Eighty-one people attended the 75th NCPWB Technical Conference to learn about a wide variety of topics including: The Value Chain Approach to Welding Management, Mechanizing the Welding Industry, Brittle Fracture Risk of Carbon Steel Piping, Fabrication Measurement, and Predictive Management. The conference took place at The Resort at Longboat Key Club in Longboat Key, FL from April 29-30, 2019.
Bob Bolton Provided an MCAA Update
MCAA Senior Vice President/Treasurer Bob Bolton, who also serves on the association’s Board of Directors, thanked the NCPWB Technical Committee for the opportunity to address the conference. He also recognized Bob Silvia, Chairman of the NCPWB Board of Trustees, for his many years of service.
Bolton emphasized the importance of the work that both labor and management do to address industry challenges, saying “Together, we are tackling pressure testing injuries and fatalities with leadership on a draft ANSI standard that will help keep our workers safe when they test steel and copper piping systems. I’m pleased to say that the standard is well on its way to being finalized later this year.”
He noted that we developed the National Welder Database together, then made it even better with the debut of the Next Generation National Welder Database last December.
“The UA and MCAA are laser-focused on training, on bringing technological advances into our industry, and on providing opportunities for career growth to each of us – so we can take our careers as far as our abilities will enable us,” he said. He then went on to describe some of MCAA’s educational events.
He also highlighted MCAA’s expanding library of educational and business resources, noting that they are all available free on mcaa.org as a benefit of membership in MCAA.
Randy Gandy Shared the Latest UA Activities
United Association (UA) Training Specialist Randy Gandy provided an update on the UA’s activities, which include the development of a new plastic pipe fusion welder qualification to ASME Section IX (PE-9). Once qualified, fusion operators will be permitted to join PE-20708, PE-3608, and PE-4710 on piping less than 8” in diameter in the horizontal position, plus or minus 45 degrees, using McElroy fusing machines. He noted that administration of the new test will require two additional individuals: a data logger and someone capable of reviewing the data acquisition and documenting the results on a review report. A sample report will be part of the UA weld test package provided on UANet.org.
He noted that the UA’s pilot program on the use of bend testing equipment to examine UA weld test coupons is proving to be successful.
In addition, he mentioned that the UA has expanded its use of UA local union facilities to operate its accelerated welder training program.
Presentations Showcased Automation and Use of New Technologies
Justin Morse with Kiewit Power Constructors Inc. highlighted the value chain approach to welding improvement, which examines metrics to improve quality, eliminate waste, and increase productivity. He advocated leveraging automation and new welding technologies to reduce project cost, much as the manufacturing industry has reduced product costs. By using processes like short-circuit and advanced waveform pulsing GMAW and inspection techniques such as phase array ultrasonic testing, companies can gain a competitive edge in today’s increasingly more complex business environment.
Christian Trudel of Tecnar Automation highlighted the market forces driving the evolution of pipe prefabrication and advocated automation as the solution to these challenges. He explained how companies can maximize the welding performance of a typical spool shop using automated welding stations such as the Rotoweld 3.0. These stations provide tools to assist welders in delivering high quality welds in accordance with ASME standards, which in return increases production and a company’s bottom line.
Dale Flood with Tri Tool Inc. focused on productivity’s role in enabling contractors to secure more work, thus keeping fabrication in the United States. To remain relevant, he said, welders must constantly sharpen their skills and embrace new technologies. He cited Rick Calverley, Director of Education at Lincoln College of Technology, stating, “We need to be driving our students to the technology and not away from it. You just need to think about 10 years from now, and you know that technology is going to roll over again into something different. These students are going to be a part of that as well.”
Kenny Ruggles, an International Representative at the United Association, noted that U.S. Department of Labor projections indicate that the construction industry will face a shortage of 12,850 welders annually by 2024. He then provided an update on how the UA is addressing this anticipated shortage. These efforts include monitoring and sharing information about upcoming projects and organizing non-union welders. The UA also has implemented welder finishing schools that recruit those with prior welding experience, train them, and enroll them into either an apprenticeship program or as provisional journeymen.
Barry Messer, Technical Director for Metallurgy and Welding at Fluor Corp and Messer Engineer Ltd., provided an overview of new brittle fracture susceptibility in carbon steel pipe, fittings, and flanges that meet ASME Code. He explained how severe reductions of the toughness properties of new-fabrication carbon steel piping components have created a new brittle fracture risk in the last few years. He also offered guidance on how to avoid low toughness and mitigate the risks of in-service brittle fracture.
Britton Langdon of MSUITE, creators of FabPro software, focused on fabrication measurement and predictive management. With the increasing scope of projects going through fabrication facilities, he said, it is imperative that contractors and shop foremen have a real-time understanding of how the shop is performing, how long the work will take, and whether the shop will meet the delivery dates that have been set. With accurate shop tracking and predictive analytics, shop foremen can better manage their work with far less effort.
Aaron Hall Recognized for Board Service
Aaron Hall was recognized for his long-time service on the NCPWB Board of Trustees.
Akron Chapter Recognized for Membership Gains
The Akron NCPWB Chapter was recognized for its marketing efforts, which resulted in the largest membership gain in 2018.
Individuals Recognized for Attendance
Five individuals were recognized for attending five consecutive NCPWB Technical Conferences. The recipients, pictured left to right holding their award certificates, are: Aaron Hall; John H. Kerr; Jack Weaver; Bob Silvia, Chairman of the NCPWB Board of Trustees; and Mike Schum, NCPWB Technical Conference Chair.
Join us Next Year
Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 2020 NCPWB Technical Conference, which will be held April 26-29, 2020 at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC.