Welding Data Management: Part – I Framework of the Data Management System


S.K. Gupta,
B.E., C.E., FIE., FIIW.,

PARTS OF THE ARTICLE (Each part will be published in different WeldFab Tech Times Issues.)

Part – I  : Deals with the Framework of Data Based Management system  outlined very briefly.

Part – II : Deals with the Materials used in fabrication and related data.

Part – III : Provides  details of the Data content to formation of WPS,PQR and WPQ.

Part – IV : Deals with the data on Welding Processes, Equipment and Consumables.

Part – V : Illustrates and explains how the Welding Management Software works.


   Welding is used extensively as a major process in fabrication and manufacturing products ranging from Nano components to massive steel structures. Since the inception of shielded arc welding process  in 1907, a proliferation of welding processes and related technologies have been developed now covering a wide range of materials, products and applications in practice.

                         At present, SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, SAW, PAW, FSW, EBW , Resistance  Welding etc are considered to be the basic processes, based on which specialized branch processes have been  developed and effectively applied.

                           It is imperative to mention here that along with the process, development, manufacture and application of welding equipment and consumables have multiplied astronomically.

                           In order to keep up the Quality Standards of the Process and products a large number of Destructive, Nondestructive, Analytical and Statistical Process Control Techniques are in regular practice.

                          International Standards, Codes and Specifications in conjunction of different National Specifications have been formulated on every aspects of Process, Equipment, Consumables, Operators, Operation and Products.

                       All the above mentioned areas covering Welding have generated vast number of Information in the form of Data and also continuing to generate equal volume of it every period of time. It is not possible for any individual or even any manufacturing organization to store, access, retrieve and apply useful data to the best advantage. But, individually if we can identify our needs, store methodically and systematically welding data used in industries, updating these to the current standards and use  Computer Software as the Welding Management System benefits will show all round Production – Operation  Management especially where Welding is used as the main Manufacturing Process.


                  As stated above, variety of joining processes exist including, but not limited to, solid-state bonding, adhesive bonding, resistance welding, and the more traditional arc welding processes. A study of the arc-welding processes shows a trend toward more automation and we can no longer divide these processes into manual, semiautomatic, and automatic categories. Instead, the automatic application of Arc welding can include machine welding or from open-loop control, to fully autonomous closed-loop control variety of fully automatic welding,. As the degree of complexity of automatic arc-welding processes increases, the need for computerized information will also increase.

As a result of this increasing automation, the demand for information is increasing rapidly. As more sophisticated applications of automation are used, two distinct needs for data emerge: First, the complexity of welding systems requires wide dissemination of information about the equipment to enable the prospective buyer to make intelligent choices. Second, the data required to develop appropriate procedure specifications and to program the equipment for automated uses should be readily available in computerized format.

WHAT IS A DATA                              

                      In general term, data indicates mainly of numerical information, character information, and text and associated items including graphics, images, recorded speech, annotated speech, motion images, and knowledge.

Trends and relationships between parameters are illustrated by Graphics. These data are generally stored in the form of an image. Images may be explanatory drawings or photographs that are used to present information.

Another important data is Knowledge information consisting of formulae and other representations.

                 It is an accepted fact now that data collection, storage and retrieval and application cannot be done effectively by human individuals  even by groups. There may also be possibilities of distortion of retrievable data in case of only human inputs and recording.

    With the above background four basic questions come up :

  1. Who will use the data?
  2. Which data are needed?
  • Use of Data Base
  1. How to design, store and retrieve data?
  1. Who will use the Data?
·       Welding Engineers ·       Contractors (small and large)
·       Owners ·       Consultants
·       Designers ·       High Skilled Welders
·       Fabricators and manufacturers ·       Researchers
·       Planning Engineers ·       Academics (limited)
·       Welding engineers and Co-ordinators ·       Code writers
·       Quality Managers ·       Industries with existing databases
·       Inspection laboratories and agencies ·       Manufacturers of Equipment & Consumables


  1. Which Data are needed?

It is understood and accepted that in Fabrication and manufacturing Industries where Welding is the main process, classification of Data used and needed is very difficult. We can at best identify the following as top FOUR needs

