Why do I need a Certified Welding Inspector?

Ok, so you say you’ve been welding for 20+ years and none of your welds have ever broken. 

I’ll never refute the value of 20+ years of experience in the welding business.  I think of the miles of weld produced, the thousands of welding electrodes consumed, the sheer number and variety of different projects, customers, and challenges.  Nothing can replace hands-on experience. 

And to make it that long in the business without ever having a weld break is – how should I say this – possible, but unlikely.  

Don’t believe me? Just spend a month with Element's failure analysis experts!

What does a CWI have to offer? 

Of course there’s the obvious – visual inspection of welds. 

CWIs are also knowledgeable in: 

  • Ensuring compliance with welding codes & contract requirements
  • Fundamentals of welding, joining, and cutting processes & equipment
  • Welding metallurgy (strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, fatigue life)
  • Weld defects, causes & remedies
  • Welding procedure and performance qualification testing
  • Welding procedure specifications (WPS’s)
  • Weld test documentation (PQR’s, WPQ’s)
  • Fundamentals of nondestructive testing (NDT) methods such as radiography, ultrasonic, penetrant, magnetic particle, eddy current, etc.
  • Welding symbols and drawings
Why do I need a CWI?

CWIs have the knowledge and experience to ensure all phases of a welding project are performed in accordance with applicable codes and specifications. 

Some contracts require certification

It’s no surprise that many of the high-profile industries (Aerospace, Defense, Oil & Gas, Construction, Energy and Transportation) require welding contractors to either employ or contract CWIs to oversee welding activities.  In these industries, risks are high and the consequences of a weld failure can be catastrophic.  A CWI will ensure adherence to all welding code requirements, minimizing the chances of weld failure in the field. 

Be sure to engage a CWI far in advance of the start of production welding activities. The CWI’s responsibilities are comprised of pre-production setup and testing activities, including welding procedure qualification and welder performance qualification testing. These activities may require several weeks to complete and must be reviewed and approved prior to the initiation of the client’s production welding. 

It makes good quality sense.

A few years ago, I heard of a seasoned and respected engineer who described welding as a “controlled defect.” 

It’s a cynical way of putting it, but there is undeniable wisdom in the metaphor.  Few manufacturing processes have the innumerable variables that welding has: arc voltage, arc current, polarity, travel speed, wire feed speed, joint geometry, position, base metal chemistry, filler metal chemistry, shielding gas type & flow rate, tensile strength, hardness, ductility, fracture toughness – just to name a few.  With so many interdependent variables, it is imperative that welding quality control be scientific. 

The good news is the welding codes have established this science, and Element’s CWIs know how to apply this science to your business. Additionally, Element’s CWIs are experienced in material testing & weld failure evaluations – combining the unique understandings coming from both the engineering and welding industry. 

A code-compliant welding program ensures predictable weld quality through systematic control of variables. 

It makes good business sense

It’s good business to have quality-controlled manufacturing processes. Poorly controlled welding processes result in frequent rework.  Rework squanders resources (materials, manpower, equipment), which zaps efficiency and increases costs.

Element’s CWIs can help you systematically eliminate variability in your welding processes, increasing organizational efficiency, decreasing manufacturing costs, and allowing you to do more with the resources you have.

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