ISO 3834 certification and its requirements

What is ISO 3834 certification?

ISO 3834 certification provides documented evidence of a manufacturer’s ability to manufacture minimum specified quality products by following a welding management system that meets the most stringent requirements. This internationally recognized standard (ISO 3834) defines the quality requirements for fusion welding of steel materials in the welding workshop and on the fabrication site.

Difference between ISO 3834 & ISO 9001 certification

An ISO 9001 certification satisfy documented evidence of the quality of a company’s quality management system or also called QMS, but it does not in any way illustrates the ability of company personnel or company to undertake “special processes”, such as welding of pipes or pressure vessels. Actually, ISO 9001 is used for welding quality tests but it doesn’t provide guidance to correct identified defects. ISO 3834 was developed to identify all factors that could affect the quality of welded products and which need to be controlled at all stages, before, during, and after welding. However, ISO 3834 can be used independently of ISO 9001 standard.

Importance of ISO 3834 certification for manufacturers

From the point of view that welding acc. to DIN EN ISO 9001 should be considered a specialist process whose outcome cannot be fully tested by subsequent testing of the product, the specifications from the DIN EN ISO 9000 series of standards had to be applied to welding engineering whilst at the same time taking the existing practice into account.
In the context of DIN EN ISO 9001, the requirements for “process control” with regard to welding are met when DIN EN ISO 3834 is implemented.
Irrespective of the importance of DIN EN ISO 3834 in connection with DIN EN ISO 9000, this standard can also be applied as a self-contained set of rules for quality assurance in welding plants.

A company certified to ISO 3834 as a certified manufacturer is more in demand than those without ISO 3834 certification thus help to ease the competition. An ISO 3834 certified company can get customers worldwide as this certification is demanded all over the world. Also, ISO 3834 optimizes the manufacturer’s welding capability and minimize the cost of NCR and their associated financial cost. an ISO 3834 certified company will have qualified welders, a systematic approach, and clear guidelines to smooth production.

What does ISO 3834 certification qualify?

As we have cleared the main objective of the ISO 3834 certification, and how it aligns with the manufacturer QMS, let us understand the points of audit during the certification process. As ISO 3834 is concerned only with welding activities, it needs to cover the following main 4 areas to have a successful audit:

At the audit stage, there are other ISO standards that have additional requirements for welding being the primary auditing area. These standards have been referenced in the ISO 3834 series at their respective clauses: For example, as given below:

  • For welding procedure qualification and mock-up qualification,ISO 15609 is used for WPS formats and ISO 15613 is used for mock-up qualification while ISO 15614 series is used for procedure qualification (WPS/ PQR).
  • ISO 15608 standards gives the details on the “system for grouping of metallic materials”.

ISO 3834 certifications also emphasize personnel training and thus benefit all persons involved in the auditing & certification process from the production supervisors, quality engineers, and higher management.

How to Select Quality Level required for ISO 3834

Unless specified in the application standard, the choice of welding quality requirements depends on the loading that the structure will be subject to and the degree of endangerment involved.
The basic principle is that the stringent requirements of Part 2 – “Comprehensive quality requirements” – should be related to strict safety requirements for the product or to components that are subject to significant loading.

A summary of the elements, as well as a comparison of the requirements of the respective verification levels, can be found in Appendix A of DIN EN ISO 3834:

Difference between ISO 3834-2, 3834-3 & 3834-4

ISO 3834-2 “Complete” Quality Requirements

For ISO 3834-2 certification, auditing points are:

  • Auditing of quality management (QM) system & its availability.
  • have a welding coordinator with extensive level knowledge as per ISO 14731. The authoirty and roles shall be clearly defined as per ISO 14731 for the welding coordinator/ supervisors.
  • Valid Welders certifications as per ISO 9606/ EN287 series. For mechanized and automatic welding processes, welding operators shall have valid certification as per EN 1418.
  • NDT staff shall be cerified as per ISO 9712/ EN 473.

ISO 3834-3 “Standard” Quality Requirements

For this level certification, except point 1 all other requirements as stated above are applicable.

  • QMS is the mandatory requirements. A sufficient documented and effectively applied quality-management manual (or it can be procedural and operational instructions and other specifications) must be available. Process implementation are reviewed during the audit.
  • Remaining point as stated above for ISO 3834-2 certification.

