Fun Fact Friday: Qualifications and Importance of Certified Welding Inspectors

Fun Fact Friday: Qualifications and Importance of Certified Welding Inspectors

A certified welding inspector must have a combination of qualifying education and work experience, with documentation to support. According to the American Welding Society, to become a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), an individual must have both adequate education and sufficient experience. Various levels of education are interchangeable with some years of experience, but by requiring a combination, the certification process ensures that a welder has the knowledge and capability to provide services without fail.

An individual meeting the education and experience criteria is able to apply for and take a Certified Welding Inspector exam. The application must be mailed at least six weeks before taking the exam, and many candidates choose to complete welding inspector training courses to help them prepare for and pass the exam. The exam itself is divided into 3 parts: fundamental knowledge, practical evaluation, and codebook navigation.

The fundamental knowledge section of the exam includes information on various welding processes, heat control & metallurgy, weld examination, welding performance, terminology, relevant welding and non-destructive examination (NDE) symbols, NDE methods, documentation, safety, destructive testing, cutting, brazing and soldering. Succeeding in this section of the exam proves that a welding inspector has the necessary levels of knowledge.

The exam also includes a practical evaluation section, where a welding inspector must demonstrate skill in procedure and welding, mechanical testing and determining properties, welding inspection and determining flaws, non-destructive examination, and utilization of drawings and specifications.

The third and final section of the exam, codebook navigation and applications, is exactly as it sounds. In this section a potential welding inspector must prove their ability to navigate various code books and apply the various codes as required by a project. This skill is critical to ensuring that welding inspections will be completed in compliance with regulations and will be able to adequately ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of the equipment having been welded.

Additionally, anyone seeking a certification must pass a vision test, to ensure they are able to adequately visually inspect welds.

Becoming a Certified Welding Inspector is a complex and challenging process, but this ensures that welding inspection services are provided to a high standard of quality.

If you have a need for Certified Welding Inspections, please contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980, ext. 133, or at jlake@encorus.com. For more information about our Testing and Inspection Group, please visit https://www.encorus.com/civil-materials-testing/.

Fun Fact Friday: Fitness for Service Evaluations

A Fitness for Service, or FFS, evaluation is a standard evaluation used by the oil, gas, and chemical processing industries to determine the condition of in-service equipment. The standard defines flaw acceptance limits and allows engineers to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable flaws, helping reduce the amount of dangerous and unnecessary repairs.
Fitness for Service evaluations are critical to asset integrity management and can provide insight into the current state of equipment as well as remaining future life. Often, equipment has small flaws, but is still able to provide service, in which case repairing or replacing it would be unnecessary and expensive. For example, unnecessary welding repairs are risky to maintenance employees, and often cause more harm than good, making it critical to determine if such repairs are truly necessary. This can be accomplished through an FFS assessment.
An FFS evaluation is usually performed in increasingly thorough levels, from 1 to 3 as referenced by the API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 standard. This standard was developed and published jointly by the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade organization which represents the oil and natural gas industry, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a not-for-profit organization that organizes collaboration across engineering disciplines to help the global engineering community, to describe viable FFS assessment techniques.
FFS evaluations can be useful in detecting welding defects, corrosion, general and local thinning, dents, gouges, pitting, brittle fracture, blisters, laminations, shell distortion, creep damage, flaws from overheating or fire damage, and more. An FFS evaluation usually assesses the integrity of the component and its current state of damage, and estimates the remaining life of the equipment.
Knowing more about the condition of your equipment can be a critical part of any business operation. Without monitoring your assets, you open yourself to the liability of asset failure which can resulting in financial losses or even dangers to workers, the public, or the environment.
Encorus Group is experienced in many fields of inspection, including Fitness for Service evaluations. If you believe you may be in need of these services, contact Keith Taylor, our Director of Mechanical Integrity, at 716.592.3980, ext. 143 or ktaylor@encorus.com.

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Professional Guidance Through the Environmental Permitting Process

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Professional Guidance Through the Environmental Permitting Process

Many levels of government have their own sets of environmental regulations and permit requirements applicable to business owners, land developers, and more. On a federal level, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) operates to regulate environmental interactions across the country. On a state level, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) operates to preserve the environment in our state.

Compliance with environmental regulations is a critical component of operation in any industry. Not only are they often required in order for a business to legally operate, but in addition, many existing regulations serve to protect a business’s reputation and the health and safety of its workers. Additionally, in today’s society, where environmental responsibility is becoming a consumer consideration, being found in violation of regulations can be detrimental to business efforts as a result of consumer boycotts and slander.

The US EPA and the NYS DEC have three major State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) general permits required for activities associated stormwater discharges.

