hour) with excellent mechanical properties and impact resistance that complies and exceeds the requirements established for the project.20 E70T-1. Apropiate weld joint design and procedures allowd us to reduce welding time 71%. The AWS A5. Because of the thickness of materials involved in this project the enforcement of proper care for this conditions are a priority for all our welding staff and inspectors. this is a high deposit –impact resistantexcellent mechanical properties electrode. For welding fillet welds and flat groove joints SAW process is the most efficient process. Figure 4.FABRICATION WELDING Shop welding is basically performed by the Submerged Arc Welding process (SAW) and Flux Cored Arc Welding process (FCAW). Preheating and interpass temperature are key elements to avoid delayed cracking of welds. The electrode of choice for FCAW welding is AWS A5. FCAW Welding of a 102 thick bracing connection plate including a portion of column. This wire is used with a protection atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO2) that provides also a reduced spatter surface easier to clean.

A 740 pound per feet W section column for the Torre Mayor in the fitting area. Página 6 de 10 . Thick material (over51 and up to 152 mm) are common in this project.Figure 5.

1 E7018 SMAW electrode is always the best option for field welding restricted access joints in all positions. Preheating and interpass temperature are key elements to avoid delayed cracking of welds.ERECTION WELDING Due the complexity of geometry and a combination of different welding positions there is no single consumable solution for field welding. FCAW Wire AWS A5.20 E71T-8 is a better option to electrode if there is no the access restriction but the out-of-theflat-position condition prevails. The picture in the right of this paragraph shows the human scale referenced to the size of the connection and elements involved in this project Figure 6 Example of complexity of welding connections and the challange of height Página 7 de 10 . Because of the thickness of materials involved in this project the enforcement of proper care for this conditions are a priority for all our welding staff and inspectors. In areas where proper wind protection is available FCAW Wire AWS A5. Low Hydrogen AWS A5.20 E71T-1 is an even better option for an out of the flat position condition due to an increased deposit rate.

Near one hundred of this equipment are in use for this project QUALITY CONTROL IN THE TORRE MAYOR BUILDING. . For this project. the adjustments are required while a structural element is being Elements dimensional verified along fitting prior to welding and once the piece is already welded and finished.Figure 7. Dimensional inspection of structural elements for the Torre Mayor ultrasonic inspection of 100% of the complete penetration welds. Dimensional accuracy is one of the priorities in order to reduce to a minimum erected. Note the arrengement of 8stacked welding power sources to provided service to a similiar number of welders. Página 8 de 10 . fabrication and erection processes guidelines incorporate requirements inspection including Figure 8.Self-shielded FCAW welding of columns in site.

detailers. finally. and is a proof of the cooperation between companies in Canada. As an example. Página 9 de 10 .Corey use the most recent technology in ultrasonic NDE of field welds The inspection plan for Torre Mayor emphasizes the use of automation. fabrication and erection personnel and the welding specialist in the design of connections for the project to simplify both fabrication and erection which means important savings in time. to have welds in materials with thickness of up to 6 inches is commonplace. In this project. which is the standard welded construction code for this project. CONCLUSIONS Once we have revised the basics of the welding processes involved in this project we can construe some important facts that can be translated to the execution of similar future projects: • The Torre Mayor is a project with no parallel in the recent history of construction in Mexico. money.1. • A close collaboration between structural designers.Figure 9 . The United States and Mexico. allocation of resources and. This represents for us the necessity to design alternative ultrasonic inspection methods for partial penetration welds not covered by AWS-D1. automatic welding equipment usage is promoted through the increase of Non Destructive Inspection requirements if manual welding methods are chosen.

Fernandez Orozco. REFERENCES Chapultepec Tower. Página 10 de 10 .• As we shown. Ahmad Rahimian and Enrique Martinez Romero. Impact of recent developments in non-destructive Inspection and information technology on the quality assurance of structural steel in Mexico. Guidelines for future action and pending agenda Ramon S. in this project we are applying the same welding technology available in any worldclass quality company. Mexico City. 1998 AISC NSCC Proceedings. Figure 9 A mixt (welded-bolted) connection that allows streamline erection while providing the advantages of a welded connection • Continuous training. feedback and motivation to the welding crew are a key element for the success and performance of all welding process. 2000 AISC NASCC Proceedings. supervision.