Steel King’s welding operations maintain standards set forth by both the American Welding Society (AWS) and the Canadian Weld Bureau (CWB).
Recently both New London and Stevens Point were due for their CWB audit. Certified companies must continually demonstrate compliance with the certification standard. This includes testing of new welders, retesting of existing welders, qualification of new welding procedures, and verification of weld quality.
This part was nothing new. The CWB conducts onsite audits of all certificated companies at least every six months.
What was different this time, according to Quality Manager, Mark Stebbins is that due to COVID-19 and international travel restrictions, “We conducted the shop audit through a Microsoft teams video chat, answering the auditors questions, and showing him details when he requested.”
The audits took about four hours per plant, and both the New London and Stevens Point facilities passed their audits.
The paperwork was submitted by email – from material traceability, welding qualifications, nonconforming material processes, chain of command, quality programs, weld training programs, weld symbol audits, and more.
“These types of audits can be somewhat intense at times,” said Mark.
Companies found to be in non-compliance with the requirement of the standard are given a defined period of time to put a corrective action in place or their certification will be withdrawn. Both plants passed without any major corrective actions to perform.
As the auditor virtually toured the shops, he asked Mark to make stops along the way to inspect various points, such as welder calibration stickers, weld drawings, and frames being welded. Mark was asked to measure the welds with a filet gauge to assure they are welding according to print.
Material tags were inspected, and material certifications were reviewed for randomly selected work orders. “We had to prove the material we purchased was what the engineering department specified,” said Mark.
Although it was the first time this process was done by remote audit, Mark thought it went smoothly and quite efficiently by video.