In order to ensure welding qualification tests are carried out correctly, personnel are appointed to witness welder/welding operator and/or welding procedure specification (WPS) qualification tests being performed.
These tests involve welding and subsequent mechanical testing , and the personnel appointed need to be competent for the tasks they are expected to perform.
A typical term used in welder qualification standards for the person witnessing the tests is the “examiner”. Irrespective of the terminology used, the role is to ensure the tests are performed in accordance with the requirements, and that the necessary records are produced and verified as being correct.
A person witnessing the tests may or may not be the same person or persons carrying out visual examination, mechanical testing or NDT. The task of witnessing welding tests is independent and may be separate to these particular functions.
The criteria for welder qualification tests, production or pre-production tests may be set out in national, regional and international standards or in client specifications. Such documents normally contain details of the welding coupons to be produced, the testing to be performed and the acceptance criteria for the tests.
The person witnessing the tests is expected to have access to and be familiar with the necessary testing requirements when the qualification commences.
Personnel acting as examiners in welder qualification tests should have received sufficient training to enable them to perform the tasks in a competent and professional manner. Personnel with the welding supervisor qualification listed in 1554.1:2014 meet these requirements. Corresponding training is available from HERA.
There are a number of tasks an examiner should undertake in order to ensure a satisfactory qualification test. Where other personnel are involved in any of the tasks detailed below, measures should be taken to ensure the material welded is the material tested, that the test results on the certificates are accurate and that the range of qualification is correct.
Personnel examining qualification tests are expected to take notes or copy activity records in order to verify results in qualification packages are true. These tasks may include run by run welding parameter records in welding procedure qualification tests.
The specific tasks that need to be considered by personnel witnessing qualification include the following:
- Before welding: checking the suitability of WPS issued to the welder and compliance of the test conditions with the WPS, identification of parent materials and welding consumables;
- During welding: checking that the welding conditions e.g. welding current, polarity, arc voltage, travel speed, etc., and weld sequence are in accordance with the WPS and the requirements of the applicable standard e.g. stop/start positions, repairs, time to complete the test etc.;
- After welding: ensure that the test place is correctly identified, all tests have been carried out; verify test visual examination reports, verifying the range if qualification authorise the certificate.
The International Institute of Welding IIW has published detailed Guidance for Personnel Witnessing Welding Qualification Tests SC-Qual-144.