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These articles are intended as a very general guide to ASME 9. They are a collection of my own
personal notes which were written to aid my understanding of the code. There are certain
exceptions in the code that are not covered in these articles, therefore you are urged to study the
code carefully before using its rules to carry out any welding qualifications.


! Brief Introduction
! Download ASME suggested forms
! Procedure Qualification Record (PQR)
! Welding Performance Qualification (WPQ)
! ASME definitions for welding processes, consumables and welding positions
! ASME Approval Range Calculator
! ASME P Material Numbers
! Graphic Representation of Welding Positions
! Multi Process Welding Procedures QW200.4 and QW451.1


Welding qualifications to ASME 9 are for use with the ASME boiler and pressure vessel code or the
ASME pipe work codes. For use with any other code or standard agreement between all contracting
parties should be obtained.

The ASME boiler and pressure vessel code embraces its own QA system which revolves around
satisfying the rules of the code. This demonstrates that an accredited fabricator has some degree of
competence permitting them to perform a large amount of their own inspection without the
involvement of an Independent Inspection Body, which would be required by other standards for
similar inspections.

This is why welding qualifications were usually carried out under the ASME code because it does
not require independent inspection. A fabricator can qualify its own procedures and welders using
the ASME code rules. However this may not be acceptable to the European Pressure Equipment
Directive which requires all welding qualifications in inspection categories two and above to be
approved by a Notified Body. ± Article II: Welding Procedure Qualifications, QW ± 200.2

However there is nothing stopping anybody using any of the rules of the ASME code without being
ASME approved, but to prove your competence in welding an Independent Inspection Body is
recommended to approve your welding tests.

The advantage of ASME 9 is that it¶s very workable and very comprehensive, if you have a question
you will almost certainly find an answer somewhere in the code, which is more than can be said for
its European equivalent EN ISO 15614-1 (formerly EN288-3).

The ASME code may at first glance appear complex and very legalistic but once you understand the
basic rules they are very easy to apply in practice. Its main advantage is that it requires very few
welding procedures unlike EN ISO 15614-1 which requires a ridiculous number if it is applied

The main advantages of ASME welding procedures are:-

ü All joint types approve each other. i.e. A double sided weld approves a single sided weld and
vice versa.

ü No limits on diameter approval for pipe. A plate procedures can be used to weld any diameter
of pipe

ü Materials and welding consumables are listed in groups, unfortunately only American grades
are included!

ü Any butt weld will qualify all fillet weld sizes on any parent metal thickness.

ü A welding procedure qualified in one position approves all positions unless impact tests are
required then only a vertical up approves all positions.

ü The code covers wide range of welding processes and applications such as hard facing, stud
welding, brazing etc.
If you have difficulty in appreciating the above advantages you need to understand the basic
philosophy behind welding procedure tests described in the µBasic Guide¶.

The main advantages of ASME welder approval tests are:-

ü There is no minimum parent metal thickness, only maximum, and they are applied to the
deposited thickness of the weld not the parent metal thickness.

ü There is no upper limit on diameter approval, only a lower limit.

ü Any butt weld approval will qualify all fillet weld sizes on any parent metal thickness.
{Unfortunately unlike EN287 a butt weld carried out in the flat position will not qualify a fillet
weld in the conventional horizontal position, to qualify this, your butt weld approval must
include the horizontal position}.

The main problem with the ASME code is that it treats all welding processes separately and
imposes separate restrictions for each on both procedures and approvals. It is therefore prudent to
check what the code says about the welding process you intend to use before you carry out any
welding tests.

The ASME code covers a very wide range of welding processes and applications such as hard
facing, stud welding, brazing etc.

Application standards such as the B31 pipe work code may impose additional requirements and
limitations in some cases.

The code is divided into 4 parts as follows:

QW100 General introduction to testing requirements etc.

QW200 Procedure Qualification details.

QW300 Performance Qualifications (Welder Approvals) details.

QW400 Welding Data. This is the biggest section of the code and covers data for
both procedure and performance qualifications. It includes :-

! Material and consumable data

! Test requirements.
! Approval ranges for thickness, diameter, joint configuration and welding
! Definitions used in the code.


PQR's are not required if Standard Welding Procedures are used, see below for details.

This document contains details of the welding test, it must include details of all the parameters listed as
variables in tables QW250 to QW265 for each process involved and all the destructive test results.

The relevant variables for each type of welding process are clearly defined in tables QW250 to QW265.
The left hand column of each table defines the section and paragraph where each variable and its
application to the table is explained in the code.


Variables used in a welding procedure test are divided into 3 categories :-

!   Are variables that have a significant affect on the mechanical properties of a
joint. They must not be changed except within the limits specified by this code. e.g. Material
thickness range, Material Group etc.