ISO 3834-4 “Basic” Quality Requirements

  • QMS is not required in this level.
  • A welding coordinator as per ISO 14731 is not mandatory.
  • Only basic level knowledge for welding shall be demonstrated.
  • Valid Welders certifications as per ISO 9606/ EN287 series. For mechanized and automatic welding processes, welding operators shall have valid certification as per EN 1418.

Benefits of ISO 3834 certifications for manufacturers

  • Shows the manufacturer capability to meet international regulations for welding being a special process.
  • Guarantee the product quality and reliability as per international standards.
  • Shows the effeictiveness, accurancy and quality of the implemented quality management system.
  • Improved welding capability and system for the manufacturer.
  • Reduce NCR cost, quality cost and rework cost.
  • Increase manufacturer reputation worldwide.

Requirements of ISO 3834 certification audit

A manufacturer needs to demonstrate the effective implementation of the requirements ISO 3834 during the audit stage. The auditor shall decide the audit point based on the certification level sought. The process is straightforward, as the audit follows the checklist path according to ISO 3834. The following are the main areas of the audit:

  • Review of requirements
  • Technical review
  • Sub-contracting
  • Welding personnel − Welders and welding operators − Welding coordination personnel
  • Inspection & testing personnel − Welding inspection personnel − Non-destructive testing personnel
  • Equipment − Production and testing equipment − Description of equipment − Suitability of equipment − New equipment − Equipment maintenance
  • Welding and related activities − Production planning − Welding procedure specifications (WPS) − Qualification of the welding procedures − Work instructions − Procedures for preparation and control of documents
  • Welding Consumables − Batch testing − Storage and handling
  • Storage of parent materials
  • Post-weld heat treatment
  • Inspection & testing − Inspection & testing before welding; Inspection & testing during welding; Inspection & testing after welding; Inspection & test status
  • Non-conformance and corrective actions
  • Calibration and validation of measuring, inspection and testing equipment
  • Identification & traceability
  • Quality records

Some relevant Quality records to provide:

  • The requirements review / technical review report ;
  • Materials control documents;
  • welding consumables control documents;
  • Welding procedure descriptions;
  • Equipment maintenance report ;
  • Welding Procedure Qualification Records;
  • Welders’ and welding operators’ qualification certificates;
  • The manufacturing plan ;
  • Manufacturing plan ;
  • Qualification certificates of the staff in charge of non-destructive testing and inspections;
  • Description of the heat treatment procedure and records relating to the heat treatment;
  • Non-destructive and destructive test procedures and reports;
  • Dimensional survey reports;
  • Repair records and non-conformity reports;
  • Other documents, as required.”

As required by contract and product liability, retained for 5 years minimum.

How to apply for ISO 3834 certification

Before you apply for the certification, a company assessment needs to be carried out to find the relevant ISO 3834 certification level. This can be a requirement from the client-side or could be based on the welding quality level produced by the company. Now, to apply to be assessed against the requirements of BS EN ISO 3834 (for non-rail welding), a company needs to find an ANB body that can carry out the auditing and certify the company.

Mandatory welding-related tasks in accordance with ISO 3834

A.1 Review of requirements

The following elements shall be considered in a review of requirements:
a) the product standard to be used, together with any supplementary requirements;
b) the capability of the manufacturer to meet the prescribed requirements.

A.2 Technical review

The following elements shall be considered in a technical review:
a) the parent material(s) specification and welded joint properties;
b) the joint location with relation to the design requirements;
c) quality and acceptance requirements for welds;
d) the location, accessibility, and sequence of welds, including accessibility for inspection and non-destructive testing;
e) other welding requirements, e.g. batch testing of consumables, ferrite content of weld metal, ageing, hydrogen content, permanent backing, use of peening, surface finish, weld profile;
f) the dimensions and details of joint preparation and completed weld.

A.3 Sub-contracting

With regard to sub-contracting, the suitability of any sub-contractor for welding fabrication shall be considered.
The organization (subcontractor) must have the appropriate certification: construction, railway construction, aerospace, military, reinforcement steel, aluminum, etc.

A.4 Welding personnel

With regard to welding personnel, the qualification of welders and welding operators, brazers, and brazing operators shall be considered.