In the case of many industrial activities, a Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (MSGP) is required to address stormwater runoff. In order to obtain this permit, a facility must have Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and monitor their activities as required per their industry to submit for annual reports to the DEC. Most SWPPPs are written documents describing the pollution prevention practices and activities to be implemented on the site for each major phase of the planned activity.

SWPPPs are also required to obtain a General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. This permit is required for the undertaking of any construction activities which will disturb one of more acres of soil.

In urban areas a federal regulation known as Stormwater Phase II requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Any individual or corporation seeking a permit is required to have an adequately developed Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) and submit annual reports to the DEC.

Additionally, a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) is required in order for a government agency to approve permits or propose projects when environmental impacts are possible. This review is important in legally protecting the agency undertaking the project, as failure to comply with SEQR requirements allows citizens or groups who are able to demonstrate that they may be harmed by the failure to take legal action against the agency.

Most environmental permits have complex and dynamic processes both to fill the necessary requirements and to provide adequate documentation and verification to the appropriate government agency. These processes can be confusing and lengthy if undertaken without suitable knowledge, which can threaten a business’s ability to perform and earn revenue. This makes expert knowledge critical in successfully acquiring permits to get a facility up and running in a timely manner and allow businesses to operate efficiently, safely, and without hassle.

Encorus Group has a strong team of environmental professionals, including engineers, geologists, and technicians who are well versed in navigating various permitting and approval processes, creating SPCC and SWPPP plans, organizing SEQR and NEPA reviews, and completing designs and evaluations for Petroleum Bulk Storage and Chemical Bulk Storage Tanks. These individuals are highly capable and experienced at fulfilling environmental regulation requirements.

If you need environmental compliance or permitting assistance, contact Environmental Engineer Mary Padasak at (716) 592-3980 ext 144 or mpadasak@encorus.com.

Welcome Ashley Slisz!

Welcome Ashley Slisz!

Encorus would like to welcome our new Office Assistant, Ashley Slisz! Ashley has over five years of office experience, and when she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and working on DIY projects. She is a Springville native who spends most of her time outdoors with her three adventurous pups. Welcome, Ashley!

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Floor Flatness and Levelness Testing

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Floor Flatness and Levelness Testing

Floor Flatness and Floor Levelness can be critical to the safety of people and equipment, especially in areas with high foot and equipment traffic. Imagine walking on a rough, uneven sidewalk. You might stub your toe, scuff your shoes, or trip and fall. The same is true on a larger scale for concrete floors in industrial structures. When personnel are working on rough, uneven floors, workers might hurt themselves, equipment takes on unnecessary wear, and dangerous accidents become far more likely.

Warehouses are one example where the quality of flooring can have a significant effect on safety and productivity. Having flat, level floors allows lift trucks to operate at higher maximum speeds, reduces potential for damage to stock, and creates a smoother environment to reduce wear on lift trucks and similar equipment. Well-made floors also help reduce health and safety risks such as driver fatigue or tilting equipment, resulting in falling machinery or products.

Both Floor Flatness, denoted by an FF number, and Floor Levelness, denoted by an FL number, are evaluated through regulated procedures, and compared to standard allowances to determine if variations are at an acceptable level.

Floor Flatness is the measure of how bumpy or smooth the finished surface of a floor is. The flatness is a statistical measurement of how wavy or bumpy a concrete floor is. Individual measurements are taken at points every twelve inches along a line, and the differences between each adjacent point are calculated, along with the mean and standard deviations of the differences. A bumpy or uneven floor can result in injury to personnel, anything from a stubbed toe to a dangerous fall. It can also result in damage to equipment or damage to product from jarring motions created by the uneven floor. For these reasons it is critically important to ensure that floor flatness is at an acceptable level.

Floor Levelness is the measure of the inclination of the floor compared to its design inclination. The levelness is measured by using the difference in elevation between two points far apart. It is critical to ensure that floors are level within reasonable variation, especially in situations involving tall equipment and narrow aisles. Even a slight variation in floor levelness could result in tall equipment losing its balance or colliding with shelves in a narrow aisle, potentially causing harm to personnel or damage to products and equipment.

There are detailed standard procedures for these evaluations to help ensure the safety of personnel, equipment, and products. These testing procedures can help prevent hefty lawsuits or expenses due to equipment and product loss.

Encorus Group offers high quality testing services for floors, as well as many other aspects of construction and industry. If your construction site has floors that require flatness and levelness testing, contact Jeremy Lake at (716) 592-3980 ext. 133, or jlake@encorus.com.

Thanks to our summer intern Mara for providing this article!