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VISUAL INSPECTION OF WELDS

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HIS SECTION PROVIDES STANDARD PROCEDURES for visual inspection of steel welds.

GENERAL

Although ASME B31.3 refers to inspection as verification that all required examinations and testing have been completed; henceforth, this manual refers to visual inspection of welds as the visual examination of welds defined by ASME 31.3. Both ASME 31.3 Paragraph 343 and 344 and ASME BPV Section V Article 9 are used as the basis for this procedure. Visual inspection of welds will be performed by individual(s) qualified by training and experience commensurate with the needs of the specified examinations. The welding inspector (inspector) must: Be able to verify that welding is being performed in accordance with the construction specifications and the welding procedures (see Section 2.20: Qualified Welding Procedure Specifications (QWPS)) Understand the specifications before arriving on the job site in order to be able to respond quickly and appropriately if the work or procedures are not being followed Be equipped with the proper inspection equipment to check and monitor the welding parameters listed in the welding procedure

All field welds are subject to visual inspection and/or non-destructive testing to: Verify weld integrity Provide for the correction of improper welding techniques when indicated by recurring defects Verify welder qualification in the production weld process

Records of individual visual inspections are not required; except for those of in-process examinations described in Section 3.02 Non-Destructive Testing Requirements. The visual inspection report at the end of this procedure will be utilized for in-process welding inspection. Qualified welders are responsible for the quality of their work. The Company will assign inspection personnel as necessary to verify contractor and Company weld quality and conformance to applicable procedures. If upon visual inspection it is determined the weld may be defective, it must be repaired or removed from the piping system and re-examined by the same methods, to the same extent and by the same acceptance criteria as necessary to meet the requirements of the code. The inspection may be made before, during, or after the weld has been completed. The Company has the right to accept or reject any weld for any reason.

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VISUAL INSPECTION (GENERAL REQUIREMENTS)

Every weld made on Company piping should be visually inspected; however, visual inspection may not substitute for other non-destructive test requirements. Direct visual inspection may be made when access is sufficient to the place the eye within 24 inches of the surface to be examined and at an angle not less than 30 degrees to the surface to be examined. Mirrors may be utilized to improve the angle of vision and aids such as a magnifying lens may be utilized to assist in the inspection. Illumination (natural or supplemental white light) for the specific weld is required. minimum light intensity at the surface of the weld shall be 100 foot-candle (1000 lux). The

When remote examination is necessary, the use of mirrors, telescopes, borescopes, fiber optics, cameras or other suitable instruments may be utilized. Such systems shall have a resolution at least equivalent to that obtainable by direct visual observation. The inspector must be familiar with the applicable codes and standards, the inspection equipment necessary to perform these tasks and have experience in these areas. Further, the inspector must acknowledge any personal lack of understanding with appropriate personnel so that appropriate training can be completed before undertaking any specific assignment. The visual inspection should include, but not be limited to: General workmanship Compliance with the requirements of the applicable Qualified Welding Procedure Specification (QWPS) Presence of surface defects that could affect the integrity of the weld, as defined in Section 3.02 Non-Destructive Testing Requirements including: Cracks Arc burns Undercut (external or internal when visible) Incomplete penetration (when visible) Low crown Lack of fusion on the cap Surface porosity or exposed slag inclusion

Surface finish Concave root surface (when visible) Weld reinforcement or internal protrusion The inspector may reject any weld that: Shows evidence of poor workmanship

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VISUAL INSPECTION OF WELDS

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Did not follow the specifications set forth in the QWPS or specific instructions of the inspector Has an arc burn present Has a dent in excess of 0.250 inch in depth Contains visible surface defects that could affect weld integrity Other conditions which, in the judgment of the Inspector, indicate an unacceptable weld