A.5 Equipment

The following elements shall be considered with regard to equipment:
a) the suitability of welding and associated equipment;
b) auxiliaries and equipment supply, identification, and handling;
c) personal protective equipment and other safety equipment, directly associated with the applicable manufacturing process;
d) equipment maintenance;
e) equipment verification and validation.

A.6 Production planning

The following elements shall be considered with regard to production planning:
a) reference to the appropriate procedure specifications for welding and allied processes;
b) the sequence in which the welds are to be made;
c) environmental conditions (e.g. protection from wind, temperature, and rain);
d) the allocation of qualified personnel;
e) equipment for preheating and post-heat treatment, including temperature indicators;
f) the arrangement for any production test.

A.7 Qualification of the welding procedures

With regard to the qualification of the welding procedures, the method and range of qualifications shall be considered.

A.8 Welding procedure specifications

With regard to welding procedure specifications, the range of qualifications shall be considered.
a) base materials, welding process, welding position

A.9 Work instructions

With regard to work instructions, the issuing and use of work instructions shall be considered.

A.10 Welding consumables

The following elements shall be considered with regard to welding consumables:
a) compatibility;
b) delivery conditions;
c) any supplementary requirements in the welding consumable purchasing specifications, including the type of welding consumable inspection document;
d) the storage and handling of welding consumables.

A.11 Materials

The following elements shall be considered with regard to materials:
a) any supplementary requirements in the material purchasing specifications, including the type inspection document for the material;
b) the storage and handling of parent material;
c) traceability.
d) base material selection according to additional criteria (Ril 804, DIN Fb 103)

A.12 Inspection and testing before welding

The following elements shall be considered with regard to inspection and testing before welding:
a) the suitability and validity of welders’ and welding operators’ qualification certificates
b) the suitability of the welding procedure specification;
c) the identity of the parent material;
d) the identity of welding consumables;
e) joint preparation (e.g. shape and dimensions);
f) fit-up, jigging, and tacking;
g) any special requirements in the welding procedure specification (e.g. prevention of distortion);
h) the suitability of working conditions for welding, including the environment.
i) fabrication of working samples (resistance welding, welds with specific geometrical dimensions)

A.13 Inspection and testing during welding

The following elements shall be considered with regard to inspection and testing during welding:
a) essential welding parameters (e.g. welding current, arc voltage, and travel speed);
b) the preheating/interpass temperature;
c) the cleaning and shape of runs and layers of weld metal;
d) back gouging;
e) the welding sequence;
f) the correct use and handling of welding consumables;
g) control of distortion;
h) any intermediate examination (e.g. checking dimensions).

A.14 Inspection and testing after welding

The following elements shall be considered with regard to inspection and testing after welding:
a) the use of visual inspection (for completeness of welding, weld dimensions, shape);
b) the use of non-destructive testing;
c) the use of destructive testing;
d) the form, shape, tolerance, and dimensions of the construction;
e) the results and records of post-operation (e.g. post-weld heat treatment, ageing).

A.15 Post-weld heat treatment

With regard to post-weld heat treatment, performance in accordance with the specification shall be considered.
Flame straightening personnel (DIN EN 1090) must have appropriate work instructions at their
disposal and must be appointed by name

A.16 Non-conformance and corrective actions

With regard to non-conformance and corrective actions, the necessary measures and actions (e.g. weld repairs, re-assessment of repaired welds, corrective actions) shall be considered.

A.17 Calibration and validation of measuring, inspection and testing equipment

With regard to the calibration and validation of measuring, inspection, and testing equipment, the necessary methods and actions shall be considered.

A.18 Identification and traceability

The following elements shall be considered with regard to identification and traceability:
a) the identification of production plans;
b) the identification of routing cards;
c) the identification of weld locations in construction;
d) the identification of non-destructive testing procedures and personnel;
e) the identification of the welding consumable (e.g. designation, trade name, manufacturer of consumables
and batch or cast numbers);
f) the identification and/or traceability of parent material (e.g. type, cast number);
g) the identification of the location of repairs;
h) the identification of the location of temporary attachments;
i) traceability for fully mechanized and automatic welding units to specific welds;
j) traceability of welder and welding operators to specific welds;
k) traceability of welding procedure specifications to specific welds.

A.19 Quality records

With regard to quality records, the preparation and maintenance of the necessary records (including subcontracted activities) shall be considered.

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