Welding; the act of fusing two materials together. On the face of it, it sounds like a simple operation.

But, the reality is drastically different.

Welding is used in a wide variety of industries, from the simplest of manufacturing to the most advanced of marine or energy projects.

And, in almost every case, those welds have a critically important job to do, with the structural integrity of wider assets/components being dependent upon competent, safe welds.

That’s why every business like yours should avail itself of the very best proactive and reactive weld testing and inspection services.

Why are welds important?

As a fundamental fabrication process, welds play an integral role in the overall integrity of structures and assets.

To be more precise, quality welds ensure the ability of seafaring vessels and offshore structures to withstand the harsh and hazardous environments in which they operate.

Furthermore, structures or assets containing welds with large numbers of inherent defects have lower strength, are more prone to corrosion and have a greatly reduced fatigue life, resulting in failures that can cause downtime, loss of earnings, injury and even death.

Welds are important! So it pays (literally), to work with the very best NDT experts to assess the integrity of your welds.

Proactive weld inspection

There are numerous reasons why you should consider conducting proactive weld inspections.

Yes, in many instances welders are able to inspect their own work (for example, if they have completed the CSWIP Visual Welding Inspector course), but there are many reasons to call in outside inspectors on a proactive basis.

These reasons include:

  • Poor interpretation of standards by the welder.
  • The use of incorrect welding techniques.
  • Use of procedures that are not fit for purpose.
  • Incorrect training initially may result in substandard welds.
  • The use of an incorrect calibration block.

It’s for these reasons and more that many businesses choose not to rely on self-inspection alone, but choose the services of The Lab to provide proactive reassurance on weld quality and standards.

Aside from the potential issues around self-inspection, there are a number of other reasons to conduct proactive weld inspections. These include; to ensure that design plans have been followed (or that work aligns with the specification), checking the overall integrity of a structure or asset, or to prevent the downtime of an asset (which can have significant cost implications).

In short, proactive weld inspections should be viewed as an investment that will ensure long–term cost savings.

Reactive weld inspection

Of course, even with proactive inspections, the worst can still happen with welds failing due to fatigue, subjection to abnormal loads or forces and more.

When a weld does fail, establishing causation is vital. Weld failures can have serious consequences, including both legal and financial repercussions. Disputes over the quality of welds can be multifaceted and complicated - so it’s important to have a multidisciplinary team of experts on hand to argue your case.

Should you experience a weld failure, The Lab’s range of failure investigation services can get you the answers you need.

Our failure investigation services include:

  • Independent investigation into the cause of a failure.
  • Laboratory testing of the failed weld (if possible).
  • Forensic engineering.
  • Expert witness testimony for insurance, accident investigation and product liability.

The Lab’s NDT team and capabilities

As one of the North’s leading NDT laboratories, The Lab is home to a diverse and experienced team of NDT professionals.

Our team includes Level 3 NDT personnel trained in penetrant testing (PT), magnetic particle testing (MT), electromagnetic testing (ET), and alternating current field measurement (ACFM®) ultrasonic (UT) and phased array (PA) testing.

The Lab’s Level 3 NDT personnel also have extensive experience in the forensic analysis of quality systems, ascertaining their level of conformity to the relevant governing standards.

Our Level 3 NDT personnel are ably supported by a team of highly experienced Level 2 NDT personnel.

The Lab’s NDT team is also able to draw upon the experience and expertise of the wider Brookes Bell group, which includes PhDs in metallurgy and more.

The Lab’s weld inspection techniques

As one of the UK’s leading NDT labs, The Lab conducts myriad weld testing methods, covering all aspects of surface and subsurface weld and joint fabrication testing and inspection.

The weld testing inspection techniques we regularly deploy include:

  • Visual testing.
  • Magnetic particle testing.
  • Liquid penetrant testing.
  • Ultrasonic testing.
  • Phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) - an advanced ultrasonic method that can detect subsurface defects. It can also be used to analyse defect morphology and for A/B testing.
  • Full matrix capture/total focusing method.
  • Time of flight diffraction testing (TOFD) - this is another advanced ultrasonic method which is used for critical sizing.
  • Eddy current array (ECA) - a highly sensitive surface inspection method, ECA can inspect surfaces without the need to remove protective barrier coatings.
  • Alternating current field measurement (ACFM®) - as ECA, but will work through thicker coatings.
  • Tangential eddy current array (TECA).

Our capabilities include the use of the latest inspection and imaging techniques to display large and often complicated data sets in an accessible and meaningful way.

Each of these weld inspection techniques has unique benefits and characteristics. For example, consider eddy current array and alternating current field measurement. These techniques can not only identify faults within welds, but can determine their depth, providing a far more detailed characterisation of the issue.

As for detecting and determining sub-surface issues with welds, volumetric inspection techniques such as phased array ultrasonic testing, ultrasonic testing and time of flight diffraction testing are able to accurately determine the size of a fault and how far it penetrates the metal.

Recording and reporting

The Lab’s weld inspection techniques can be accompanied by full digital recordings of the inspection. These reports, which can utilise a number of imaging techniques, can be especially useful if you are engaged in litigation over a weld failure.

Further, The Lab is able to provide comparative reports using A/B tests. This additional contextual information (via phased array ultrasonic testing), can allow you to establish what could have happened versus what actually happened.

Where The Lab’s weld inspection services can be deployed

The Lab is able to conduct on-site weld inspection and testing in a wide variety of settings and industries.

These include (but are not limited to):

  • Maritime - marine vessels.
  • Oil and gas - including the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.
  • Petrochemical and chemical industries.
  • Manufacturing.
  • Infrastructure and construction.
  • Transport.
  • Renewable energy - including wind turbines (onshore and offshore).

The Lab: your go-to weld inspection experts

Whether you want to proactively inspect welds or reactively investigate why a weld has failed, choose The Lab.

Backed by an extensive and well-equipped forensic laboratory, we are able to undertake detailed, well-resourced and comprehensive weld inspections - providing the answers you need.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

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