Original Date: 04/06/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Welder Certification Program
The Anniston Army Depot’s (ANAD’s) Welder Certification Program is an extensive qualification process that evaluates and certifies individuals’ knowledge and skills of welding before they can be accepted to perform any type of welding functions at the Depot.
Prior to the Welder Certification Program, persons with minimal skills and knowledge of welding could be classified as a welder. The integrity of the welds was not seriously challenged because of built-in safety factors. At times, the wrong filler metals were used, but still the welds were acceptable. Many welders were entrenched in their own skills and lacked a strong knowledge of welding science.
In 1994, driven by workload changes from the more forgiving heavy metals to more sophisticated and complex metals and a larger variety of vehicles, subassemblies, and components, the integrity of welds started to be challenged. The Welder Certification Program was developed which required that all welders at ANAD be certified. The certification assured that the welders possessed the required skills and knowledge to perform high integrity welds. To achieve certification, all welders were required to meet extensive job qualifications; be experienced journeymen or have graduated from a trade school; pass a written test; demonstrate their knowledge and use of official American Welding Society welding symbols and definitions; be able to read welding drawings; and follow weld procedure specifications. The program required that welders demonstrate their skills by welding a series of test plates which were visually inspected and radiographed for welding integrity. Applicants are either rejected or accepted, and have only one chance at re-entering the qualification tests. The criteria is sufficiently stringent so only top welders are accepted. Ninety percent of new applicants do not pass the criteria, and are therefore not accepted for certification. Refresher training is provided by ANAD to certified welders as required.
ANAD now has a world-class welding capability that consists of 130 certified welders who hold 311 active certifications. Each certification is program specific. Each welder holds at least one certificate, and some welders hold as many as six. 177 certifications involve aluminum and steel armor (e.g., tanks, armor vehicles), and 134 certifications involve support materials (e.g., subassemblies, small parts). Welders follow a Weld Procedure Specification book to ensure a good weld. All certified welders are trained as inspectors and issued an American Welding Society inspection kit, qualifying them to inspect and certify their own work. ANAD is capable of welding in accordance with 18 separate standards: military, aerospace, ground support, industry, British, and German.
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