INSPECTION RESPONSIBILITIES PRIOR TO WELDING

The inspector must review QWPS and bring any questions about the welding procedures for a particular application to the immediate attention of the individual overseeing welding activities. The inspector must also check certification records for each welder working on construction projects to ensure that proper and current qualification data is on file for the processes being welded. Before welding, the inspector should also check pipe and fittings to be welded for: Scabs Split seams or laminations Rust Scale Other harmful surface conditions Pipe ends for proper joint design and dents caused by improper handling Welding equipment and filler metal to be used for correctness and condition NOTE: Whenever questionable or unacceptable equipment or conditions are found, they must be corrected prior to welding. The surface of all pipe and components for defects that could affect their serviceability NOTE: Any gouge, groove, dent or other defect which exceeds the allowable depth in accordance with the applicable material standard must be either removed by grinding or the entire section replaced as a cylinder. Grinding to eliminate gouges or grooves must be followed by wall thickness measurements to ensure the remaining wall thickness of the pipe or component is within specification limits. Unless otherwise directed, the wall thickness tables in API 5L govern the thickness for pipe.

The inspector should also check:

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TABLE 3.03.1: WALL THICKNESS TOLERANCES


OUTSIDE DIAMETER IN INCHES (ALL PIPE TYPES EXCEPT AS NOTED) 2.875 2 7/8 but 20 20 (Welded pipe only) 20 (Seamless pipe only) TOLERANCE, PERCENT (GRADE B OR LOWER) +20.0 -12.5 +15.0 -12.5 +17.5 -12.5 +15.0 -12.5 TOLERANCE, PERCENT (GRADE X42 OR HIGHER) +15.0 -12.5 +15.0 -12.5 +19.5 -8.0 +17.5 -10.0

When assembling pipe and components together prior to welding, the inspector should ensure the alignment and root space are in accordance with the approved welding procedure and that the resulting weld will not produce abnormal residual stress. The inspector must ensure the weld joint is clean and free of all foreign material (e.g., dirt, oil, coating material, etc.). The end bevels should be inspected for defects such as laminations, improper bevel angle, and an improperly machined root face. The inspector is also responsible for remediating defects such as dents and root face damage. Each process (Shielded Metal Arc [SMAW] or Gas Metal Arc [GMAW]) has certain characteristics which must be considered for each application. Also, each process has certain features that require constant observation to ensure that the process is being properly applied. Table 3.03.2 presents items the inspector should consider when inspecting welds made with these processes. While each process has a different defect potential, with proper application both can yield excellent weld quality.
TABLE 3.03.2: EXAMPLE WELDING INSPECTION COMPONENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS BY PROCESS
PROCESS
SMAW

COMPONENT
Electrodes

COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC
Moisture content of the coating Age of the electrodes Eccentricity of the coating to core wire General condition of the coating Machine settings Machine condition Welding leads or cables (condition and size) Ground connections Protection from weather, dirt, etc. Cleanliness

Welding Machines

GMAW

Wire

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TABLE 3.03.2: EXAMPLE WELDING INSPECTION COMPONENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS BY PROCESS (contd.)
PROCESS COMPONENT
Shielding Gas Welding Machines

COMPONENT CHARACTERISTIC
Proper type of gas; 100 % CO2; 75% Argon / 25% CO2 Free from moisture Proper fittings and hoses (tightness and leaks) Gas separation considerations Bottle safety Cleanliness of unit Proper drive rolls and condition Pre-purge to eliminate start porosity Proper machine capability Machine settings Ground connections Weld cables (condition and size) Contact tip on welding gun and condition of gun

Wire Feeders

GROUND CONNECTIONS

The use of steel grounds that have been sharpened or torch cut to a point and placed into the weld joint may not have the proper cross-section for the amperage involved. This leads to overheating of the ground and welding cable. The small point contact results in a choke or resistor effect in the electrical circuit, which creates overheating and reduces the welding machines capability to provide proper amperage and voltage at a given setting. To avoid ground and cable overheating by providing the proper cross-sectional area of ground contact in the weld groove or, when possible, by using commercially available ground clamps (see Table 3.03.3 below).
TABLE 3.03.3: WELD CABLE WIRE DIAMETER/CROSS-SECTION WELD CABLE #4 #2 1/0 2/0 3/0 4/0 COPPER WIRE DIAMETER (INCHES) 1/4 3/8 7/16 1/2 9/16 5/8 AREA OF WIRE (SQ. INCHES) .05 .11 .15 .20 .25 .30

NOTE: Steel has an electrical conductivity factor of approximately one-seventh that of copper. Therefore, steel ground contact surfaces should be seven times that of the cross-section of the welding cable. While this is impractical, provide as much steel ground contact area as possible to eliminate a choking effect on current flow.

