Know That Your Machines are Working Properly
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was established in 1987. Because of this standardization of quality control specifications, many businesses worldwide have now become ISO compliant. Compliance then brought stringent documentation and auditing of all aspects of manufacturing . This means that any sub-contractor or supplier of the ISO compliant businesses will also have to adhere to the ISO standards, and are subject to the same audits. Even more, welding equipment certification is only part of this standardization.
People often mistake calibrations and certifications for the same process; when in fact, they are two different procedures. Calibrations involve testing the equipment’s meters and adjusting them, if needed, to adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications. Certification is the process of verifying the accuracy of welding equipment meters: volts, amps, wire feed speed… or any metering device critical to the manufacturing process in an ISO compliant facility. Through this process any equipment used in the certification procedure can be traced back to the National Institute of Standards (NIST) by documentation. They do this by having the testing equipment certified annually through a third party facility with (NIST) traceable standards.
The certification process involves testing the welding equipment under a load with a resistive load bank (the welding arc should not be used because it is dynamic and not stable enough for an accurate test). They test the meters through the complete range of the equipment’s capabilities and the manufacturer’s specifications. Then they record This information on a test sheet and with a certification letter along with the test equipment certifications. Additionally, the process ends with the installation of a tamper proof label on the tested equipment with the identification number and date of certification; these are the required elements for an ISO compliant certification.
Each piece of welding equipment with a meter must have a complete certification. Remember the meter and related circuits are being certified, so equipment without meters cannot be certified. If you need equipment certified that isn’t equipped with meters, most manufacturers have meter kit options available. If none are available, we at General Air Service & Supply can provide a custom meter kit built to your specifications.
Certifications should be important to all manufacturers (ISO complaint or not) to ensure the quality of the product being produced. Almost all manufacturers that use welding equipment rely on procedures that are directly related to the output and performance of the equipment. This is why certifications should be a crucial part of any quality assurance program.