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Thread: Welding PFC efficiently

  1. #1
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    Welding PFC efficiently

    Ive always lurked around these forums but never before have I registered and actively took part..

    I am after some information,regarding, as you may have guessed, welding PFC (or any structural shape) efficiently. By this I mean keeping welding to a minimum but allowing for a fit for purpose weld.

    The company I work for manufactures industrial slow moving trailers and as a new employee Ive come in to find that on each and every job anything that can be welded is, generally to a poor standard.

    In the past, I have, unless stated in a particualr standard or works specification, always tried to work on first principles and accepted best practices but unfortunately best practices are never wrote down and trying to convince some people that more weld doesnt mean better weld is getting boring.
    Ive talked about weld sizes, weld orientation and joint design constantly for the last month to no avail and its come down to me searching on the internet for something in black and white. What im looking for at the moent is some published advice or instruction on what is and isnt acceptable when welding structural shapes. ie were can you / carnt you weld (c shapes)

    Currently for example...... all c shapes (and all sections) are fully welded all the way around ALL the time with no account basic welding principles (start / stops) im trying to reduce this to two welds saving a considerable amount of time as the current process is unecessary.

    Any ideas or links to some good information

  2. #2
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    Important information missing.

    Country?
    Standards approved for your company ISO9...?
    Trained welders?
    ?
    ?

    It may be folly to reduce weld length with "poor standard" in your statement. A Certified Welder can make welds to a finite strength for a given length. A poor standard welder would produce dangerously under-strength welds if confined to the same length.

    You seem to be walking a dangerous path rushing into change things to save money when it appears you are not entirely conversant with all of the ramifications.

    Having said that, proceed cautiously, and do some research on welding standards for your locale. A good place to start would be Lincoln and Miller websites for educational books on welding. Then get your company to spend the bucks hiring a Certified Welder.

  3. #3
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    Hi, Im from the UK and the industry that we are part of is unregulated so there are no standards to work to.
    The welders have recently been coded.

    Im from a nuclear background and have been designing heavy fabrications for over ten years.... talking the talk isnt my problem, its convincing non believers that is my problem..

    I have introduced a very basic works procedure that uses BS5950 as a guide... just as a way of indroducing some sort of standard that the company can follow. Relevant standards though (steelwork fabrication & connections) are not specific, they provide methods of caluculation or design principles. The guys here just dont uderstand it when I put it in front of them and say "this is why im changing it"... however the owner has taken note when ive put fabrication guides in front of him or lititrature that I posess from other companies...

    My main concern is that it takes 3 or 4 times longer to fabricate a job than required, im not trying to cut corners as you suggest, just improve the welder efficiency by improving the product design....

    for example its taking 30+ hours to fabricate a 2m x 4m chassis frame comprising of two pfc 125x65 longitudinal members, ten psc 125x65 cross members
    with a pfc 125x65 outer member..

    This should take 6-10 hours at most.... with design changes included

    The chassis design doesnt help the fabricator and requires excessive prep work.... but i cant change to much because the production guys insist on fully welding every member bracket and plate....

    So im after a best practice guide that is good for the fabricator that will convince them that not all changes are bad.

    Its not the only challenge I face.... im also struggling to introduce a method for estimating weld times / costs as the production guys will not agree to anything that reduces their work time

    Also just for your info.. these changes are being made so the company can tender for more work in different industries competitively.

    So the changes are not for changes sake....
    Last edited by MRsmith; 05-24-2012 at 04:42 AM.

  4. #4
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    Ah the classic management-labor dispute. Is there a union involved? I have worked places where the employees were of a state of mind that they instinctively assumed that anything that was good for management (like expanding into new markets for example) was automatically bad for the workers. They could not concieve of a situation that benefitted both. As a result, like so so many other places, they all are now out of business.

    As long as the guys on the floor see you as their opponent you will get nowhere. Start trying to think of ways to ask for their help, their suggestions. Listen to their complaints. Do some things for them (even if they don't make sense to you) to try to show them that you care about their opinions and have their long-term best interest at heart. It will be a long slow process. Try to help them see that the company's customers are their customers and the company's competitors are their competitors. Show them some ways that your knowledge and your abilities can directly benefit their daily lives.

    You started with welding standards, but you have encountered problems that are much larger than that. And as is usually the case, the folks that have lived and worked in that situation for decades, no matter which side they are on, cannot even see it.

    I think your main challenge is going to be patience, especially if you are the get-it-done-now type. You will have to settle for small incremental, BUT CONTINUOUS, improvement steps.

    You come from such a different world. You will have to take some time to understand this new one. I was a consulting engineer for a steel mill once and was working with one of the newer engineers. His entire career to that point had been in the nuclear industry. I was helping him on a project to install a new air compressor in a small building extension. He was asking all kinds of strange questions. It became clear that he was thinking we were going to have to design the whole air compressor ourselves. When I said no, we can just buy it, he looked at me and said, "You mean you can just buy one?" Now I won't indict the whole nuclear industry with his question, but what it told me was that he came from a world where so few commercial items would work that he assumed you had to design everything from the ground up. My only point is that his was a VERY different world than mine.

    Hang in there. Welding standards may end up being adopted and accepted, but probably only as a result of a culture change.
    Last edited by jboggs; 05-24-2012 at 08:24 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboggs View Post
    Ah the classic management-labor dispute. Is there a union involved? I have worked places where the employees were of a state of mind that they instinctively assumed that anything that was good for management (like expanding into new markets for example) was automatically bad for the workers. They could not concieve of a situation that benefitted both. As a result, like so so many other places, they all are now out of business.

