Storage and Handling Procedure
Storage and handling procedure falls into six areas which need to be considered for any quality management system in a welding engineering company, especially BS EN ISO 3834 and BS EN 15085.
- Storing consumables as per the manufacturer’s recommendations
- Temperature and humidity of the storage environment
- Issuing consumables to the shop floor
- Monitoring and controlling temperature and humidity within the welding stores
- Batch testing
- Goods inward
Welding consumables manufacturers will recommend storage requirements for their welding consumables within your factory. This will often include shelf life, how not to store welding consumables in any adverse conditions that could create welding defects in production.
Temperature and humidity requirements usually specify minimum temperature and a maximum humidity. Temperature and humidity controls are of upmost importance to reduce moisture been absorbed into oxide layers or fluxes on / in welding consumables. This is due to the risk of hydrogen being absorbed in the weld which in ferrous alloys can lead to hydrogen cracking. Other alloys such as aluminium and titanium, the presence of hydrogen can lead to porosity.
Issuing consumables to the shop floor is usually required for projects and client where batch control and traceability to each weld “if required”. The manufacturer using welding consumables should create a welding consumables control procedure to cover points 1 to 6. Good control of welding consumables gives clients reassurance that an essential variable in the welding process is been controlled to eliminate defects during production.
Usually, a daily check takes place within a factory storage location to record the minimum temperature of that day and the maximum humidity. Each daily reading can be logged via a controlled form printed out, or an electronic temperature humidity sensor. The benefit of electronic sensor is the ability to create an Excel spreadsheet from imported daily weekly or monthly data. This can be used to create charts for audit compliance evidence in rapid succession. The manufacturer should ensure the any devices used to measure temperature or humidity is calibrated.
Batch testing of welding consumables maybe required for clients needing to understand mechanical properties (tensile strength, ductility, toughness, and hardness) or chemical properties of weld metal only. Often batch testing is only required if the customer requests this information, make sure this question is part of your technical review form!
The final consideration is goods receipt of consumables entering the manufacturing facility. Often, welding consumables are purchased in line with international standards. Chemical analysis of the welding consumable must fall within the requirements of the international standards. Always, keep a copy of the welding consumable cert, BS EN ISO 3834 requirements a manufacturer to hold certification for a minimum of five years.
For help setting up a welding consumable handling procedure please contact The Welding Development Centre.