Tips For Evaluating Weld Conditions In Your New Fabrication Operation
One of the biggest concerns for many industrial fabrication projects is ensuring the integrity of the welds required during production. If you’re new to fabrication and you’ve never had to inspect weld quality in the past, you may not be entirely sure what you’re looking for. While you may want to hire some quality assurance staff who specialize in this type of work, it’s also helpful to know what you’re looking for yourself. After all, the more informed you are, the more successful you can be. Here are some of the things to look for when it comes to weld inspection.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
For those who aren’t welders, it’s easy to glance at a weld and form opinions about its quality based on its appearance. Don’t fall victim to this mistake. The quality of a weld is about far more than looks alone. Even the smoothest weld surface could be hiding a complete lack of adhesion or weak seams. Just remember that you’ll want to stick with non-destructive weld testing since you’ll be checking welds on actual completed products. Non-destructive methods allow you to evaluate the weld without weakening it.
Basic Evaluations Are The Best Place To Start
The very first step in the process is to evaluate the entire process from start to finish. This allows you to see exactly what happens to your materials every step of the way. This is key to a comprehensive visual assessment.
Start by evaluating all of the raw materials. The metal surfaces should be clean and properly sized for the project. Make sure to verify the weight and thickness of the metals, as they should be similar. In addition, there shouldn’t be any visible flaws or defects in the metal that might interfere with the bond formation.
Check the actual welding process, too. While your welder is actively working, grab a safety hood, then observe the work. Look for straight bead lines that stay consistent throughout. There should be no visible discoloration or cracks. Finally, examine the finished product to be sure that the weld is consistent and there are no small surface cracks left behind.
Magnetic Testing Is Informative
Once a weld is complete, it’s impossible to see inside it. That means you need to have other testing means to identify problems beneath the surface. Magnetic testing can do just that. It relies on a series of probes on either side of the weld with a high amperage current running through them.
The current generates a magnetic field around the surface of the metal. Apply magnetic powder to the weld surface once that field is generated. If any of the powder sticks to the weld, that’s an indication of weld weakness. Contact a business, such as Checkpoint Welding & Fabrication, for more information.