Published on 23 January 2013
When Bristol company Fulton Boiler Works Ltd had a Product & Process Review, the quality of its arc welding was found to be very good. But like many successful companies, continuous improvement was high on the agenda.
The Review pinpointed several areas where quality-related improvements could be made. For example, enhanced gas purging to minimise the incidence of pores in TIG welds, better storage and control of welding consumables to ensure consistently correct selection, and improvements in material cutting to reduce the grinding needed to achieve accurate fit-up.
Shop floor controls in relation to ISO 9000 were also reviewed, and it was recommended that all standard drawings should include welding procedure reference numbers. Compliance with EN 729 (Quality Requirements for Welding) was considered and became the focus of a related Feasibility Study.
This study recommended that the additions/amendments required for EN 729 should form an addendum to existing ISO 9002 documentation. The requirement for any Authorised Welding Co-ordinator was stressed. It was suggested that the most cost-effective approach would be for the company to appoint a part time, external co-ordinator qualified to European Welding Engineer level.
Welding procedures were also examined and it was concluded that approval testing and issuing of shop floor working documents would benefit from a more systematic approach.
Implementation of these recommendations contributed towards continued improvement and helped the company achieve the manufacturing excellence it sought.
This work was carried out as part of a government-supported Joining Forces programme.
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