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TheSecrettoFusionWeldingSuccess
Weveallheardthemantraabouthowtosucceedinrealestate:location,location,location.Soistheresomething
similartosummarizethekeytosuccessinfusionwelding?Yes.Itspreparation,preparation,preparation.

ThesecrettofusionweldingsuccessisaWeldExecutionPlanthatoutlinesallproductprerequisitesasdetermined
throughdiligentplanningandpreparation.Thequalityofindividualweldbeadsisproportionaltotheextentof
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planningandpreparationperformedpriortowelding.Aweldment,whichmaybecomprisedfromafewtothousands
ofindividualweldbeads,thuswillreflecttheamountofpreparationconductedpriortowelding.Wecanmeasurethe
successoffusionwelding,includinghardfacingandcladdingapplications,byhowaccuratelyandthoroughlythe
WeldExecutionPlanidentifiesanddetailsalltheprerequisitesrequiredtodevelopahighintegrityweldthat
consistentlymeetsweldcodecriteriaandthedesignforserviceandperformancerequirements.
FigureA.4ofAWSA3.0:2010,StandardWeldingTermsandDefinitions,lists26fusionweldingprocesses.
However,thisarticleappliestoeightofthem:electronbeam(EBW),laserbeam(LBW),gastungstenarc(GTAW),
gasmetalarc(GMAW),plasmaarc(PAW),shieldedmetalarc(SMAW),submergedarc(SAW),andfluxcoredarc
(FCAW)welding,inwhichtherearecommonprerequisitestoachievingahighintegrityweld.
Fusionweldingisbestviewedfromtheweldersorweldingoperatorsperspectivetofullygarneranunderstanding
ofthecriticalityofperformingthoroughplanningandpreparationpriortowelding.
Thetransientnatureofaweldpoolisunforgivingrelativetocopingwithanyadverseweldprocessand/orweldjoint
conditions.Forexample,iftheweldjointiscontaminated,jointfituppoor,preheatinsufficient,oranincorrect
weldingtechniqueemployed,theweldpoolwillreactaccordinglyanddiscontinuitiesand/ordefectssuchas
incompletefusion,cracks,undercut,slaginclusions,andporositywilldevelop.Beam/arctimeiscriticalrelativeto
thetimeavailableforwelderstomanipulateandcontrolweldpoolbehavior.Weldpoolgeometryandthesurface
morphographyoftheweldbeadisafunctionofweldprocessparameterssuchasthepreheattemperatureand
beam/arcmanipulationandcontrol(e.g.,travelspeed,amperage,watts,torch/beamaxisangle,arc/focallength,
technique/oscillation,etc.),andweldjointattributessuchascleanliness,fitup,alloychemistry,andbasemetal
surfacefinish.Respectivetotheindividualprocess,additionalcriteriamayincludeshieldinggascomposition,filler
metalalloy,electricalattributes,filamenttypeandsize,fluxcomposition,etc.Theseallrelatedirectlytothe
continuityoftheweldbeadsolidificationprocess,whichisdependentuponthedynamicsoftheweldpoolmelt
suchthatanydetrimentalorunfavorableaspectoftheweldingprocessand/orweldjointthatmaybepresentor
introducedduringweldingwillpreventorinhibitthecreationofanacceptablecodecompliantweld.
Characteristicsofahighintegrityweldbeadincludemechanicalsoundness,metallurgicalhomogeneity,anda
uniformprofile/crosssection.Thetempoofweldingandtherateatwhichtheweldbeadsolidifiestranspires
quickly,suchthatthereisnocompensatingforinadequateplanningandpreparationonceweldinghasbegun.This
isespeciallytrueforhightravelspeed(i.e.,20110in./min),programmableprocessessuchasEBWandLBW,as
wellasmodesttravelspeed(i.e.,240in./min)processessuchassemiautomatic,automatic,andmechanized
FCAW,GTAW,PAW,FCAW,SAW,andGMAW,aswellasinsituSMAWdownhillpipewelding,whichhasspeeds
of417in./min.Amarkedcorrelationexistsbetweentheextentofplanningandpreparationperformedpriorto
productionweldingandformationofweldbeaddiscontinuitiesordefectsthataffecttheintegrityoftheweldment.