! Œ
  Are variables that have no significant affect on mechanical properties.
They can be changed without re qualification of the PQR.

!    Are variables that have an affect on the impact properties of a joint.
They are classed as Non-Essential if impact testing is not required

All variables listed as essential, non-essential or supplementary should be addressed on both the WPS
and the PQR. If any of the variables do not apply to the particular application then they should be
specified as not applicable.


Either plate or pipe can be used for the test piece (plate approves pipe and vice versa ref. QW211), any
welding position approves all positions providing no impact tests are required ref. tables QW250 to
QW265 and any joint geometry approves all geometry's, e.g. single V, double V, U prep, backed or

A butt or groove weld approves branch and fillet welds but not the converse, ref. QW202. Non pressure
retaining fillet welds in pipe or plate can be tested but they must be double sided if plate and at least the
dimensions illustrated in QW462.4a, ref. QW202.2c. Pressure retaining branch welds must be qualified by
groove (butt) welds.


Materials are assigned P numbers in QW420; a test in one P number approves all materials listed under
that P number, except where impact tests are required then approval is restricted to materials listed in the
group number within the P number. Other P number groupings are permissible ref. QW424.1 for details.
Ref QW 424.1 for further details.

It is normally permissible if the material is not listed in QW422 to assign it to a P number which lists
materials with the same metallurgical and mechanical properties although this is not in strict conformance
with the code. Typically BS1501 151 430A low carbon steel could be regarded as P1 and stainless steels
such as 316, 304 as P8.

Note P5, 9 & 10 are divided into sub groups e.g. 5A, 5B etc., Treat each sub group like a separate P

Dissimilar materials are acceptable providing they are compatible. For example P1 to P8, but this does
not cover P1 to P1 or P8 to P8.

Note S numbers are for pipe work to B31, a P number covers an S number but not the converse

The ASME code uses its own specifications for consumables $cwhich is almost identical to the AWS

Πc %
& %%$   c

% ()
Thickness limits Groove welds. See QW451 for precise details.

! When Impact tests are required the minimum thickness approved is restricted. See QW403.6
! More than one PQR may be required to qualify dissimilar thickness

The thickness little ËË of deposited weld metal for each process involved is approved from 0 to 2x the t

! MIG/MAG (GMAW/FCAW) dip transfer weld of deposited thickness less than ½" approves
maximum thickness of 1.1 x t only Ref: QW255 (QW403.10)

! If any Pass in a single or multi-pass weld > ½" then the thickness approval equals 1.1xT

Dissimilar Thickness QW202.4:- The thicker and thinner part must be qualified, Except P8 and P4X the
thinner part can be qualified if no Impacts and test coupon > 6mm thick.

Thickness limits for fillet welds as per QW462.4a or QW462.4d qualify all fillet weld sizes on all base
material thicknesses and all diameters in one test.

*  +,-

Unlike EN288 there is no requirement for any non-destructive testing such as radiography or MPI/DPI,
although I would recommend radiography for butt welds.

The testing requirement for groove welds are as follows:-

! Two Transverse tensile tests (QW150).

! Two Root bends and Two face bends unless the plate thickness exceeds 3/8" then 4 side bends
are required. All bend tests should be done to QW160 using the correct former ref. QW466 to an
angle of 180 degrees. Longitudinal (all weld) bend tests are not recommended unless the
base/weld materials differ markedly in bending properties. See QW 466 for exceptions and
precise details.

The testing requirement for fillet welds on plate is 5 macro sections only, for Pipe fillet welds 4 macro
sections. No fracture test required.


This document details the practical application of the Procedure Qualification Record (PQR). It should
contain enough information to give direction to the welder and should address all variables associated
with the welding process defined in QW250 including non essential and supplementary.

A WPS can combine welding processes from other PQR's but all the relevant variables must be
addressed including parent metal thickness. There is an exception to this rule for root runs from PQR's
that are greater than 1.5 inches thick (38.1mm), see code for details.


Standard welding procedures listed in annex E of ASME IX can be purchased from the 'American
Welding Society' and used without qualifying a PQR. Section V of ASME IX gives details of essential
variables and restrictions. A successful welder performance qualification must be carried out to
demonstrate the SWP's before a manufacturer can use it.


The purpose of this test is to determine the welders ability to deposit a sound weld therefore the base
material is not considered as critical as it is in the PQR. Hence a performance test on any material in
P groups 1 to 11 approves all those groups and sub groups, also P34 and P4X (P40-P49). Providing
a compatible consumable exists with the same F number used in the qualification test. (QW423.1)

Note a single sided weld is classed as a weld without backing and a double sided weld or weld with
sealing run is classed as a weld with backing

The F number cannot be changed without re qualification of the welder except that for performance
qualification only using SMAW (MMA) F numbers up to and including 4 approve all lesser F numbers
for double sided or welds with backing
 . One Consumable from F41 To F45 approves any of
these consumables, except SAW. Ref.+.+'//.

