The quarterly newsletter from Phoenix National Laboratories that focuses on quality, testing technology, and inspection trends
Due to high demand for our services in the Southwest, particularly Arizona, we have grown out of our current laboratory space! Our current lab facility of 10,000 square feet, will increase to 30,000 square feet with an additional 10,000 sq. ft. area for future expansion. The new facility will allow for additional services including a training room, 15 weld booths, full metallographic laboratory, and a fully shielded dedicated radiography room with pull-through semi-truck access. We will have a large yard and over 100 parking spaces - enough parking for our fleet of vehicles as well as the many clients and visitors we receive. Our plans have been submitted to the City of Phoenix for review. Once approved we plan to break ground immediately and are hoping for a 2022 completion date.
Rendering of PNL's new building
Working in extremely high temperatures and humidity creates a threat to our health. Heat stress is a condition that can lead to heat exhaustion which could escalate to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition. The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time. Symptoms include cool moist skin with goose bumps, heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue, weak, rapid pulse, low blood pressure upon standing, muscle cramps, nausea and headache. If you think you’re experiencing heat exhaustion: stop all activity and rest, move to a cooler place, drink water and a 1:4 ratio of an electrolyte drink to water. People who are not used to such hot temperatures are especially susceptible-it can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
Be careful in the heat
PNL is leading the cutting edge of technology in Tank Inspections! Our tools and techniques for examination now include Trimble RealWorks TX6 Laser Scanning Software for Surveying/Modeling and MFE Mark IV Edge Scan MFL Manual and Mapping Software.
We are pleased to announce that we have added Tank Design Engineering to our services!
The RealWorks TX6 Software sets new standards for performance in high-speed collection of 3D data utilizing a laser scanning device and software. The Trimble RealWorks Advanced Tank Edition features highly automated efficient work flow to thoroughly analyze complex datasets and create industry-standard inspection deliverables, automatically detecting out of tolerance areas and producing reports according to API 653 Standard guidelines.
MFL Manual Mapping Software System (Magnetic Flux Leakage) data is gathered via a mapping apparatus swept over the tank floor detecting underfloor corrosion for above ground tanks. Magnetic Flux Leakage is a magnetic method of nondestructive testing that is used to detect product side and soil side corrosion and pitting in steel storage tank bottoms. The basic principle is that a powerful magnet is used to magnetize the steel. At areas where there is corrosion or missing metal, the magnetic flux field “leaks” from the steel. In an MFL tool, a magnetic detector is placed between the poles of the magnet to detect the leakage field. Analysts interpret the chart recording of the leakage field to identify damaged areas and manually verify with ultrasonic and visual methods to determine the remaining wall thickness.
Our technicians utilize a range of techniques including: Trimble RealWorks TX6 Laser Scanning Software, MFE Mark IV Edge Scan MFL Manual and Mapping Software, Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing/Automated Ultrasonic Crawler, General UTT Testing, Radiography, Visual Examination, Repair Welding Procedures and Detailing, Pressure Testing/Vacuum Box Testing, Corrosion Mapping, Magnetic Particle Examination, Holiday Testing and Coating Thickness. The advantages of using PNL services include our highly skilled, experienced technicians, state-of-the-art equipment, 24/7 emergency needs, and PNL’s 3 PE Stamps in the State of Arizona.
Watch the video to the right of the Mark IV Tank Floor Scanner in action with Matt Sorce (Project Manager of Advanced Nondestructive Testing), Shaun Brown (NDT Technician), and Sasha Mostovyi (NDT Technician).
Welding Qualifications: Welding Procedure Specifications and Welder Performance Qualifications
When tasked with performing weld inspection on a project, after reviewing the plans and specifications, the first two things any welding inspector should be asking for are:
Both documents are required by code, including AWS D1.1, D1.2, D1.3, D1.4, D1.5, D1.6, D1.8; ASME Sections I, III, VIII, and B31 codes, API 650, 1104 codes, etc. Virtually all welding is to be performed in accordance with written welding procedures by certified welders. I cannot recall a time where a construction project didn’t require these qualifications. In fact, there are usually multiple codes referenced on the construction plans. As an example, for a building where structural steel is being erected and steel decking is being installed, the structural steel welding is governed by AWS D1.1 while the steel deck welding is governed by AWS D1.3. Each requires separate WPS’s.
What is the purpose of these documents?
The WPS is what demonstrates that a welding company is capable of producing sound welds using a specific welding process such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), sometimes referred to as “stick” welding. Other common processes used for construction include Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW), Submerged Arc Welding (SAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). Each welding process has a particular set of variables that must be stated on the WPS in order to be qualified. These variables are listed in the referencing code and are called essential variables. In some cases a Procedure Qualification Record (PQR) coupon must be welded following the essential variables and then be tested prior to using the WPS for production welding. Another key function of the WPS is that it gives the welder a written instruction on which weld process, equipment, and consumables (electrodes, flux, and gasses) are to be used and how to set up the welding machine for the application to be welded. AWS D1.1:2020 Clause 7.5 requires that welding be in conformance with a written WPS and that the WPS be readily available and followed during performance of welding. The other welding fabrication codes referenced earlier in this article have similar requirements. In addition, each manufacturer or contractor is responsible for preparing the written WPS and conducting any testing required for each WPS to be used in production. It should be noted that there may be several WPS’s in use on a project and each is required to be properly prepared and used. Once a WPS is established it does not need to be re-qualified unless there are changes in the essential variables. Many welding contractors maintain the WPS’s they use regularly.
Welder Performance Qualification (WPQ) tests are specifically devised to determine a welder’s, welding operators, or tack welder’s ability to produce sound welds using a particular welding process and filler material in the positions, diameters, and thicknesses to be welded during production. Each welder welding on a project must be certified to make production welds for each weld process and code application. This may require multiple WPQ’s for each welder. PNL offers over four hundred different welder qualification tests to cover a multitude of codes and welding applications. Once a welder passes the required tests, a certification is issued. The certification must list the welding process, electrode classification, positions tested, diameters and thicknesses qualified. Certifications are valid indefinitely unless:
To verify the welder’s period of effectiveness the welding contractor needs to maintain a continuity log for each welder showing dates and processes welded. Alternatively, a welder can perform a continuity test at PNL every 6 months to show continued effectiveness. This needs only be a simple fillet weld using the process qualified in any position followed by a visual or break test.
If the period of effectiveness is not maintained or the welder is making questionable welds, the welder must be re-tested and re-certified.
Proper preparation and qualification of WPS’s and WPQ’s requires expertise and knowledge of the welding processes and equipment as well as the codes and standards specified by contract documents. Phoenix National Laboratories, Inc. has this expertise and can provide assistance in preparing WPS’s, WPQ’s, and testing the welds, as well as providing training and guidance to welder’s for specific applications.
Jared Keister (Project Manager of Welding Technology)
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