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Improving Weld Quality by Use of Commercially Available Real Time Welding Monitors
PRCI recently published the report of its work on commercially available real time welding monitors. The objective of this project was to create a concise listing of commercial off the shelf (COTS), real-time quality monitoring (RTQM) systems and their pros and cons with respect to pipeline welding. A limited trade study was conducted to identify the available COTS RTQMs manufactured in the United States and Europe.
PRCI’s contractor, EWI, then conducted an informal survey of end users who were identified by RTQM system manufacturers. Additionally, a formal survey was distributed to a select group of EWI industry contacts. A total of 83 arc data monitoring users completed the survey. The formal survey was divided into two distinct sets of questions: application based, and system performance based. The application questions looked to define why the system was purchased, and how/where the system is used. The system performance questions were more specific to the usefulness of the monitoring system itself.
The majority of survey respondents were in the oil and gas, automotive, and heavy manufacturing industries (53%). Other survey participants were from the welding equipment and material supplier, welding distributors, railroad, and shipbuilding industries.
There are a number of COTS RTQM systems available today both stand-alone and integrated into welding power supplies, each with its specific advantages and disadvantages. For proper selection, the end user needs to identify and prioritize their needs. To assist in the selection process a guide is included in the report outlining each system’s features and functionality, including important features relative to pipeline applications (e.g. battery operated, field operable, etc.) This guide can be used in conjunction with the users priorities as a starting point for system selection.