The Phoenix metro has developed into a mecca for new construction due to exponential growth amid flourishing semiconductor manufacturers, their supplier industries, residential building, technology infrastructure and the ensuing population growth! This has caused a huge increase in requests for our quality testing services. This trend coincides with the significant reduction of highly skilled welders in the United States and abroad.
The nation finds itself desperately short of welders. According to the American Welding Society (AWS), the U.S. welder shortage will reach a deficit of 450,000 workers by 2024. The shortage is due to a combination of the retirement of skilled welders, without a younger pool of welders to restore itself. The current generation has not perceived the trades, particularly welding, as important, worthy and vital work which yields a rewarding career trajectory and prosperous livelihood. This has been addressed recently at the secondary education level with the advancement of high school trade schools. Notwithstanding, the current crisis emphasizes the highly skilled nature of the welding industry loss. Due to a declining skilled welding workforce, the critical need for accredited 3rd party quality inspection is required more than ever before.
Over the last 6 months, we have seen over 50% of welder coupons failing radiography requirements either from testing at PNL or submitted by clients that administered their own test. The majority of welders who take qualification tests claim to be trained and/or experienced in welding. However, we have found many welder training programs do not prepare the individual to pass a welder qualification test for x-ray quality acceptance. This clearly shows a need for further immediate training of welders in order to pass qualification tests.
In order to proactively manage this situation, an increase in welder training programs will be instrumental to the reduction of future weld rejection both at the qualification level and in the field. Phoenix National Labs offers customized welder training courses in order to help welders pass qualification tests. We instruct welders in proper joint preparation, fit-ups, welding technique, machine settings for root, hot, and fill passes, bead sequencing, defect avoidance, and proper capping. These initiatives can often improve a welder’s skills in one to two days, can be facilitated in groups of up to four and as many as six welders-however, we recommend four welders for optimum effectiveness.
The advantage of working with PNL, is that we are by far the Southwest’s premier supplier of expertise for steel and welding testing, including complete welding qualification services; structural steel, piping, tanks, and vessel inspections; as well as high strength bolting, epoxied anchors, spray applied fireproofing, and firestopping special inspections. We will assure that all steel inspections are in accordance with welding codes and standards. Our technicians are highly qualified and certified in welding inspection and steel services. In addition, most of our inspectors are experienced welders.
If you are interested in our welding technology services:
Contact Jared Keister at email@example.com
Highly skilled welder at work
The National Weather Service in Phoenix is predicting a very wet and active monsoon season for Arizona in 2022. AZ Central reported that there is nearly a 70% chance that the state will reach near or above normal precipitation this year. Typically, monsoon season is the months of July, August, and September, but can start as early as June, which happened this year. That's when afternoon thunderstorms are most frequent and severe. Every day it is wise to check the daily forecast before leaving home, especially for workers who work outside on construction projects. Check the weather, especially the surrounding mountains because the water flows rapidly from the heights of the mountainous areas outward to a 50-mile radius.
These extreme weather conditions pose a threat to not only the public but to businesses necessitating employers to provide a safe working environment to employees. As such, employers should prepare for the hazards associated with adverse weather conditions that may require special facilities and safety equipment being provided to employees, or in some instances, work stoppage to ensure the safety and health of workers. Wet weather and high wind conditions can pose a greater threat to employees working in the construction, mining, oil and gas, and shipbuilding industries. For instance, workers in the construction industry are bound to work in open spaces, at heights, with electrical equipment and metals, in excavation areas and trenches, and also handle hazardous materials as part of their work tasks, thereby exposing them to a myriad of safety hazards. The scope discussed in this feature will focus on working and driving during heavy rain, flooding of washes, dust storms, and crane operations.
When driving during monsoon season your vehicle checklist should include windshield wipers/fluid, tire pressure, oil check, and coolant level. Keeping an American Red Cross safety kit is advised. ADOT tips for driving comprise of slowing down and keeping your distance, braking slowly, driving in the tracks of others, not tailgating, and keeping the headlights on.
The number one thunderstorm related killer are flash floods with most flash floods deaths occurring in vehicles. Moving water two to three feet deep will carry away most vehicles. During nighttime hours road conditions and water depth can be hard to assess. When approaching barricades and signs warning “Do not enter flooded wash” signage, the motto “turn around don’t drown” is an axiom prevalent in the Arizona media. This will also protect a potential rescuer. It can be sunny one minute and suddenly the washes are filling up; so, it doesn’t have to be raining where you are. Beware of downed power lines to avoid electrocution. Planning alternative routes in advance is a good idea.
A dust storm is a wall of dust and debris that is blown into an area by strong winds from thunderstorms. The wall of dust created by a dust storm can be miles long and several thousand feet high. The southwest region’s flat land without barriers and exceptional drought creates ideal conditions for dust storms. Dust storms and their lingering effect can be hazardous for several reasons- a dust storm’s initial wall of dust and debris can arrive suddenly and can catch people by surprise. Dust storms can make it difficult to see when you’re driving a car and can lead to car accidents.
If you are driving during a dust storm you should: pull your vehicle off on the shoulder, put the vehicle in park, and turn off all lights to avoid being rear ended, so "pull aside and stay alive."
Thousands of cranes are used in the United States every day There are manufacturer guidelines for crane operations during high winds. OSHA prohibits operating cranes in winds stronger than 20 mph.