Note 'A' numbers do not apply to welder approval tests.

For each welding process there is a list of essential variables in QW352 to QW357 and QW360 for
welding operators, these are not necessarily the same as the ones for the PQR. Essential variables
cannot be changed. Explanations of all these variables is given in section IV of the code.

0  % (

Diameter limits for all circular welds including groove welds, branch welds and fillet welds is given in
QW452.3. there are no upper limits on diameters approved and pipe covers plate

Note for branch welds the diameter considered for the above limits is the one containing the weld

Thickness limits, groove welds.

The thickness limit only applies to the deposited weld metal thickness not the plate thickness and any
groove weld approves all fillet weld sizes.
For t greater than 12.5mm there is no restriction on the size that can be welded (Providing the test
weld deposit contains at least 3 layers of weld).

Thickness limits, fillet welds.

A test on plate greater than 3/16" approves all base metal thicknesses and fillet weld sizes ref.
QW452.5. (Note the above diameter limits apply unless the fillet weld is qualified by a groove weld)


Joint geometry, a double V (or U) is considered the same as a joint with backing and does not qualify
a single V (or U) without backing, but a single full penetration joint without backing qualifies all joint

Extent of approval is very well explained in QW461.9. Take particular note of welding positions which
are also explained in QW461, for example to qualify a fillet weld in the normal horizontal-vertical
position with a groove weld, the groove weld must be qualified in at least the 2G position. The
welding positions defined in QW461.1.& QW461.2 should be referred to in the WPS. The position
designations: 1G ,2G ,3G ,4G ,5G ,6G (Groove Welds) and 1F ,2F ,3F ,4F (Fillet Welds) are test


Providing the welder uses the process for which he is qualified and there is no reason to question his
ability then his qualification lasts indefinitely.

If the welder does not use the welding process for which he is qualified for a period of 6 months or
more then he must perform a new test in pipe or plate, any parent material, thickness and position, if
successful all the welder approvals for that welding process are renewed in one test.

Test requirements for groove welds QW452 consists of either:-

! One face bend and one root bend except for welding positions ÿ#4,# which require +
 Ref QW452.1 Note 4). If the plate exceeds 3/8" side bends may be used. See QW
466 for precise details and exceptions.

 % 6 

 % is optional and must be supplemented by bend tests when using GMAW
(MIG/MAG) with dip transfer (Short Circuiting Arc) or when welding some special materials.
Ref. QW304.

Test requirements for fillet welds in plate ref. QW452.5:-

! One macro section (QW 184) and One fracture test (QW182).

The location where each specimen has to be taken is defined in QW463

 % //

! A length of at least 6" must be examined for plate or the entire circumference for pipe.
! If the pipe circumference is less than 6" then more samples must be welded up to a
maximum of 4. Ref QW 302.2.

Performance test coupons must show complete joint penetration with full fusion of the weld metal
and base metal.

The welder performance test must follow a properly qualified W.P.S. Once qualified the welder must
always work within the extent of approval of any properly qualified W.P.S. and his W.P.Q.

The welder who qualifies the P.Q.R. is automatically approved within the limits specified in QW304,
QW305 and QW303. Ref QW301.2.


Such as corrosion resistant overlay or hard facing are covered in QW 453.
Procedure variables are defined with all procedure variables in QW252 and in QW380 for welder

Min base thickness approved = size welded or 1", QW 453

Min Deposit Size Approved:- Point Where Chemical analysis taken No upper limit QW402.16
(462.5a) Welding Positions QW405.4 Performance Qualification approves all deposit thickness¶ No

c 0

ASME P Material Numbers Explained

ASME has adopted their own designation for welding processes, which are very different from the
ISO definitions adopted by EN24063.


OFW Oxyfuel Gas Welding
SMAW Shielded Metal Arc Welding (MMA)
SAW Submerged Arc Welding
GMAW Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG/MAG)
FCAW Flux Cored Wire
GTAW Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG)
PAW Plasma Arc Welding

Straight polarity = Electrode - ve

Reverse polarity = Electrode + ve

c $Π 

1 Heavy rutile coated iron powder electrodes :- A5.1 : E7024
2 Most Rutile consumables such as :- A5.1 : E6013
3 Cellulosic electrodes such as :- A5.1 : E6011
4 Basic coated electrodes such as : A5.1 : E7016 and E7018
5 High alloy austenitic stainless steel and duplex :- A5.4 : E316L-16
6 Any steel solid or cored wire (with flux or metal)
2X Aluminium and its alloys
3X Copper and its alloys
4X Nickel alloys
5X Titanium
6X Zirconium
7X Hard Facing Overlay

Note:- X represents any number 0 to 9

c cΠ 
These refer to the chemical analysis of the deposited weld and not the parent material. They only
apply to welding procedures in steel materials.

