Project Participants:
Project Start: November 2004

Welding is the primary means of joining structural components in naval vessels. All structural welds are inspected to ensure compliance with the governing specifications. A variety of military and commercial standards may apply depending on the application.

Visual inspection is by far the most widely used weld inspection method. All structural welds are visually inspected for compliance with workmanship and geometric (i.e., weld size) requirements. Acceptance criteria for shipyard visual weld inspections specify minimum requirements and the tendency in shipbuilding is to be over-conservative on weld size. The result is a culture of over-welding that deposits two to three times more weld metal than is needed for structural integrity. In addition, redundant inspections are often performed first by front-line supervisors, then by shipyard quality control inspectors and finally by Navy SUPSHIP inspectors. Since visual inspection is somewhat subjective, welds that pass one inspection may fail subsequent inspections, leading to redundant and unnecessary inspection and repair cycles.

This project seeks to develop a Portable Weld Inspection Management System (PWIMS) that performs quantitative, non-subjective quality measurements and then records the results in an easily accessible format.

PWIMS will be based on commercially-available, technically-proven components that are integrated and customized to meet shipyard inspection needs and include the following components: a portable hand-held laser profile sensor; a portable computer for data collection; a central database repository for inspection data; and data reporting software tools inspection approval and statistical process control.

The system will improve shipyard efficiency by eliminating redundant inspections and unnecessary repair cycles. Further, by recording actual weld size, the system will track weld quality and enable the use of statistical analysis to help identify/reduce over-welding.

Project Related Reports & Documents

Portable Weld Inspection Management System
“Originally presented at SMTC&E 2006, Ft. Lauderdale, October 2006. Reprinted with the permission of the Society of Naval Architects and Maritime Engineers (SNAME). Material originally appearing in SNAME publications cannot be reprinted without written permission from the Society, 601 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City, NJ 07306”

Project Final Report