  1. General welding procedures and Procedure qualification records
  2. Materials and Properties of materials
  3. Welding Processes, Power Sources. Equipment and Consumables.
  4. Quality Control, Testing, Standards, Codes, Specifications

The above mentioned needs can be elaborated a little more as under:

  1. Preparing and Maintaining Welding Procedure Specification (WPS), Procedure Qualification Records (PQR) and Welders Personnel Qualification Records.
  2. Welding Power Sources with Ancillary Equipment and Consumables
  • Welding power sources type
  • Electrodes and weld metal
  • Shielding and flux material
  • Electrical characteristics
  1. Base-metal Characteristics
  2. Design of Welded Joints and Joint Edge  preparation
  3. Welding position.
  4. Welding process.
  5. Quality level – specifications and codes
  • Uses of Data Base

        A database can be defined as storage of information (Data) in a system which enables entry, updating, editing, retrieval, and dissemination of information. Engineers and Scientists use the Databases as the primary source of information for all types of work for successful application in engineering and scientific problems for solutions.

Databases are growing in popularity because they have many advantages over other sources of data. They are extremely comprehensive. A read-only compact disk (CD-ROM) contains the equivalent of many pages of text. On-line systems have sizes in the gigabyte

(10^-byte) range.

  • Databases can be made, faster, and more convenient to use than other sources of information.
  • With powerful search procedures, they enable one to search many data fields at the same time. This rapid access to many sources of information substantially reduces the time and increases efficiency.
  • Databases facilitate manipulation of the data by rearranging the data into subsets or supersets and changing dimensions and units. Programs can be linked so that specific tasks can be performed within the database or a subset of data can be sent to other software for further processing.
  • The flexibility of a database enables the data to be compared or contrasted in virtually unlimited ways. Every effective way to evaluate comparisons is on the screen, before deciding whether to save the information or to produce a printed copy.
  • Data can be displayed in a wide variety of graphic formats or tables. Desktop publishing programs combine the text, tabular data, and graphic data into a report having the same quality as one that has been typeset.

Data are usually entered into the system from four functions:

  1. At the design stage, where information such as the weld ID number and other design parameters (material type, thickness, joint type, etc) are entered.
  2. At welding engineering, where a welding procedure and possibly class of welder is assigned.
  3. At production, where welders are assigned and the completion of a weld is recorded (usually by entering the date).
  4. At quality control, where acceptance of the weld is recorded by entering test report numbers into the system, or via links to other software systems, such as TWI’s NDT spec.

It should be stressed that these data should be entered live into the system, as fabrication progresses.

  1. Design, Store and Retrieve Data

An Engineering Database should;

  • Be user friendly and easy to operate
  • Provide quick access, easy and fast data retrieval
  • Provide numeric and graphic presentation of information
  • Store a reasonable amount of data
  • Have provisions for back up storage facilities
  • Be available and operate at Low cost.

      In order to satisfy these requirements, a database must facilitate the storage and retrieval of information securely so that no loss is possible and its retrieval must be convenient and fast.   Existing data structures have fast systems that include single structures for multiple-file storage and menu-driven facilities for easy input, editing, retrieval, and manipulation of data. Simple intelligence functions can also be included in data by the user.

A large number of computer softwares have been developed to store welding data, modify and to retrieve as and when required. Such a system will eliminate human error, can link and compare past performances with the present one instantly, may even point out optimum use of resources and parameters for increased efficiency, effectiveness of resources for ultimate gain of productivity and quality improvement.

An integrated system will include:

Part – I : Systematic and classified storage of basic data of Processes, Equipment, Materials, Consumables, Design of Joints and Positions.

  • Design data including joint design graphics and welding symbol information; welds.
  • Base metals and their chemical and mechanical properties. Corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant material information, such as ferrite content and prediction for stainless steel.
  • Histories of welder qualification and the quality of welds by each welder.
  • Welding-procedure information, including WPSs, PQRs, and pre- and post weld heat-treatment information.

Part – II : An Integrated System connecting the basic data to the requirement in order to formulate the desired outcome.

The softwares are all designed to operate in the computing environment of the desktop computer, turning the computer into a welding engineering work station and Tablets for use in the shop floor operational situations.

Database Design –  the elements required for:

  1. Database is a computerized storage, manipulation, and retrieval of information of collection of related data that can be used without knowledge of its storage details.
  2. Data system is a collection of integrated databases.

