Welder certificate validity as per ASME Section IX, AWS D1.1 and ISO 9606

Welder Qualification

Welding is a skill that is gained via hands-on experience throughout the years. Each welder or welding operator being used for fabrication by a organization need to meet the quality requirements calls for Welder/ Welding operator qualification via welding of test coupons. There are various codes and standards such as ASME Section IX, AWS D1.1 or D1.2 or ISO 9606 series but all these codes, standards and norms have one same objective: To ensure the soundness of the weld deposit by the welder. Another common thing in all of these code and standards is that the welders must remain engaged in the welding activities to keep his/her certification valid.

What Is the Difference Between a Code, Standard and Specification?‚Äč

The main objective of weld soundness (Weld free from any defects ideally) is fulfilled by meeting the code/ standard requirements by:

  1. Welding a test coupon (either plate/ pipe)
  2. Testing (verifying the weld soundness) the test coupon by volumetric NDT (UT or RT) or Bend test/ fracture test.
  3. If acceptable, writing the welder certificate & the welder is considered to be qualified within the range permitted by the code or standard.

The question is now ”How Long this Qualification is Valid?’ but first, lets understand the difference between a welder and welding operator.

Who is Welder or Welding Operator

Who is A Welder? Welder is a person (he or she) who performs a manual or semiautomatic welding operation while the welding operator is one who operates automatic welding equipment. So, welder is one who perform the manipulation of welding torch with his hand. The wire feed or electrode feeding can be manual or semi-automatic. But, when the situation change from manual operation of welding torch to automatic, he or she is regarded as Welding Operator.

Click here to know What is Manual, Semi-Automatic, Mechanized, and Automatic Welding

Validity of Welder/ Welding operator Certification as per ASME Section IX

As per the ASME Section IX, clause QW 322.1, the welder/ Welding operator qualification never expire but within the conditions specified in the code.

The performance qualification of a welder or welding operator shall remain valid, provided no greater than 6 months have passed since the qualified welding process was last used under the supervision and control of the qualifying or participating organization(s)”.

So, if a welder is performing welding activities within his qualification limit within every 6 month period and this activity is recorded via welder continuity, he or she remains qualified without any need of re-qualification.

Validity of Welder/ Welding operator Certification as per AWS D1.1

AWS D1.1, clause 6.2.3 Period of Effectiveness gives the details about welder certificate validity. As per this clause, the following conditions apply which are similar to ASME Section IX: Welders and Welding Operators. The welder’s or welding operator’s qualification as specified in this code shall be considered as remaining in effect indefinitely unless:
(1) the welder is not engaged in a given process of welding for which the welder or welding operator is qualified for a period exceeding six months, or
(2) there is some specific reason to question a welder’s or welding operator’s ability.

So, as per AWS D1.1 the welder certification never expire as long as welder continuity is maintained by the organization & there is no questions on welder’s ability to deposit sound welds. The same rules apply for the validity of tack welder certification and certification for tack welder remains valid as long as his/ her continuity is maintained.

Validity of Welder/ Welding operator Certification as per ISO 9606-1

The welder certification according to ISO 9606-1, clause 9 Period of Validity states that the initial certification can be extended by the revalidation of welder qualification. Revalidation means that the skills of the welder shall be periodically verified by one of the following methods:

a) Retesting of the welder for every 3 years.

b) Every 2 years, two welds made during the last 6 months of the validity period shall be tested by radiographic or ultrasonic testing or destructive testing and shall be recorded. The acceptance levels for imperfections shall be as specified in Clause 7. The weld tested shall reproduce the original test conditions except for thickness and outside diameter. These tests revalidate the welder’s qualifications for an additional 2 years.

c) A welder’s qualifications for any certificate shall be valid as long as it is confirmed according to 9.2 and provided all the following conditions are fulfilled:
–the welder is working for the same manufacturer for whom he or she qualified, and who is responsible for the manufacture of the product;
–the manufacturer’s quality programme has been verified in accordance with ISO 3834-2 or ISO 3834-3;
— the manufacturer has documented that the welder has produced welds of acceptable quality based on application standards; the welds examined shall confirm the following conditions: welding position(s), weld type (FW, BW), material backing (mb) or no material backing (nb).

So, as per ISO 9606-1, the welder need to be tested on regularly basis either a retest every 3 years or recording evidence (RT or UT record) of sound weld deposit in every 2 years or continuity within every 6 month period for company certified with ISO 3834 certification.

Click here to know about ISO 3834 certification and its requirements

Welder qualifications should be performed to better assure the weldment performs properly in service. A good welder should be a person as:

a)Responsible for quality craftsmanship of weldments.
b)Welder meets qualification requirements.
c)Welder understands welding procedure and requirements for the work.
d)Special training and mock-up weldments performed if required.
e)Welder understands the inspection hold-points.

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