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Welding Software

Welding Software

Welding Software

(OP)
Hi,
Can anyone share their experiences, thoughts and insights on welding software such as the solutions offered below for small, medium and/ large organisations in single or multi locations and different industries / weld codes?

I work in a large Oil & Gas Texan based organisation and we primarily work to ASME IX but also to ISO, AWS, and API 1104 etc and have locations in every continent. We have some locations using CEI ProWrite, some using TWI Software, a couple using other solutions and most facilities without access to software or on-site welding engineer.

RE: Welding Software

None of the above.

If you are a career Welding Engineer I encourage you to develop your own system in the same way that PV designers develop spreadsheets for their standard calcs. Save on license fees.

I've used XL spreadsheets for WPSs and PQRs for many years and the forms have not changed much in that time. Use QW-483 (now deleted from Section IX) as your model; boxing out the information helps the readability. Trying to do it in Word is an exercise in futility; you will be endlessly reformatting tables that just don't want to stay where you set them. (Another reason among many I refuse to pay for any productivity-sucking MS product.)

I've recently reviewed WPSs made on TWI software and the readability is a disaster, even accounting for the fact that European and offshore welding procedures tend to present information in list form.

Unless you have > 200 procedures, you will probably have no trouble remembering them as the WE. XL has some database capability, though I've never used it.

Many people also make the mistake of trying to encode too much information into the WPS number; it quickly becomes crazy-making. PQRs should be given simple 2 or 3 digit numbers - you won't forget them, and reviewers will thank you.


"If you don't have time to do the job right the first time, when are you going to find time to repair it?"

RE: Welding Software

I agree on using tailored-to-fit-the-company spreadsheets. Don't stuff information in the PQR designation, however depending on the application, it might be interesting to give the WPS'ses meaningful names (regarding primary essential variables, but there's no added value in giving all details, e.g. naming them FW-PB-3to6mm). Based on the designation of the WPS though, I can tell according to what standard the WPS is qualified, the welding process, and the material group. But no more than that.

I can look up faster than any software, the information I need in my own spreadsheets, on my phone, on the go, ...

If you don't have dedicated WE's on some of the sites, what ionformation do you need to be accessible there? IMHO, no point of giving PQR's to those sites, as they won't know what to do with them or how to extract information from them.
Invest your time in a good WPS template, that is complete, readable, gives perhaps some extra info on top of the required variables (like CTWD, method of cleaning, ...), with a limited range each (no point in a single WPS from 3 to 40 mm), with all necessary informtaion clearly communicated to the welders, and a single spreadsheet with a summary table of all WPS'ses with filters so that the users can easily sort out the WPS that they need.

RE: Welding Software

(OP)
Thank you for your advice.

I work in a Fortune 500 company in the O&G industry. We have manufacturing, repair, shipyard and R&D facilities in S.America, N.America, Africa, Europe and Asia. We weld many types of material grades on many types of equipment (pressure control and structural) using all welding processes on all types of weld joint/plug/cladding type etc using ASME IX, AWS D1.1,ISO15614 WPS's many of which are also written to other construction codes such as API 1104 and internal/customer specifications. We have hundreds or more welders, inspectors and thousands of WPS's (especially if including old legacy WPS's in need of requalification). We often also mobilise welders to far flung places to weld equipment on site and we have to options of mobilising them from any location therefore we have to search through and ask around for who has a welder and WPS suitable for the job.

The facility I work at don't use any software and I use my own WPS, PQR, WPQ MS Word template, MS Excel spreadsheet and QA procedures etc which is as per your suggestion as do most of the other facilities in the organisation. A couple of our facilities use ProWrite, TWI software (old version and latest) and one or two use other systems.

The WPS, PQR, and WPQ templates I use I'm happy enough with and I laid them out after studying QW-483, TWI's template, online templates and templates used my other facilities past and present in my own company.

We only have a couple of welders at my facility but the welding engineer here before me has had the facility qualify many procedures which are stored in paper format and PDF's on an ill-organised server.

I know that ASME IX, ISO 15614, PD 5500, Norsok M-601, DNV-OS-E101, DNV-OS-C401 etc don't really permit / encourage WPS's being used that aren't qualified by the facility using them but if we could move more and more of our facilities onto a central database (MS Excel, Welding Software listed above, bespoke system or other) then it would help us move towards sharing knowledge, resources and reference material better.

I think I need to somehow find time (which I don't have) to develop my MS Excel spreadsheet to better list all by WPS's and WPS essential variables and WPS / WPQ qualification ranges to allow me better find the right WPS and WPQ for each weld. ....time to get this done well is hard to come by. Perhaps I was hoping and looking too hard for a silver bullet with the software but the software would likely take as long to get working well for me and cost my company money I guess. I actually like spending time eon MS Excel and it is my favourite go to software so it puts me in a happy place to use it (sad I know). There may be some good samaritan welding engineer who has some perfected MS Excel workbook they have posted online somewhere so I will take a look before committing many hours on my own.

From what I can see the software is getting better I think as software / systems generally do. I like that they are more and more going to a SaaS (online software as a service) model. I have demo'd a couple. I like the ESAB one I think.

Thanks again for your input. Much appreciated.


RE: Welding Software

Well you have your work cut out.

Even for an international O&G business, thousands of WPSs is far too many, and indicates poor PQR design over decades by many people who were probably not in communication with each other. That needs to be whittled down to hundreds, but that review by itself is a massive task. You definitely need a database to manage procedures, especially considering the various Codes your company works under.

"If you don't have time to do the job right the first time, when are you going to find time to repair it?"

RE: Welding Software

(OP)

Quote (brimstoner)


100% agree about there being too many WPS's etc and that we don't need 1000's of them. This is a result of a number of things not least that we acquired many independent facilities/companies along the way and haven't consolidated/index'd/collated our WPS's.

I probably shouldn't worry about the overall company and should arguably focus on our own facility somehow finding the time to develop and populate our own MS Excel Spreadsheets, document controls, and Welding QMS. I'm networked with others in a similar situation within th sesame company and I'd prefer to harmonise/align/rationalise our efforts better; and, I had wondered whether a tool such as one of those listed in my original post would assist in this regard. I do think the software offerings are improved on how they were years ago and they appear a bit less clunky and a bit more flexible than they previously were. That said there is little/nothing more flexible than MS Excel I guess.

What all do welding engineers tend to index in their MS Excel spreadsheets (i.e. what tabs, columns and functionality is added)?

I have an MS Excel Workbook with a sheet each for my 1) PQRs, 2) WPS's, 3) WPS's 4) Welder Continuity 5) Consumable Stock 6) Unassigned Materials.
Within the WPS, PQR and WPQ listing I began listing essential variable values/ranges (min and max), NACE, Charpy Temp, Applicable Code(s) and dates etc.
Some of the PQR's, WPS's and WPQ's begun life stored electronically in a good system but others were in paper copy so I have begun moving these over to electronic format and saving them in our document control system.

My hope is that I can continue with the above efforts, update our QMS a bit and work on some MS Excel lookup tables that auto filter available WPS's and WPQ/Welders that are suitable for any given weld plan. I don't require all the auto-generation of project databook that ESAB Weld Note QMatrix offers but I like the way that according to the sales pitch you can enter in the weld details and it shows a filtered list of potential WPS's and WPQ's. Link .... but ...I could do this with MS Excel as I have done very similar things with Excel in the past for non welding related things ... the difficulty is finding the time.

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