Building a database includes four primary elements:

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Selection of software and hardware, and
  • These elements are used in decreasing order of the time they require.
  1. Planning

 The key to successful database planning is to keep in mind how the system will be used. The users of the system and their needs must be defined. This study should provide answers to four basic questions stated earlier;

  1. What data are needed?
  2. What are their sources?
  3. How will the data be used?
  4. Who will use the data?
  1. Database Design

Data system is a collection of integrated databases. Building a database includes four primary elements:

  1. Planning the layers of data with priority
  2. Design of the layers of data
  3. Selecting appropriate software and hardware, and
  4. Implementing the design, storage and retrieval.
  1. Planning the layers of data with priority

       The key to successful database planning is to keep in mind how the system will operate for users. The users of the system and their needs must be defined.

  1. Details of data needed.
  2. Sources to collect these data.
  3. User details of such data.
  4. Details of Use of the data.
  1. Design of the layers of data

Design is a technical activity that transforms the data content into three views:

  • External : The external view is that seen by the user.
  • Logical : The logical view represents the data organization and structure, which can be network, hierarchical, or in the more advanced systems, relational and
  • Physical : The physical view of the data is the structure of the data as it exists in the computer system. The result of the design process is an understanding of all data to be included and their relationship.
  1. Selection of appropriate software and hardware

         Once the design stage of the Data Base is completed and the intended use of Data Base is well defined for the user selection of software and hardware follows. Proven softwares which are available in the market should be checked for their appropriateness of the user’s intended use. The selected software is then modified accordingly.

It must be mentioned here that the Basic Logic of the software and the flexibility in accommodating fresh data and output structure is essential for selection and adaptation. . It is valuable for the design of user interfaces and the development of additional interface ideas. Development of manuals and training systems may require quite an effort of building a database. Follow-up activities — continuous replanning and examination of changes that need to be implemented — are essential

At the Design Stage development of a prototype database that can be tested with the potential users of the database and modified as required must be made. In the Implementation stage a   well-defined Prototype Schedule will save time and effort.          

  1. Implementing the design, storage and retrieval

The first step in the Implementation Stage should include development of the prototype database designed so that it can be tested by the user of the database.  At this stage both the Designer and the User must check the intended applicability of the prototype and if required modify / alter / change it. During this period of Prototype testing and acceptance other activities of preparing manuals, training of the user personnel must be completed.

A significant effort required during implementation is in the administration of the database, follow-up activities, continuous re-planning and examination of changes that need to be implemented.  It is typical and to be accepted by all concerned that expectations exceed the capability of the database to fulfill them during the early stages of implementation.


At this stage a little more details of the data headings under which the data can be collected and grouped must be known;

  1. Procedure and Personnel Qualification Records
  2. Materials and Properties of Materials
  3. Welding Processes, Power Sources. Equipment and Consumables
  4. Welding Codes and Standards
  1. Maintaining Procedure and Personnel Qualification Records

The following documents are mandatory to be prepared, qualified and approved by the Purchaser before manufacturing of any welded fabricated structure and product starts.

  • Welding Procedure Specifications
  • Procedure Qualification Records
  • Welders Performance Qualifications
  • Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS)

                The WPSs are prepared to ensure repeatable acceptability of the weld, when the procedure is implemented by trained and qualified professional welders and tested as per qualification standards.
The advantage of computer-aided WPS  is to make sure that essential, supplementary essential, and nonessential variables in Standard Codes like  ASME’s Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section IX, AWS D1.1, API 1104, or any other code being used are being followed to fulfill the requirements. The Fabricator / Manufacturer should have a standard Format of WPS in which relevant data / information / diagrams are incorporated and preparation will then take minimum time. Also past WPSs must be documented in the computer so that references can be made. It has been observed that ASME Section IX if followed meticulously, acceptance by the Client/ Customer will be easier. Every WPS must bear the Company Logo, Address and other details, Serial Number and a Code to identify Product wise WPS.

  • Procedure Qualification Records (PQR)

            Every WPS is to be qualified by PQR, representing a record of the welding variables and the tests conducted to qualify the WPS. The PQR includes the non-destructive and destructive tests based on acceptance criteria as specified in a particular Code or Standard.

