What We See: Weld Defects
A chink in the armor is typically a figure of speech, but anyone who has worked with welding knows that areas of vulnerability in metals are no joke.
Just as the process of welding itself is high risk, components that have been welded are high risk if they haven’t been attended to properly.
Since utility poles bear so much weight and experience so much stress, it is paramount that all welds are secure to avoid disaster.
If the welding job is haphazard to begin with, the result is something that looks like this photo, which is only the beginning of problems for the owner of this pole.
Do you know what to do when you see problems like these in your assets? For what you need to know, here’s what we see: weld defects.
What to Know About Weld Defects
What We See
Weld defects have become a serious issue in Utility T&D circles in the last 8-10 years. Since this is such a common issue, it is more important than ever that you are fully aware of how to protect your assets from shoddy craftsmanship.
In this image, a crack in the toe of the arm shaft to bracket weld was present after the arm was galvanized and installed on the pole.
Under various cyclic and static loads, the crack propagated.
While it may look minor to the untrained eye, this small fissure spells disaster if not addressed immediately.
Repairs and Prevention
It is certain that this type of damage would lead to catastrophic failure. A component this compromised is at risk of falling, resulting in significant damage to your assets and finances, no to mention the risk it presents to any nearby personnel.
Certain steps should be taken to prevent this type of defect from occurring on in-service assets.
First, mandate full penetration welds at this critical connection in order to dictate full NDT inspection of the weld.
Design the arm bracket with a larger bend radius and don’t allow the edges of the arm shaft to come so close to the bend line of the bent bracket. Make sure the arm is designed stiff enough to prevent aeolian vibration and always ensure that a qualified and experienced NDT technician is performing your “post galvanizing” toe crack inspections before materials are shipped to the field.
Trust the Exo Difference
Ultimately, the best approach to asset management and protection is a proactive strategy. A holistic approach to this problem will reduce the overall risk of asset failure on new projects in your system.
Get Started with Exo
Ready to Work With Us?
Our team would love to talk to you, so we can learn about your lighting company’s goals and primary areas of concern. Contact us today, and we’ll help you take the first step in creating a comprehensive lighting asset management program. Give us a call at 281-259-7000.