Weld Assurance

Digital solutions for data-driven tracking, traceability and troubleshooting in welding operations

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Online data management applications have emerged as a gamechanger, revolutionizing the way welding operations are managed and monitored. The days of guessing and assuming are gone. By leveraging advanced technology, these systems significantly enhance productivity by enabling users to improve overall operational efficiency and provide quality assurance. By monitoring, capturing, tracking and analyzing data, management can now make intelligent decisions based on accurate, real-time information.

WeldCloud by InduSuite is a portfolio of online data management applications that offers a range of solutions to meet the needs of various welding professionals.

The WeldCloud suite of online data management applications is brand agnostic but using it with ESAB’s Warrior Edge power source, which has built-in connectivity, makes data gathering easy.

By using WeldCloud to identify and remove production bottlenecks, users can improve their arc-on time factor by 10 to 50 percent during the first year of implementation. WeldCloud can also eliminate thousands of hours of non-value-added time, boost customer responsiveness, reduce operational costs and increase profit margins.

Online apps

For example, WeldCloud Productivity is designed for operation and production managers to track information generated by the welding process: arc-on time, number of welding sessions, wire use, deposition rate and many other metrics. Users can also “tag” or link this information to provide full weld traceability, which can include barcode/QR code scanning of variables such as operator badges, wire lot and welding procedure specification (WPS). With real-time data and exact numbers, users can gain insight into which operations are running efficiently and which ones need improvement.

WeldCloud Fleet is a service or maintenance manager’s digital assistant designed to manage a fleet of welding equipment across one or multiple locations. With event and service logs, as well as real-time alerts, service managers know which machines are performing well and which machines need service or replacement. WeldCloud Fleet also reminds them of maintenance and calibration schedules, and it lets them update software or welding programs remotely instead of manually configuring each machine.

WeldCloud Notes is ideal for quality control managers because it improves welding documentation by digitizing and automating manual processes. It reduces administration costs, minimizes the risk of liabilities, and ensures compliance and quality assurance in project execution. With procedure qualification record (PQR) and WPS documents in one place, operators can efficiently review all PQR, WPS and welder performance qualifications (WPQ) information with a quick and easy search, generate a PQR or WPQ document with all the essential variables, and avoid a missed qualification deadline or waste resources requalifying welders.

WeldCloud Productivity is designed to track information generated by the welding process such as arc-on time, number of welding sessions and deposition rate.

WeldCloud Assembly complements the current products in the InduSuite platform, including WeldCloud Notes and WeldCloud Productivity, by providing the ability to record welding session data directly from a welding power source and enable immediate comparison to the WPS. If a weld is outside the WPS, the system can send an alert so that users can immediately repair the weld and begin identifying the root cause of problems. This online app offers supervisors and managers a Global Dashboard that provides insight into four areas of project management: current production state of a project, percentage of welds completed, repair rate and welds waiting.

Instead of the tedious process of manually recording welding data, which is also subject to human error and tampering, the process is digitized for speed and accuracy. With the Universal Connector or WeldCloud-enabled power source, welding data for virtually any brand of welder can be recorded and analyzed. By capturing data and linking it to the WPS, users can give their customers greater quality confidence.

Real results

While technically online, these applications can actually be a communication tool between management and operators. At one manufacturing plant, the problem was lack of information coming to the management level. WeldCloud Productivity helped the company figure out production issues.

Typically, production managers think that if they don’t have enough finished product at the end of the shift, it is the fault of the welders and they need to weld faster. Perhaps in some cases that’s true. However, there may be other reasons.

In this company’s case, the causes were so mundane. Common problems at this plant and so many others included lack of proper tools such as grinders and pneumatic needle scalers, waiting for cranes and inconsistent part fit-up. Basically, operators were spending so much time waiting or hunting down tools that it prohibited them from doing their actual job of welding. Because of the data gathered, the operators now know that the management team is there to work with them to solve problems – not to point fingers.