Just like WPS Format and details PQR should have the identical system and Markings to connect the related WPS. It must have the test results with certifying testing agency details and credentials. The data entry Engineer must understand the importance of this document for its intrinsic value.

With the emergence of computer software packages that create and manage the PQR and WPS documents, their capabilities have been extended into an area namely welder continuity and certification management. These advanced applications cover the analysis and storage of the welders, plus the WPQRs, which are the official records of a welder’s ability to perform a weld according to a specific welding procedure specification.

  • Welders Performance Qualification (WPQ)

Any welder engaged in welding ferrous, nonferrous metals and alloys must pass the Qualification Tests as specified in the code for a particular product. Such tests involve use of the same welding process to be used in fabrication/welding to a specified Position with Consumables and also following the pre weld and post weld heat treatment procedure. The test pieces will be subjected to non-destructive and destructive testing for qualifying the welder.

WPQs are to be prepared for each welder the organization intends to deploy for the products for which the WPS and PQR have been approved by a Client/Customer. Again a Standard Format is to be used incorporating all the details of the welder and the test details. Just like PQR all the test documentation has to be done thoroughly with cross references.

Every welder qualifying for particular process, engagement details etc. must be listed for any quick reference needed.

With the emergence of computer software packages that create and manage the PQR and WPS documents, their capabilities have been extended into an area namely welder continuity and certification management.  These advanced applications cover the analysis and storage of the welders, plus the WPQRs, which are the official records of a welder’s ability to perform a weld according to a specific welding procedure specification.

  1. Materials in Use and Properties

           The wide use of various Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals in Fabrication and Manufacturing industries with Welding as the main manufacturing process requires access to the properties of each of the metals or alloys.

The common metals and alloys in use are;

  1. Carbon steel
  2. Low-alloy steel
  3. Stainless steel -P6, P7, P8
  4. Nickel-base alloys -P41, P42, P43, P44
  5. Aluminum
  6. Copper-base alloys -P31, P32, P33, P34, P35
  7. Reactive metals — titanium, zirconium


Properties of weld metal Mechanical properties
  Physical Properties

of Material

Other Properties
Ultimate tensile strength Modulus Corrosion rates and fatigue
Ductility Conductivity Chemical properties
Toughness (Kjc, CVN) Density Weldability
Hardness Formability Additional metallurgical characteristics


Creep Machinability a.      Cleanliness

b.      Composition

Fatigue Hardenability c.       Prior history, including thermal treatment
Stress rupture (most lacking in HAZ data) Wear and abrasion characteristics d.      Deformation


  1. Welding Processes, Power Sources and Consumables

This is an area in which the Welding Engineer will have proliferation of data from a large number of Manufacturers of Consumables, Power Sources, Ancillary Equipment and Spares. Data entry in this area to be made precisely on the Power Sources, Gas and Plasma Cutting equipment, Consumables used at the Plant mainly. There must be ways and means to enter Performances. Capacity, Duty Cycle, OCV, Compatibility with equipment, Calibration Records, Maintenance Schedule and Spares are the entries required. Consumables like Electrodes, Gases should have regular entries to compare with a prepared Standard recorded lists.

Power Sources introduced into the market at regular intervals advertise all round  improved performances. A note with records of such items can be made so that during replacement of Power Sources and related equipment it comes handy as reference.

Catalogues, Manuals, Hand Books are regularly published by Consumable and Equipment Manufacturers. Lists can be compiled for performances of commonly used consumables and equipment.

Electrodes selected and used for a particular joint in a project may have so many alternative options, all technically appropriate. But there are factors like cost, bulk supply, daily supply, vendor approved, payment terms, welder friendly, safety are all to be considered for placement of order for a particular brand. The comparative study along with the test results must be recorded as a data base.

Shielding gases and a proper mix can also be done by various means – having cylinders with mixed gas supply, mixing two or three gases in pipeline supply from the liquid gas tanks for bulk supply to shops, cylinders with different gases mixed at the welding point. The Welding Engineer must collect data and enter into the computer as comparative choice with economic and technical factors emphasized.

Specific characteristics of all the inert and active gases must be tabulated to identify particular gas or a mix for specific metal and productive welding.