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PIPE CONDITION

In general, most pipe purchased by the Company conforms to API 5L (Specification for Line Pipe), which provides standards for chemical composition, dimensional tolerances, and mechanical properties for the pipe. The inspector must understand this specification and how to inspect pipe at the pipe mill, in the stack or on the right-of-way (ROW). This includes measuring the pipes diameter, wall thickness, and ovality (specifically, checking for out-of-roundness), as well as checking for residual magnetism which can affect the welding arc. The inspector should be familiar with the following pipe inspection tools for checking pipe tolerances and magnetic fields: Diameter or Pi tape (measure to three decimal places) Digital or dial caliper (6-inch) Inside diameter micrometer (various diameters) Outside calipers (various diameters) Gaussmeter (Hall-effect type, such as F.W. Bell) Pipe bevel and land gauge

JOINT DESIGN

The success of any welding operation including pipeline welding begins with the selection of the proper bevel and root face. Although several joint designs have been evaluated for pipe welding, the accepted bevel and root face (land) when using manual welding processes is 30-35 and 1/16 inch 1/32 inch respectively (see Figure 3.03.1):
30-35 Degrees On Bevel

1/16 1/32

1/16-1/8

Figure 3.03.1: Typical Joint Design for Pipe Welding

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This joint design is used because: The joint is sufficiently wide at the top to permit access for making the root pass The angle of the bevel permits good tie-in (fusion) to the bevels by weld metal The completed joint provides desirable geometric characteristics for radiography The opening between adjacent pipe ends to be welded is called the root space (sometimes referred to as the root opening or gap). This dimension is extremely important in terms of achieving a quality root-pass weld. The nominal dimension for the space will vary depending on the welding process or electrode size to be used for the root pass. EXAMPLE: The GMAW process may require a slightly wider space (3/32 inch) to ensure full penetration and good tie-in to both root faces or lands of the weld joint. On the other hand, for the SMAW process, a 1/16-inch space is sufficient due to the high penetration characteristics of the process. Regardless of the electrode size or process used, an improper space around the circumference will cause one of two types of defects: Excessive space will cause burn-through Tight space may cause inadequate penetration

The inspector should ensure that the joint space conforms to the welding procedure requirements. This will eliminate any guesswork if problems are discovered during radiographic film interpretation.
VISUAL INSPECTION DURING WELDING

Inspection during welding provides an opportunity to discover pipe laminations or split seams since they tend to open up during welding because of the weld heat. When GMAW is used, filler wire protruding into the pipe must be kept to a minimum. Welds must present a neat workmanlike appearance free of surface defects, including: Cracks Inadequate penetration Burn-through Porosity Other defects

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WELDING PARAMETERS

The inspector should always be aware of (and have equipment to measure) the key welding procedure parameters: Amperage Voltage Travel speed