WeldCloud Fleet is designed to manage a fleet of welding equipment across one or multiple locations. It features event and service logs as well as real-time alerts.

At another company, WeldCloud was used to compare operator-reported welding performance with the actual production data captured in real time directly from the welding plant. The analytic capabilities of the online app helped them evaluate heavy production processes. After the first year of monitoring, they achieved a 19 percent reduction in downtime by optimizing welding practices. In addition, by identifying and eliminating waste, they gained an additional 500 hours of productivity per month.

Another example is the time it takes to build a Weld Data Book. Generating a Data Book for a customer could take a manufacturer days or weeks depending on the operation. With an online app like WeldCloud Notes, it now takes minutes. This is because instead of taking days to print, sign, scan, save and merge documents in a single PDF, the app can merge all records into a single “Weld Data Book” digital file.

Proactive approach

For companies monitoring hundreds or thousands of welds over multiple locations, sometimes with third-party contractors, the documentation process is overwhelming. Digital solutions can now turn this headache into a simple process.

By providing a centralized platform for storing, organizing and accessing critical welding data, with a few clicks, welders, inspectors and project managers can easily retrieve information related to welding procedures, specifications and quality control records. This quick access to documentation significantly reduces administrative burdens and allows teams to focus more on actual welding tasks, saving time and improving overall productivity.

Welders can use the data collected in the online applications to optimize performance and compliance to welding procedures, make necessary adjustments, and achieve consistent and high-quality welds. The ability to monitor and improve welder performance not only boosts productivity but also enhances the overall quality and reliability of welded structures. And most importantly, weld failures can be catastrophic and have severe consequences.

Companies that are continuously capturing and analyzing data during the welding process can detect potential defects early on. This allows for immediate corrective action. The ability to identify and address issues promptly helps reduce the number of re-welds required, ensuring that projects progress smoothly and efficiently and minimize wasted time, materials and labor.

Welding certifications and qualifications are essential for ensuring the competence and reliability of welders. However, managing the expiration dates and renewal processes of these qualifications manually can be challenging and prone to errors. Digital weld tracking includes built-in qualification tracking features that automatically notify welding managers and welders well in advance of upcoming qualification deadlines.

WeldCloud Assembly provides the ability to record welding session data directly from a welding power source and enabling immediate comparison to the welding procedure specification.

This proactive approach eliminates the risk of missed deadlines, ensuring that welders maintain their qualifications and can continue working without interruptions. In addition, re-qualifying welders can be a time-consuming and costly process. Digital systems streamline this process by providing a comprehensive overview of welders’ qualifications and their validity status.

With this information readily available, supervisors can efficiently plan and schedule re-qualification activities, avoiding unnecessary downtime and the waste of resources. By simplifying the re-qualification process, these systems contribute to heightened productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Key to success

The WeldCloud suite of online applications is brand agnostic. ESAB machines such as Warrior Edge, which has built-in connectivity, make data gathering easy. In other instances, a Universal Connector option can connect to any brand of power source. All that is required is a strong WiFi signal within the plant (a technician can test signal strength and install additional routers if necessary).

InduSuite’s WeldCloud applications are as easy to install as Office 365, easy to learn and accessible from any web-enabled device. The apps function on a common platform built with state-of-the-art Microsoft Azure. Deploying a digital solution is usually not a technical issue – the key to its success requires finding the right people to bridge the gap between information and operation.

It’s no question that data-driven digital solutions help companies improve efficiency and quality at every step of the fabrication process, from plate to finished product. These solutions are appropriate for operations of all sizes, from global manufacturers to small and mid-sized shops. Today, weld tracking is increasingly important, as is providing assurance that welds conform to the WPS and providing the documentation to prove it. Users don’t need data analytics software to accomplish these goals, but it will increase productivity and provide peace of mind, which is priceless.

ESAB Welding & Cutting

InduSuite

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