    As long as the guys on the floor see you as their opponent you will get nowhere. Start trying to think of ways to ask for their help, their suggestions. Listen to their complaints. Do some things for them (even if they don't make sense to you) to try to show them that you care about their opinions and have their long-term best interest at heart. It will be a long slow process. Try to help them see that the company's customers are their customers and the company's competitors are their competitors. Show them some ways that your knowledge and your abilities can directly benefit their daily lives.

    You started with welding standards, but you have encountered problems that are much larger than that. And as is usually the case, the folks that have lived and worked in that situation for decades, no matter which side they are on, cannot even see it.

    I think your main challenge is going to be patience, especially if you are the get-it-done-now type. You will have to settle for small incremental, BUT CONTINUOUS, improvement steps.

    You come from such a different world. You will have to take some time to understand this new one. I was a consulting engineer for a steel mill once and was working with one of the newer engineers. His entire career to that point had been in the nuclear industry. I was helping him on a project to install a new air compressor in a small building extension. He was asking all kinds of strange questions. It became clear that he was thinking we were going to have to design the whole air compressor ourselves. When I said no, we can just buy it, he looked at me and said, "You mean you can just buy one?" Now I won't indict the whole nuclear industry with his question, but what it told me was that he came from a world where so few commercial items would work that he assumed you had to design everything from the ground up. My only point is that his was a VERY different world than mine.

    Hang in there. Welding standards may end up being adopted and accepted, but probably only as a result of a culture change.
    Your right... it is a change of culture that im trying to implement. The resistance is inbedded in all but of a few staff here. As the Technical Manager I am responsible here for improving existing products / process's and the design of new and exsisting products. Its a shame the Engineering Manager doeasnt have any balls though as seems happy to just let me get on with it. If it was only the fabricators I had to deal with Id be happy to work with them, the problem however is management related. Shame the owner doesnt see it that way...

    I know this is turning more into a discussion but its always good to see how other people deal with this type of thing.

  6. #6
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    JB, this statement encapsulates work mind-set in the UK.

    "the production guys will not agree to anything that reduces their work time"

    It is very frustrating working in the UK. I recall one upgrade-job I was Project Managing. I had arranged for the draftsmen and a couple of Riggers to be booked into a hotel the night before. We had breakfast and the team headed out to the site. I went off to arrange cranes and other supplies. I got back to the site around 10:00am and everyone was still standing around doing nothing.

    A few quiet internal screams and I asked "why." The lead-hand informed me that everyone on site (the normal workers for that industry) were wearing white coats and had name tags and my team would not start until so kitted out. I got the General Manager to loan us white coats but had to drive to the local news-agents for some pin-on name tags and then we got to work. By then it was lunch time, time for a break. AAaarrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    I empathize with the OP, but there ain't no way to fix the broken work ethic of the UK. I am surprised it is still that way as I am talking of mid 70s when I was there. Unless the OP can get the "ear" of the owner nothing will happen.

    I watched a British building program recently where a kit-house designed and built in Germany was assembled on site. The only two items proved by the Brits was concrete and a crane. The last concrete load for the slab pour was five-hours late!! When the slab had set the German assembly crew were on site at 5:00am and the crane ambled in around 10:00am. Working thirteen-hour days the German team got the building up in four days instead of the six they quoted. The average Brit just doesn't get it, that if they get more work out they can earn more money.

    It is just nuts for the OPs company to want to compete when the workers are steering the ship with thirty-hours of work instead of six to eight.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkertonD View Post
    JB, this statement encapsulates work mind-set in the UK.

    "the production guys will not agree to anything that reduces their work time"

    It is very frustrating working in the UK. I recall one upgrade-job I was Project Managing. I had arranged for the draftsmen and a couple of Riggers to be booked into a hotel the night before. We had breakfast and the team headed out to the site. I went off to arrange cranes and other supplies. I got back to the site around 10:00am and everyone was still standing around doing nothing.

    A few quiet internal screams and I asked "why." The lead-hand informed me that everyone on site (the normal workers for that industry) were wearing white coats and had name tags and my team would not start until so kitted out. I got the General Manager to loan us white coats but had to drive to the local news-agents for some pin-on name tags and then we got to work. By then it was lunch time, time for a break. AAaarrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    I empathize with the OP, but there ain't no way to fix the broken work ethic of the UK. I am surprised it is still that way as I am talking of mid 70s when I was there. Unless the OP can get the "ear" of the owner nothing will happen.

    I watched a British building program recently where a kit-house designed and built in Germany was assembled on site. The only two items proved by the Brits was concrete and a crane. The last concrete load for the slab pour was five-hours late!! When the slab had set the German assembly crew were on site at 5:00am and the crane ambled in around 10:00am. Working thirteen-hour days the German team got the building up in four days instead of the six they quoted. The average Brit just doesn't get it, that if they get more work out they can earn more money.

    It is just nuts for the OPs company to want to compete when the workers are steering the ship with thirty-hours of work instead of six to eight.
    Thats why generally Engineering in this country is in the trouble that it is.

    The big power house companies have it ok but the general lack of skill here is disappointing. Fabricating, machining and the like are trades that teens "fall" into because they were under achievers at school. Younger workers also have this "I am" attitude thinking they know it all....demanding stupid wages and wanting to do little in the way of work.....
    Last edited by MRsmith; 05-24-2012 at 10:48 AM.

  8. #8
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    I feel for you and personally, I would just walk. I see nothing but heartburn and ulcers in it for you. Try to find a company that is really trying to push ahead. Preferably a new start-up that is all gung-ho and hungry.

    I quit mainstream employment when diagnosed with an ulcer at age 27. I resigned the next day and took up contract Engineering and limited those jobs to three-months max. Never looked back. Had an awesome career living and working all around the World on a huge number of projects. Life is a single-pass project.

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