To most people, welding may be seen as just one of those processes that happens when mechanical things are made. Wikipedia describe it as follows ‘Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals, by causing fusion.’
To some, welding may even be an art form. Watching an experienced and talented welder working is an amazing sight to behold. Personally, I could watch it for hours (and do).
But at Garmendale, welding is more of a science. It needs to be consistently done to absolute and exact tolerances every single time, because with a lot of the work we do, lives depend on it.
All of our welders have to work to what are known as Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS) and these are subject to very strict Welding Procedure Qualification Records (WPQR) from BSEN 15614-1 2017. All very complicated and all very important. All welders have to understand and work to this standard.
The individual WPQR for any job is determined during the design process by the Engineering Designer to ensure compliance, so that whatever is being produced can be done by the team and their level of training.
Beyond this, the individual welders are also individually tested to mainatin their welder approvals. So every three years our team have to go through the testing process which allows them to weld to BSEN ISO 9606-1 2017.
The test requires them to weld using MIG, TIG and Stick welding on all sorts of thicknesses of materials and varying weld leg lengths, allowing them to weld to qualified WPQR’s within the welders qualification range.
When the team have completed their tests, the resultant work is then sent off to be tested both mechanically and for hardeness with destructive tests (ie they cut them up and test them).
We have always believed that to produce the best work, we have to invest in training and we hold 19 of these WPQR certificates within the business, which is a lot by anyone’s standards.
And then comes MPI Non-Destructive testing
So even though the welders are constantly tested for their work, the work they produce is also constantly being scrutinised too.
We work to another standard BSEN 17369 2009 which is the standard for non-destructive testing. Depending on the requirements of the job, we often test a minimum 20% of a finished job. We normally exceed this and often test over 25%, just to remove any doubt at all.
MPI or Magnetic Particle Inspection is a very simple looking test that ensures the actual welds on the finished job are up to the fourth standard in this blog post, BSEN ISO 5817 2014 Level B. Weirdly, Level B is the highest level achievable and there is no higher standard.
MPI works by spraying the welds with a white paint that highlights all of the joints. You then introduce iron filings and apply a powerful magnet to the whole area. What this does is cause the filings to form around any imperfections or cracks. This black line of iron filings shows anywhere there may be an issue. It’s incredibly simple but hugely effective.
Five Chassis having just been MPI tested and proudly displaying their white paint
So that’s the inside track on welding to world-class standards. And here’s a short video of a few of our guys hard at work. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as I do.