A1 Plain unalloyed carbon manganese steels.

A2 to A4 Low alloy steels containing Moly and Chrome Moly
A8 Austenitic stainless steels such as type 316.


# %  

Note the welding progression, (vertically upwards or downwards), must always be stated and it is an
essential variable for both procedures and performance qualifications.

Welding Positions For Groove welds:-



Flat 1G PA
Horizontal 2G PC
Vertical Upwards Progression 3G PF
Vertical Downwards Progression 3G PG
Overhead 4G PE
Pipe Fixed Horizontal 5G PF
Pipe Fixed @ 45 degrees Upwards 6G HL045
Pipe Fixed @ 45 degrees Downwards 6G JL045

Welding Positions For Fillet welds:-



Flat (Weld flat joint at 45 degrees) 1F PA
Horizontal 2F PB
Horizontal Rotated 2FR PB
Vertical Upwards Progression 3F PF
Vertical Downwards Progression 3F PG
Overhead 4F PD
Pipe Fixed Horizontal 5F PF


+-/'/ +,/'3
Basically there are three inclinations involved.

! Flat, which includes from 0 to 15 degrees inclination

! 15 - 80 degrees inclination
! Vertical, 80 - 90 degrees

For each of these inclinations the weld can be rotated from the flat position to Horizontal to


 3..'+ +ÿ/'/

Base Metal approval range for the above welded joint is 4.76mm To 52mm Ref QW451.1

If the joint is made of more than one welding process then the maximum deposited thickness each
process in the above example is (2 x Deposited Weld Metal t) :- GTAW 12mm and SMAW 52mm (This
is because t = T for this process as t > 19.1mm QW451.1)

If the SMAW deposit in the above qualification was less than 19.1mm, assume 18mm and GTAW 8mm
then to weld a joint 52mm thick with 8mm GTAW and 44mm SMAW is not permitted as maximum SMAW
deposit would be 36mm

You can delete the SMAW and qualify an all GTAW weld 4.76mm To 12mm thick or delete the GTAW
and weld SMAW 4.76mm to 52mm thick, providing all the essential, non essential and supplementary
variables are applied to the WPS. (Note the procedure allows the SMAW to be used as a root run but not
the welder qualification.)

When tested the deposited weld metal of each process must be included in the tension and bend test
specimens and impacts where applicable. Note it is acceptable for the impact test for the GTAW to
contain some SMAW in the test specimen.

"; <3..'+=Œ
This applies to test coupons 13mm and thicker and welding processes SMAW, SAW, GTAW, GMAW. A
WPS consisting of several processes can be created from different PQR¶s, but the maximum thickness of
base metal covered by this WPS can¶t exceed 2 x the thickness of the thinnest test coupon used for each
PQR and each process can¶t exceed 2 x its deposited thickness. This applies even if all the processes
used for that coupon are not required in this WPS. However the base metal thickness of the PQR used
for the root does not have to be considered if the WPS is single sided QW200.4 b

Note test coupons 38mm and above approve deposited weld metal and also base metal thickness up to
200mm max QW451.1. (QW403.7 Processe GTAW,SMAW,GMAW,SAW)
Can the proposed PQR be made from the above example + PQR 2 + PQR 3.

Consider individual deposited thickness 2 x t

GTAW 12mm > 6mm. SMAW 60mm > 39mm. GMAW 66mm > 20mm All OK

Consider Plate thickness 2 x T

SMAW 60mm <65mm Fail. GMAW 66mm > 65mm OK. GTAW not considered.


)0$ cŒ"8c)$"c Œ
If you want to weld a 30mm plate and your welder qualifications only go up to 15mm use two
welders. You can¶t use one welder with two different qualifications for the same process


Welding Procedures, Welder Approvals and Welding Procedure Specifications explained.


An introduction to
European Welding
Standards. (427Kb
pdf File)
ß  #  
A basic introduction to
Welding qualifications
and why they are
Welding Procedure
Specifications to EN
ISO 15609-1 (formerly
EN288 Part 2). Why
are they required and
what should they
ß c   
Guidance on the qualification of welding procedures and the performance testing of welders
to section 9 of the ASME boiler and pressure vessel code. Approval Range Calculator.

These new standards are renumbered and updated versions of the old EN288
series. Information is also provided about the older standards.
NEW Approval Range Calculator.

ß c 
 1 % 
Guidance on the qualification of welding operators to EN and ASME Rules
c %

Royal & SunAlliance is probably one of the most helpful Inspection agencies around.


: whilst I am prepared to answer your questions, I can't supply copies or extracts of
standards because they are all subject to copyright law. However copies of most standards can
be purchased online from the various standards authorities, see LINKS for their web site
Page last updated 23
October 2009