Welding is an essential part of construction and manufacturing. It’s used to connect metals and other materials, and it’s difficult to imagine modern engineering without it. With that being said, the success of any welding project lies in the hands of welding inspectors.
These professionals not only make sure that the welds meet industry standards, but they also enforce safety protocols, inspect welding equipment, and audit production processes. Every year more than 23 million tons of welding materials are inspected in the US alone, making welding inspectors a cornerstone of the construction and manufacturing industry.
So, what is a welding inspector? Keep reading to find out!
What is a welding inspector?A welding inspector is a professional who inspects the welds and areas being welded on construction, industrial or electrical components and then reports back on their quality and safety.
Welding inspectors work as part of a team and often inspect all stages of the welding process. Welding inspectors must have a good understanding of welding techniques, be able to read blueprints and be competent in using welding equipment.
Job descriptionWelding inspectors ensure that welded materials meet all specs and requirements, including those specified by government agencies.
They look out for any imperfections or improperly formed welds that could lead to a lower quality final product and may have either functional or aesthetic implications. The inspector will typically evaluate a potential welding site to make sure that it’s properly set up and that all safety steps are being taken. They’ll then inspect the welded materials and their welds, often using special devices to measure the integrity of the weld or to see if the weld is strong enough to stand up to external forces.
When the welding and testing are finished, the inspector will write up a report and make recommendations for how to correct any issues. If a weld is deemed to be unsatisfactory, it will need to be repaired before being considered acceptable.
A welding inspector generally gives instructions or directions for how to make these repairs.
Duties and responsibilitiesThe primary duty of a welding inspector is to ensure that the welds are of acceptable quality, which includes both aesthetic and functional aspects.
Their other responsibilities include:
- Performing site inspections to ensure that the welding set-up is safe and meets all requirements
- Inspecting welded components and materials
- Using advanced equipment to evaluate the integrity of welds
- Inspecting welded materials closely in order to detect imperfections, malfunctioning welds, etc.
- Writing reports and making recommendations for any corrections or repairs needed
- Providing instructions for how to properly repair welds.
Skills and competenciesWelding inspectors must possess a wide range of skills in order to be successful in their role.
- Strong knowledge of welding techniques
- Familiarity with welding equipment and tools
- Ability to read and interpret blueprints
- Knowledge of government regulations and codes related to welding
- Excellent problem-solving and organizational skills
- Detail-orientation and the ability to recognize small imperfections
- Familiarity with advanced welding equipment and devices
- Computer skills and the ability to use relevant software
- Strong communication and report-writing skills