Construction operation which includes scaffolds, working at heights, working in open spaces, working with electrical equipment, working with heavy equipment and machinery, working in excavations and trenches, and working in confined spaces are all hazards associated with unfavorable weather which OSHA guidelines address. Examples of OSHA recommendations include Welding: Most codes and standards prohibit welding in inclement weather. Also, coating applications: prohibit applications during wet or windy conditions.
By preparing in advance for the coming monsoon by knowing where the floodplains are located, driving cautiously, checking weather forecasts, obeying signage, following vehicle safety initiatives and maintaining awareness you can stay safe throughout the season.
Approaching wall of dust in Arizona monsoon
PNL has recently upgraded its Ultrasonics Phased Array Technology to include three additional Omniscan X3 Scanners. Olympus now dba as Evident Scientific, Inc. has improved its advanced technology nondestructive testing equipment significantly enhancing the interpretation of weld and steel structures which PNL provides in its (ITR) Inspection Testing Reports.
Conventional UT (Ultrasonics Testing) utilizes one single element, it pulses and just receives. Phased Array (PAUT) contains many elements, it pulses at different sequences to build an array of angles and then receives.
Phased array ultrasonics (UTPA) is an innovative method of ultrasonic testing that has applications in medical and industrial nondestructive testing. Common applications are to noninvasively examine the heart or to find flaws in manufactured materials such as welds. Single-element (non-phased array) probes, known technically as monolithic probes, emit a beam in a fixed direction. To test or interrogate a large volume of material, a conventional probe must be physically scanned (moved or turned) to sweep the beam through the area of interest. In contrast, the beam from a phased array probe can be focused and swept electronically without moving the probe. The beam is controllable because a phased array probe is made up of multiple small elements, each of which can be pulsed individually at a computer-calculated timing. The term phased refers to the timing, and the term array refers to the multiple elements. Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing is based on principles of wave physics, which evolved into an application of nondestructive quality testing.
Phased Array Uses in Industry
Phased array is widely used for nondestructive testing (NDT) in several industrial sectors, for welds, such as construction, pipelines, and power generation. This method is used to detect discontinuities i.e., cracks or flaws and thereby determine component quality. Due to the possibility to control parameters such as beam angle and focal distance; this technique is very efficient regarding the defect detection and speed of testing. Apart from detecting flaws in components, phased array can also be used for wall thickness measurements in conjunction with corrosion testing. Phased array can be used for the following industrial purposes: inspection of welds, thickness measurements, corrosion inspection.
The Evident Scientific Omniscan MX3 offers advantages over the MX2 model:
If you are interested in our Advanced NDT Technology, please email Matt Sorce, Advanced NDT Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Olympus MX3 Omniscan instrument
PNL Tech Talk provides insights into the testing and inspection industry from a technician's viewpoint and gives a close-up look at the day-to-day life working at PNL. It may include interviews with one of our technicians, or vendors who support our services, or an editorial written by one of our technicians.
This Quality Examiner edition of Tech Talk presents a roundtable conversation with Evident Scientific, Inc. (previously Olympus) regarding their new MX3 Phased Array Flaw Detector instruments. On board are Kyle Stelzer, Technical Sales Representative, Brandon Reitz, Senior Applications Engineer, and PNL’s Matt Sorce, Advanced NDT Project Manager.
After successful completion of a weld qualification test, weld coupons must be tested in accordance with the required qualification code and/or job specification. Testing can include visual examination (VT), destructive bend, break, tensile, and macro-etch testing and/or nondestructive volumetric examinations such as radiography (x-ray) or ultrasonics, or a combination of any of these tests. Weld coupons must pass visual examination prior to any destructive or nondestructive tests. For butt welds, the two most common tests are bend testing and radiography, either or both of which may be required. Often, there is a choice between the two methods. When this is the case, the question becomes: Which method should be chosen? Table 1 below shows some code references, applications, and required tests for welder qualifications. It should be noted that tests on PQR coupons used to qualify a Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) are different and not part of this discussion.
As you can see in Table 1, there are several instances where either X-ray or bend testing weld coupons is permitted. When these situations occur, we recommend the following:
If no preference has be specified PNL will perform radiography if allowed by the specified code. It should be noted that there are several instances where radiography is not allowed, specifically for welds made using the GMAW-S (short circuiting transfer) weld process.
As discussed above, where NDE is performed on production welding it is advantageous to perform NDE on the welder qualification coupons. This assures that the welder has the ability to make welds that will pass the production NDE, which reduces the likelihood of production weld failures. Ideally, if allowed by the code, the same NDE specified for production weld testing would be used on the qualification coupons. This may not always be possible though. For example, the AWS D1.1 code does not allow ultrasonic examination of welder qualification coupons, unless a PQR is used to qualify the welder, which is expensive. In many AWS D1.1 structural applications the productions welds are specified to be ultrasonically examined. It’s still better to radiograph the qualification plates for this circumstance even though ultrasonic examination could show indications that are not detectable using radiography. A disadvantage of radiographing the qualification coupon is that there is typically a much higher rate of failure over bend testing especially for slag or porosity type discontinuities since the entire weld is evaluated whereas bend testing evaluates a much smaller weld section, especially for material over 3/8". For a 1" thick AWS D1.1 qualification coupon the weld length evaluated for radiography is 3.5" while the length evaluated for bend testing is only 3/4". Because of this, the weld coupon that passes the bend test may contain volumetric defects that wouldn’t pass radiography.
Cost of bend testing versus radiography is about the same except for where API 1104 qualification is required. In that case radiography is typically much less costly.
To see a full list of our welding qualification services, click below to find out more.
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