The impact or effect of each parameter is discussed below: Amperage Amperage is the welding current which dictates the burn-off or melting rate of the electrode. A range of amperage is usually presented for each electrode diameter. For example, a 5/32 diameter E7010-G might have a typical amperage range of 130170. It is important to note that the specific amperage range presented in the procedure is only established during actual welding procedure development. Voltage Arc voltage is a function of the length of the arc (i.e., the longer the arc, the higher the voltage). During the deposition of the root pass, the arc should be buried and the resulting arc voltage will be low (20-23) with a 5/32 diameter E6010 electrode. When depositing the hot pass, the arc voltage will be somewhat higher and will vary as the arc length changes as the welder manipulates the arc to wash out any slag in the edges of the root pass. The fill and cap pass voltage will be fairly consistent, and in the 25-30 volt range. Due to electrical resistance in the welding leads, ground, etc., arc voltage may be 2-3 volts higher at the terminals of the welding machine than at the electrode holder. If the difference exceeds 4 volts, check lead sizing and ground quality. Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) Although not a part of the procedures welding parameters, OCV controls the arc characteristics. Some welding machines include OCV as part of the fine current selector. When this type of machine is used for procedure and field welding, the OCV increases as the fine selector is increased for current. High OCV results in a deeply penetrating, highly forceful (almost cutting) type of arc. This is not desirable when depositing a root pass or making a cap pass. High OCV may result in excessive force, thereby creating potential for internal or external undercutting in the root or cap pass, respectively. To eliminate undercutting, low OCV is preferred for the root and cap pass. Understanding how OCV can affect arc characteristics enables the inspector to assist the welder and the contractor.

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Travel Speed Travel speed is the indicator for speed of welding. The inspector should use a stopwatch and tape to measure travel speed and compare it to the welding procedure. Excessive travel speed usually indicates that excessive amperage is being used and vice versa. This may lead to a thinner than desirable root bead and perhaps root bead cracking.
PREHEAT

Preheating (and elevated inter-pass temperature) is conducted to lower the cooling rate in the weld and the heat-affected zone for a more ductile metallurgical structure, thereby minimizing the risk of extraordinary hardness and cracking. Preheating also aids in driving out hydrogen from the weld deposit, which can contribute to weld cracking. Preheat temperatures are generally measured by touching the pipe adjacent to the weld bevels with a temperature indicating crayon (e.g., Tempilstik), or a contact or infrared pyrometer. Cooling rates will be faster for a weld made without preheat than with preheat. The higher the preheat temperature, the slower the cooling rates will be after the welds have been completed. A further effect of rapid cooling, even if cracking does not occur, is low ductility and toughness in the welded joint. The composition of the pipe material and the welding procedure will determine the extent to which ductility and toughness are lowered.
WELD PASSES

The number of weld passes required to complete a pipe weld is usually not a significant variable where mechanical properties are concerned. However, the number of weld passes can be a significant factor in determining the toughness of the weld deposit, especially for welds subjected to low temperatures.
ELECTRODES

To ensure a good pipe weld when selecting the correct electrode, consider: Electrode type (as to coating and deposit analysis) Electrode diameter The pipes chemical composition The pipes wall thickness Mechanical property requirements (e.g., tensile, yield, certain alloys, etc.) Construction specification requirements for the weld deposit

Base the selection, type and size on:

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Age and storage conditions play an important role in the electrodes moisture content, which if not cared for can affect the weld. In general, electrodes over a year old may be suspect in terms of proper moisture. Cellulose-coated electrodes (6010, 7010, etc.) should be stored above freezing and below 100 F due to moisture inherent to these electrodes. Iron powdered coated electrodes (7018, 8018, etc.) should be stored in rodovens to maintain moisture levels within acceptable tolerance by maintaining a temperature of 350 - 400 F or in accordance with manufacturers storage recommendations.
PIPE GROOVE WELDS

Root Pass When preheating is required by the welding procedure, measure the preheat temperatures with temperature indicating crayons (e.g., Tempilstik brand) or a pyrometer. Maintain preheating temperatures while completing the root pass. The inspector will check the general condition of the root pass electrodes and determine that the proper AWS classification and diameter are being used. The inspector should examine the welding cable connections at the machine to determine that the correct polarity is being used. Most pipeline welding procedures utilize direct current reverse polarity (DCRP) settings. This is also recognized as direct current electrode positive (DCEP). The electrode lead should be connected to the positive output of the welder and the ground lead connected to the negative lead. During root pass welding, periodically measure the amperage, voltage and travel speed to determine compliance with the approved welding procedure. Root pass travel speed and amperage are closely related. Excessive root pass travel speed usually indicates that excessive amperage is being used, and vice versa. With either of these outside the limits of the welding procedure parameters, the potential increases for a thinner than desired root bead possibly leading to root bead cracking. Hot Pass The inspector should: review the condition of the hot pass electrodes and determine that the proper AWS classification and diameter are being used ensure that the time specified in the approved welding procedure between the root pass and the hot pass is not exceeded periodically measure amperage, voltage and travel speed during the deposition of the hot pass to ensure compliance with the approved welding procedure require that the completed hot pass be cleaned of all slag by power brushing