Unlike earlier years of Welding application in fabrication and manufacturing there may be now a multi process production line in which a combination of Cutting processes for preparation and a combination of Welding processes for fabrication is used. Selection may be from SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, SAW, Resistance Welding, FCAW, PAW with variables associated with each process and for each material.

  1. Welding variables
  • Process
  • Joint design
  • Post weld heat treatment
  • Productivity data, deposition rate
  1. Process quality capability
  • Inspection consideration and standards
  • Selection of inspection process
  1. Shrinkage and distortion— residual stresses
  2. Flaw detection and sizing; nondestructive evaluation
  3. Commercial considerations
  • Suppliers and their location for filler and base metals
  • Foreign equivalents for filler and base metiils
  • Cost of filler and base metals
  • Machinability of base and weld metals
  1. Dissimilar materials
  2. clad materials
  3. Safety
  4. Electrodes and welding machines
  5. Electrical characteristics
  • Phase (primary)
  • Primary voltage
  • Primary amperage
  • Characteristic curve
  • Pulse
  • Wave form and symmetry
  1. Electrodes and filler metal
  • Initial composition — AISI, AWS, or foreign specification
  • All-weld-metal composition
  • Deposition efficiency and rate
  1. Procedure guidelines
  • Position
  • Travel speed
  • Heat input
  • Hardenability
  • Current range
  • Filler-metal diameter
  1. Position capabilities
  2. Heating requirements
  • Preheat
  • Interpass temperature
  • Postweld heating
  1. Weld microstructure
  2. Moisture pickup (content) and shelf life
  3. Arc atmosphere
  1. Welding Codes and Standards

               There are Welding Codes and Standards to be followed in fabrication of structurals and Consumer Goods for which welding documentation has become an essential variable when code-level fabrication is involved. In most cases, the documents required for construction will remain with the structure for the entire existence in an operating production capacity. Codes are updated on a frequency from annually to every five years. This provides up-to-date rules and guidelines on a structured schedule.

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code
  • Indian Standard(BIS)
  • German Standards (DINand others)
  • European Union (CEN) standards
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards
  • British Standards (BS)
  • Australian / New Zealand (AS/NZS) Standards
  • American Welding Society(AWS) Standards
  • American Petroleum Institute (API) Standards
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standards


Today a large number of softwares are available in the market developed by;

  • Equipment manufactures
  • Consumable producers
  • Standard organizations
  • Software specialist firms
  • Large scale fabricators
  • Medium scale manufacturing establishments
  • Others in the field.


A few of the softwares for Welding Management are;

Ø  Welding Management Software

Ø  Welding 4.0-Schweißmanagement-System ewm Xnet Der Schritt zu effizienter und ressourcenschonender Schweißtechnik

  • Welding Information Network (WIN )
  • WELDEYE Software Solutions

Ø  Smart Welding Manager

  • ArcInfois an entry level software solution

Ø  Smart Welding Manager for iOS

The main features of these softwares are;

  • Complete and editable integrated databases of materials, consumables, standards, preparation and pass diagrams
  • Corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant material information, such as ferrite content and prediction for stainless steel welds
  • Design the most durable welds
  • Design information, including joint design graphics and welding symbol information
  • Filler and base metals and their chemical and mechanical properties
  • Personalisable WPS form
  • Histories of welder qualification and the quality of welds by each welder
  • Welding-procedure information, including WPSs, WPR, PQRs, and pre- and postweld heat-treatment information
  • Facilitates welding procedure qualification test
  • Coordinate welders and monitor  production using dashboards
  • Monitoring of welding parameters
  • Contains useful information on some of the most common weld defects
  • ASME IX, AWS D1.1, AWS B2.1, ISO 15614-1, ISO 9606-1 fully supported
  • Integrated welding quality assurance (ISO 3834, ISO 15085, ISO 1090)
  • Automatically identify and trace NDT
  • Fully customizable performance monitoring dashboards
  • lllustrative presentation of welding values for each weld
  • Production Analysis Tracking of arc-on time
  • Provides factual basis for cost calculations
  • Non-arc time tracking with reason codes
  • Timeline graphs grouped by welding station, work shifts or projects
  • Interactive production layout view
  • Create regulatory documentation (welding data book, end of fabrication report).
  • Easy-to-use web-based service
  • Great value for Welding training schools and workshop Welders.