TheWeldExecutionPlan
Awellformulatedweldexecutionplanwillmitigateweldingandfabricationrisks.Theplanshouldoutlineallthe
prerequisitesthatrequireresolutionpriortoproduction.Theseprerequisitesincludethefollowing:
1.Implementationandenforcementofenvironmental,health,andsafetyandpersonalprotectionequipment
policies/practicesfortheprotectionofwelders/operators,supportpersonnel,equipment,andtheenvironment.
EmployingANSIZ49.1:2012,SafetyinWelding,Cutting,andAlliedProcesses,andpromotinganattitudeofpre
ventionandprecautionaryawarenessisrecommended.
2.QualificationofProcedureQualificationRecords(PQRs)inaccordancewiththerespectiveweldcodeforthe
actualproductionapplication.Inotherwords,PQRsshouldbequalifiedbaseduponactualproductionwelding
requirementssuchaspipewallorplatethicknesses,etc.Also,PQRsshouldbequalifiedutilizingaweldprocedure
qualificationplansothereisagreementamongallpartiesrelativetoweldvariableslikefillermetals,preheating,
etc.andweldspecimennondestructiveexamination(NDE),mechanicalandmetallurgicaltesting,and
environmentalsimulationtesting.ReproducibilityofqualifiedPQRweldvariablesiscrucialtoconsistentlyachieve
highintegrityproductionweldsFig.1.

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3.Anindepthknowledgeofthemetallurgical/weldabilitypropertiesofthebasemetalalloysrelativetocracking
susceptibility,postweldheattreatment,quenchingandtempering,thermalconductivity,coefficientofthermal
expansion,hardenability,etc.Subjectingweldjointmockupstometallurgical/metallographicevaluation(e.g.,micro
structure,microhardness)mechanicaltesting(e.g.,yieldstrength,CharpyVnotch,fractureanalysis)and
environmentalsimulationtesting(e.g.,sourservice,wetgas,humidity)areessentialforcriticalapplications.
4.Logisticsandtheproductioninfrastructure.Productionmethodologies(e.g.,fixturing,positioners,machinetools,
pipelineshelters,etc.)needtobedeterminedpriortothestartoffabrication.Apreventivemaintenanceandannual
calibrationprogramforweldingequipmentisimperative.Basematerialsandweldingconsumablesrequireproper
storagetopreventcontaminationanddamage.Forcriticalapplications,securingbasemetalandweldfillermetal
CertifiedMaterialTestReportsarevitalasismaintainingmaterialtraceabilityandusagerecords.
5.Thefosteringofincreasedcommunication/productionefficiencies.Forexample,youshouldconduct
production/projectbriefingssowelders/operators,fitters,etc.,developanunderstandingofandincreased
awarenessofproduction/projectcriteriaincludingobjectives,expectations,healthandsafetypolicies,scheduling,
etc.,fortheproject.Thiswillalsoletstaffknowwhatqualitycontrolandengineeringsupportisavailable.
Employingapreweldchecklistatjobsite/workstationlocationstohelpdecreaseweldingbasederrors,rework,and
repairactivitiesisalsohelpful.
6.Arealizationofmetallurgicalandmechanicalprinciples.Thesecouldincludethefollowing:
Realizingtheeffectsofweldsolidificationshrinkageforces,overwelding,thecoefficientofthermalexpansion,and
basemetalthermalconductivitytoreduceweldmentdistortion
Understandingtheimportanceoferadicatingweldjointstressrisersby
a)Achievingcodecompliantweldjointfitups
b)Usingtheproperweldingtechniquetoachieveacceptableweldbeadtieins,weldbeadsequencing,and
weldbeadprofilesaswellaseliminatingwelddiscontinuities/defectssuchasincompletefusion,arcstrikes,
craters,undercut,etc.
c)Employingskillfulgrinding/blendingtechniques.
