Cleveland-based Barrier (Offshore) Engineering secured a contract to manufacture handrails for offshore service from round, square and rectangular section, Grade 6082T6 aluminium alloy. Their initial unsuccessful attempts to attain weld procedure and welder approvals to BSEN:288 and 287 standards prompted them to call TWI.
At short notice, TWI was able to help under the Joining Forces programme, and a Product and Process Review was conducted to identify problem areas and put forward likely solutions. It concluded that TWI could help the company develop weld procedures to accommodate its manufacturing applications. The review also recommended refresher training for production welders to prepare them for approval tests and the resulting fabrication tasks.
Under a Joining Forces Feasibility Study, weld procedures were developed for a fillet weld between dissimilar thicknesses deposited by the TIG process in the vertical-up and horizontal-vertical positions. Development activities explored the relevance of tungsten electrode diameter, welding parameters, torch attitude, filler wire application and techniques. Refresher training for selected welders was provided and appropriate approvals were successfully attained.
Production of aluminium alloy handrails is now well underway, meeting stringent weld quality criteria.