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Fill Passes The inspector should: inspect fill pass electrodes to determine their condition, AWS classification and diameter confirm that the welding procedure is being followed in terms of the number of fill passes for the respective wall thickness periodically measure amperage, voltage and travel speed to determine compliance with the approved welding procedure when checking voltage at the terminals of the welding machine, allow for a 2-3 volt drop at the arc depending on the length of the welding cable during welding, periodically ensure that interpass cleaning is sufficient to eliminate slag entrapment between passes
PIPE FILLET WELDS

The inspector should: inspect all welds to ensure compliance with the approved welding procedure. For welds consider the weld shrinkage which occurs and require that the components to be joined are properly spaced prior to welding. ensure all welds have at least two weld passes. This requirement is intended to eliminate any potential leak path. unless otherwise specified, inspect welds using the following acceptance criteria: the weld leg size will conform to the approved welding procedure and be no smaller than the thinnest pipe wall thickness and shall be slightly concave or flat in the center of the bead. the weld will exhibit good workmanship, blend smoothly into the run pipe and fitting, and be uniform in appearance around its entire circumference

VISUAL INSPECTION AFTER WELDING

Completed welds will be visually inspected to determine weld acceptability. To inspect for defects, the weld surface must be thoroughly and carefully cleaned of oxide and slag, so that cracks, arc burns and/or other surface defects are not hidden (see Section 3.11: Weld Discontinuities). Also, visually inspect the welds to ensure: Undercut at the toe of the fillet weld is less than 1/64 inch deep regardless of length There are no: Pinholes or porosity Cracks of any length Arc burns on LP lines or on natural gas pipelines operating above 40% SMYS

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INSPECTION EQUIPMENT

Visual inspection of pipe welding involves certain instruments and inspection tools to measure pipe and components for conformance to purchasing specifications, welding parameters and material defects. The following equipment is recommended for the inspector to ensure welding activity is in compliance with applicable codes and standards: Amperage meter (Tongmeter, 0-300 amps, e.g., Fluke model 336) Voltmeter for voltage measurement (same Fluke instrument) 6-inch Vernier caliper (for accurate measurement of root face, pipe wall thickness at the ends, tensile specimens, etc.) Pit measurement gauge or dial-indicator depth gauge Temperature indicating crayons (e.g., Tempilstik brand at ratings of 150, 200, 250, 300, 350, 400, 450 degree F.), pyrometer, or infrared thermometer 6-foot tape measure Stopwatch Diameter or Pi tape for measuring pipe ends to ensure conformance to API 5L, Section XVII specifications Ultrasonic thickness gauge (should be available on-site for measuring remaining wall thicknesses after a gouge or arc burn is removed) Gaussmeter with longitudinal probe should be available when questions arise regarding magnetized pipe Magnifying lens Boroscope (for remote inspection) Mirror (for remote inspection) Camera Light source to provide a minimum light intensity at the weld surface of 100 footcandles (1000 lux) (note: this light source, technique used, is require to be demonstrated one time

In addition to the above equipment, it is expected that the inspector will have the approved welding specifications and procedures on-site for immediate reference.
ACCEPTANCE STANDARDS

See Section 3.02 Non Destructive Testing Requirements: Acceptance Standards.

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Welding Visual Inspection Report


Weld Number Welding Procedure Used Welding Process(es) Used Inspection Technique Results/Comments

Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote Direct Remote
Name of Inspector: _______________________ Date: _______________ Qualification Level: _______________________ Location________________________________________________________________________________