7.Developingaqualitymanualthatdelineatespoliciesandprocedurespertainingtoqualityassurance/quality
controloversightapreventivemaintenanceandcalibrationprogramfitup,inprocess/inservice,andpostweld
inspectionholdpointsweldmapsaforeignobjectdebrisandeliminationprogrampositivematerialidentification
andCertifiedMaterialTestReportsmaterialhandling,storage,andtraceabilitydocumentationcontrol
workmanshipqualitystandardsandotherpertinentitems.Themanualwouldalsocontaintrainingandqualification
requirementsforwelders,weldingoperators,fitters,weldinspectors,andotherqualityassurancepersonnel.
8.Fabrication/productiondrawings,includingthedrawingnotes,thatareaccurateandunambiguous.Keepinmind
thatitisalsonecessarytomakesureweldsymbolsareinaccordancewithAWSA2.4:2012,StandardSymbols
forWelding,Brazing,andNondestructiveExamination.Detailsmatter.
9.Welder/operatortraining,trainingandmoretraining.Rigoroustrainingisneededfortheperformancequalification
ofwelders/operatorswithrespecttotheweldcodeandtheactualproductionapplicationFig.2.Itisimportantto
establishfabricationcompetencyandtoinstillconfidenceandprideinworkmanship.Provideinstructionand/or
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verifyknowledgeregardingvisualexaminationofwelds,typesofdiscontinuities,NDEconcepts,weldcodes,
materials,drawinginterpretation(e.g.,weldsymbols),weldfillermetals,measuringtools,andfituptechniques.

10.Acomprehensiveunderstandingoftheweldmentapplicationandoptimizationofweldmentdesign.Thesewould
includeweldjointdesignandpreparationmethodologiesweldsizingselectionofbaseandfillermetalpurging
strategyweldprocessselectionandincorporationofdesignformanufacturabilityandassemblyconcepts(e.g.,
designsimplicity,fewerparts,reducedcost,etc.).PerformingweldingandNDEinspectiononfullsizeweldjoint
mockupstoverifyweldjointaccessibility/producibilityisemphasized.
Conclusion
ThesecrettosuccessinapplicationsthatemploytheEBW,LBW,GTAW,GMAW,PAW,SMAW,SAW,and
FCAWprocessesisaWeldExecutionPlanthatoutlinesallproductionprerequisites.AWeldExecutionPlan
mitigatesweldingandfabricationrisksbyidentifyinganddetailingitemsthatmustbeaddressedandresolvedprior
tothecommencementofproduction.Therearenoshortcutstoachievinghighintegrityweldsonaconsistentbasis.
Awellrecognizedanddeeplyrootedaxiomringstrue:Properplanningandpreparationperformedpriorto
productionpreventspitifulpoorperformanceandpropelsproductivity.
WorksConsulted
1.AWSD1.1:2010,StructuralWeldingCodeSteel,AnnexI.Doral,Fla.:AmericanWeldingSociety.
LeadPhoto:Ahighintegrity,347stainlesssteelvalvecomponenthardfacedwithaCoCrWalloypowderappliedby
theplasmaarcweldingprocess.
Fig.1AhighqualityInconel600filletweldproducedwiththeGTAWprocess.
Fig.2Beforetraining,aweldermadethealuminumweldontheleftusingGTAW.Theweldermadetheweldon
therightafterbeinginstructedinweldingtechnique,weldbeadcharacteristics,weldparameters,andthe
importanceofbasemetal/weldjointcleanliness.
ThisarticleauthoredbyWilliamC.LaPlante,weldingengineer,andAWSCWI,CWEwithBPXA,
Anchorage/PrudhoeBay,Alaska.
Reprintedwithpermission:TheWeldingJournal.

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