Value Impact of Total Welding Management Software

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Optimizing the network of suppliers, subcontractors and their actions can create significant value impact for the industrial manufacturing customer. Therefore new technologies, the principles of lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and Industry 4.0 solutions are reaching across wide supply chains to realize this potential. As in all process driven business, the improvements create a cumulative value impact and span across competing supply chains of multiple collaborating companies1. For a subcontractor to achieve a competitive stance on the market, it needs to be able to collaborate with the whole supply chain in a flexible, agile and transparent manner. Therefore, separate and geographically distributed companies are being integrated more and more by digital technologies, automated processes and data sharing2.

Welding process as a part of a manufacturing supply chain can increase shareholder value by improving value drivers such as revenue growth, operating margin and asset efficiency of the end customer3. This white paper demonstrates the value potential that introducing a welding management software provides on all stages of the welding process from manufacturing planning to final documentation of the deliverables.

Sources of potential value:

Welding management software activates several sources of potential value spread throughout the whole welding process. The value is gathered from minimizing the overall costs related to repair, WPS management, improved prolongation process of welding qualification certificates and improved arc-on time ratio in product refinement.

In this case, we are using case examples based on real life equivalents. However, the actual value potential areas are different for each manufacturer, depending on their situation, production type and location.

Quality control and the cumulative value

Improvements related to quality control cumulate in many ways. Reducing the time one welder uses for repairs also reduces time spent on managing quality issues and turns into more productive welding time.

Estimated cost for repairing welds after the inspection is approximately 400 €/m, when a possible deviation is recognized in NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) inspection inside of the workshop. Even a small improvement will cause immediate savings and decrease the possibility of a larger repairing project. A good example of improved WPS compliance control is KavametOy. This small company in Northern Finland managed to reduce inspection repair rate from 3,2% to a really excellent level, 1,9%. This over 40% improvement produces approximately 2000 € savings for each welder in each coming year. The same improvement in a midsized company with 50 welders will create approximately 100k€ yearly savings.

When the cumulative impact for reduced repair rate is calculated for example for a workshop that produces high quality steel structures with 20 welders, the generated overall value is significant. The same phenomena is valid in shipyards where arc-on time ratio for productive work takes a bigger role. With a large amount of welders, even a slight improvement in repair rate and arc-on time ratio will produce significant savings.

If and when the welds contain deviations such as low penetration, it is important to recognize deviations as soon as possible. Based on KemppiOy welding expert experience, the use of welding management software enables companies to catch welding defects early on. The earlier the defects are caught, the cheaper it is to perform the needed repairs.

The following chart describes the price of a welding defect throughout the welding process.

Deviation recognizing immediately after the welding:

All-round welding management system provides 100% traceability of each weld and owns WPS and personnel qualification compliance control functions. This means that the welding management system verifies the welder qualifications and compares welder performance to the WPS in real time and reports the possible deviation immediately after the welding.

NDT Inspection:

If the deviation is recognized immediately after the welding, the repairing cost is only lost time from productive work. If the deviated weld is recognized in NDT inspection the estimated cost is approximately 400 €/m. Repair cost comprises planning of the rework procedure, time to move the part to the repair location, time to move the welder from one location to another, arc gouging/grinding, heat treatment, repair welding, reinspection by third party and reporting. After this stage the weld is usually accepted, but it is still not a single incident when welders are invited to other side of the continent to repair deviated welds. All this time these welders are off from productive work. Usually the inspection rate is approximately 5-7%. That means 1/20 inspected welds needs repairing work. The example above (Kavamet) already had very good rate of 3,2% but still they managed to decrease that by over 40%.

Liability claim

At this point the welding defect for example with low penetration will cause significant costs. If the deviation is recognized early enough the manufacturer is able to send qualified welders for repairing work.

Total cumulative value impact

The value potential areas are different for each manufacturer depending on their existing situation, production type and location. For each company and scenario, we can calculate the overall value potential of utilizing a welding management software and the actual expected value which takes the companies own estimation of success rate into account. For our example scenario we calculated the following value potential.To generalize the results more we have gathered data from approximately 50 welding management system scenarios and found that the value potential for each aspect of the welding process is the following as presented in Figure-2:

 

For our example scenario we used the calculations presented in Table 1 to estimate the actual expected value for taking the welding management software into use.

Function

VALUE POTENTIAL

Value potential through the decreased repairing cost in third party inspection

55 560,96 €

Value potential for improved arc-time instead of repairing work

14 505,96 €

Value potential through the improved welder prolongation process

3 822,00 €

Value potential through the improved WPS management process

32 613,33 €

 

Key Learnings

 

As the research concerning the transparency of subcontractor supply chains shows, the ability for a subcontractor to provide accurate data on different production processes is a competitive factor now and even more so in the future. Single companies form collaborative networks to boost this ability further and to create value for the manufacturing industrial client. At the same time the subcontractors are able to optimize their own processes by utilizing new digital tools. For welding process this means the use of new solutions for welding management.

The data in this white paper shows that major value generating features provided by a welding management software are the ability to automate the documentation process related to welding and catch defects on an earlier stage. This cumulate the value by improving the arc-on time and reducing time spent on welder qualification certificate and welding procedure management.

For more details write to sales.india@kemppi.com

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