NCPWB Annual Meeting Highlights Advancements and Best Practices

May 19, 2017

The NCPWB Spring Technical Committee Meeting provided a wide range of information including best practices for brazing copper joints in high-pressure HVACR application, using advanced GMAW (MIG) in the field, addressing the challenges of welding Grade 91 (9Cr-1Mo-V) Chromium-Molybdenum steel, tips for using Pipe Fabrication Institute standards.  The event took place April 23-26, 2017 in San Antonio.

MCAA President-Elect Mike Brandt Addressed the NCPWB Technical Committee

Mike Brandt

MCAA President-Elect Mike Brandt, a long-time member of the NCPWB Technical Committee, addressed the audience.  He congratulated the Bureau and the attendees for the work that they do for the industry. Mike then told attendees how his employees have taken advantage of the many educational programs the MCAA offers and encouraged everyone to do the same.

“After three plus decades in this industry, I know pretty well the opportunities and challenges we face as union mechanical contractors. And I know the real value, both professionally and personally, of being an MCAA contractor.”

— MCAA President-Elect Mike Brandt

Mike also talked about the great relationship between the MCAA and the UA. He said MCAA contractors recognize the advantage of the skilled labor that the union provides, noting that the UA has been the leading source of trained labor for over 126 years.

He shared some of the educational programs that MCAA offers to its members. Mike concluded by thanking everyone for their involvement in the organization.

“It’s clear to all of us that the Pipe Welding Bureau is making tremendous contributions, and I applaud the Board of Trustees, Nick and all of you for your hard work and your continued success.”

— MCAA President-Elect Mike Brandt

UA Welding Program Update

Randy Gandy

The UA’s Randy Gandy informed attendees about advancements in technology and encouraged them to embrace new technologies. He noted that these advancements require future welders to be highly skilled. As part of the UA’s training program, new journeymen and apprentices will be exposed to some, if not all, new technologies such as:

  • Friction Stir
  • Laser Alignment Pipe End Prep Equipment
  • Laser Beam Welding
  • Lincoln STT
  • Mega Stir
  • Miller RMD
  • Motion Tracking
  • Pipe Purging
  • Spin Arc
  • Weld Track Monitoring

The UA has launched its new welding manual, Welding Practices and Procedures for the Pipe Trades, which covers the SMAW/GTAW and GMAW processes. The UA’s Oxy Fuel/Plasma Cutting Manual and online Instructor Resource Library (IRL) and Student Resource Library (SRL) are also being updated. Two new courses have been implemented over the past two years with great success Emerging Welding Technologies and Innovative Welding Techniques.

Use of Ultrasonic phase array testing, a powerful NDT technology, has grown tremendously over the past two years both in the field and in pipe fabrication shops. The UA Training Department has developed a Phased Array Analysis course to educate instructors about the testing equipment as well as the imperfections of specific welding techniques.

To keep up with the ever-changing demands of our industry and contractors, the UA is implementing new training courses at both its Instructor Training Program (ITP) and regionally. New courses being offered during 2017 include:

  • AWS-CWI 9 Year Re-certification
  • Clamping, Reforming and Aligning Pipe
  • Operations of a UA Weld Test Facility
  • Pipe Line Distribution
  • Precision End Preparation and Field Machining Pipe Review

To support Local Unions in the training of their members while meeting contractor demands, the UA has set up three welding trailers that offer RMD, STT and TIP TIG welding processes.  The trailers can be used to certify welders at job sites, saving contractors time and the expense of pulling welders off the job to certify them.

Presentations at the NCPWB Technical Committee

How to Put Together a Weld Submittal Package

Steve Millmann

Steve Millmann of Hooper Corporation demonstrated how to put together a weld submittal package. He explained the requirements in a specification and the process for selecting Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) and corresponding Welder Performance Qualification Test (WPQT) records that meet the requirements. The submittal package included the welder’s qualification and continuity records along with a continuity log to record future welding activities (continuity dates). He noted that it is a good practice to include a letter of good standing from the local NCPWB chapter in the submittal package.

On-site Fabrication of High Pressure Brazed Joints

Dale Powell

Dale L. Powell of the Copper Development Association provided information on the critical steps required for the on-site fabrication of trouble-free high pressure, brazed joints using copper and copper alloy tube and fittings. He delved into the science behind copper alloy brazing and covered installation data related to brazing new copper iron alloy tubes and fittings.

GMAW in the Field

James Byrne

James Byrne of Miller Electric discussed the use of GMAW (MIG) in the field and how it is different from the traditional processes SMAW (stick) and GTAW (TIG) previously used in field welding. He talked about how variables can affect the condition of the weld. He also explained how those variables (different tip sizes, tip types, nozzles, wires, gun angles, gas selections, gas flow, wire sizes, drive roll alignment, drive roll tensioners, etc.) can affect the condition of the weld and how a welder can manage those variables.

How TIP TIG Has Changed P91 Welds

Charles Patrick

Charles W. “Pat” Patrick of ALS Maverick Testing Laboratories, Inc. explained how TIP TIG has changed how P91 materials can be welded for either shop or field fabrication. He stated that the TIP TIG system is cost-effective and can be used for the entire weld from root to cap producing the high-quality welds that the industry expects from the GTAW process. He also talked about Grade 91 materials in power piping systems and explained the reason for low impact values of weld metal produced by some semi-automatic hot wire processes. He noted that the dynamics of the weld pool during deposition and the heat flow during solidification play important roles in the resulting mechanical properties of the weld metal.

Pipe Fabrication Standards and Use

Ned Hawkins

Ned T. Hawkins of W. Soule & Company presented the history of pipe fabrication standards and demonstrated how the standards are used. He also discussed the Pipe Fabrication Institute’s (PFI) membership and meeting structures.

Award Recipients

NCPWB Chapter of Eastern Pennsylvania

Tim Brink and Jim Dougherty

The NCPWB chapter of Eastern Pennsylvania was recognized for its marketing efforts, which resulted in the largest membership gain in 2016.

Tim Brink and Jim Dougherty, Jr. (center) received the award on behalf of the chapter. Presenters Bob Silvia (left) and Bob Durr, Jr. (right).

Attendace Recognition

Randy Borman, Brian Boseo and Don Rockwell (center) were recognized for attending five consecutive NCPWB Technical Committee annual meetings. They received certificates from Bob Silvia (left) and Bob Durr, Jr. (right).


Join us Next Year

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the NCPWB Spring Technical Committee Meeting, which will be held April 21-25, 2018 at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA.

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