ASME Section IX provides for immediate retests in welding performance qualification (for both welders and welding operators) if one or more tests do not meet the specified acceptance criteria. The provisions for immediate retesting using mechanical testing, volumetric NDE, and visual examination have been clearly defined in QW 321.
This article does not seek to reproduce the provisions given in QW 321; the provisions are accessible and clear enough to anyone having access to Section IX. In this article, after a brief introduction to the provisions of retests, I have tried to cover some of the less commonly occurring questions that surround the topic of retesting, which do not find a direct mention in QW 321, but are pertinent enough to occur commonly.
Read: Welding Performance Qualifications in accordance with Section IX.
What Happens If A Welder Does Not Pass The Tests?
Sometimes, one or more tests do not pass the criteria laid by Section IX. For example, incomplete penetration on a small segment of the coupon or lack of fusion may be noticed on the coupon. These are generally a function of welder’s skill.
However, on an off chance, stray occurrences can happen, which may not necessarily be indicative of welder’s ability.
So, Section IX permits immediate re-test if one or more tests do not pass the criteria laid by Section IX. Re-test means that you must re-do the test, but with twice the number of test coupons, all of which must pass the tests. This applies for VT, RT/UT, mechanical testing, and production weld alternative too.
Note: Re-testing means that you must re-do the same tests in which you failed. For example, if you failed in mechanical testing, you must re-do the mechanical tests again. You cannot choose to take the volumetric option for the retest. And vice-versa.
Q: The RT of my qualification coupon (150 mm long) did not meet the Section IX criteria. Can I make a coupon of 300 mm length for the re-test?
A: No. Section IX stipulates that you must make TWO coupons of 150 mm each, and examine them in RT.
What Happens If A Welder Does Not Pass The Retest Too?
This might happen as well too. In such case, the welder is considered to have failed the qualification test, and cannot be deployed for production welding. This does not mean he can never weld on job again. He must practice, or undergo training of some sort, and re-take the test again.
How much later can he re-take the test again? Can he come back the next day and re-take the test?
Well, Section IX does not address this. And this decision rests with the authorized inspector. I would recommend further practice for a welder for a period of not less than two weeks before he can re-take the test again.
Several interesting questions surround the subject of training. Is it required to furnish proof of welder’s training to the inspector? Is the inspector required to witness the training this training? Does watching an internet video sufficiently constitute this training?
The answer to these questions cannot be found directly in Section IX. However, some relevant replies can be found in the interpretation number IX-18-01.
The replies given by the committee in the interpretation are to the following effect: It is not required to furnish any proof of the welder’s training. The inspector is not required to witness the training undergone by the welder.
As regards to whether an internet video be counted as sufficient training, Section IX does not address this subject. This is for the welder’s supervisor and inspector to decide upon.
Is Doubling Of Specimens Applicable While Retaking The Test Too?
Does A Welder, Who Failed To Qualify In His First Attempt, And Receives Further Training, Need To Weld Twice The Number Of Specimens Required In QW 321?
Say, the test coupon of a welder’s Performance Qualification does not meet the acceptance criteria of Section IX. The welder undergoes further training as permitted in QW 321.4, and comes back to re-take the test. This is different from the immediate retest specified in QW 321, this is in fact, akin to a fresh qualification.
Does the requirement of preparing twice the number of original test coupons, as required by QW 321, apply for this welder?
The answer is no. After further training, the welder is said to be taking a new test. For this test coupon, doubling the quantum of coupons as required in QW 321 does not apply.
An Interpretation (IX-83-13) issued by ASME attests to this understanding.
Immediate Retest Using Mechanical Testing
Can A Welder, Whose Performance Qualification Coupon Fails To Meet The Radiography Criteria Of QW 191, After Further Training – Retake The Test With Mechanical Testing?
This is a very much probable occurrence. Once one fails in a particular exam, it is natural to be nervous before re-taking the exam.
The question applies in reverse too. If the test coupon fails in mechanical testing, and say – the welder has undergone further training and practice, does Section IX permit the welder to retake the qualification with volumetric NDE?
The answer to both the above questions is yes. After further training, when the welder re-takes the test, it is said to be a new test. Its’ testing is required to comply with QW 304. The QW 304 permits a choice between volumetric NDE and the mechanical testing.
This understanding regarding retests in welding performance qualification was further strengthened by ASME in Interpretation IX-92-73.
Immediate Retest For Renewal Of Qualification
Is Immediate Retest As Per QW 321 Permitted For Renewal Test Coupons Made In Accordance With QW 322 Too?
QW 322 deals with the matter of how to renew an expired qualification. The answer to the above question is – yes, immediate retest is allowed during testing for renewal of qualification too. QW 322 requires testing of a coupon in accordance with QW 304/QW 305.
And QW 321, at the outset, declares its applicability to QW 304/QW 305. Hence, QW 321 is also applicable for renewal test coupons that are made to renew the expired validity of a welder’s qualifications.
This has been clarified by ASME too; vide an Interpretation IX-86-07.
This means that if the test coupon for renewing the expired validity of a welder’s qualification does not meet the acceptance criteria of QW 304/ QW 305, he may be permitted to take immediate retests permitted in QW 321.
All the Interpretations cited above in this article can be found on the official website of ASME, which can be accessed here.
So, this was about the various issues about the immediate retests in welding performance qualification. Do let know your thoughts in the comments section below.