IT in Welding and Cutting for the Welding Engineer — PC Programs and the Internet

The PC has now become an essential tool in the work of the engineer for not only word processing but also specialized tasks such as in design, simulation and performance assessment. Within the manufacturing industry sector, most engineers have access to a PC and the vast majority can be classed as frequent users. It is not surprising, therefore, that in response to the growing market demand, a wide range of computer programs have been written specifically for the welding engineer. Whilst PC programs can be considered to be a mature source of welding engineering IT, over the last year the Internet has emerged as a new exciting source of welding related information.

As the Internet is already widely used by many welding engineers as a source of IT, guidelines are provided on how the vast amount of information on welding engineering related topics can be accessed.

Welding engineering software for the PC

The first IT packages written for the welding engineer were for carrying out simple calculations such as the preheat temperature level to avoid hydrogen cracking. However, as the PC became more powerful (faster computing speeds and additional memory), their use was extended to mass storage of information in databases such as for welding procedures and welder qualification. More recently, software has incorporated novel programming techniques, expert systems for knowledge based advisory type software and multimedia systems for advisory and education and training software. The main advantage of expert systems is that they are capable of encapsulating expert knowledge, which may be largely subjective. Thus, operation of an expert system differs from that of a conventional software which progresses in a predetermined, step by step manner until a result is obtained e. g. the preheat temperature or the output of a database.

Interrogation of a problem solving expert system will produce an output, which is usually advice or an opinion as to the likely cause of the problem and the recommendations to avoid the problem in the future.

A noteworthy advance in computer hardware in recent years has been the inclusion of a CD ROM player in the PC to provide a multimedia capability. Multimedia combines scanned photographs, graphics, animation, audio and video action with very fast processing and large databases to provide very visual / interactive software.

T he CD ROM disk is crucial in that with a capacity of 700MB can store over 250,000 pages of text, or up to 30 mins of video, equivalent to 450 high density 3.5 in floppy disks.

Commercially available software for the welding engineer There is now a wide range of powerful software available to the welding engineer which makes best use of the computing, memory, knowledge based and/or multimedia facilities of the PC. The IT programs produced as aids for the welding engineer can be conveniently grouped into the following categories:

► Repetitive calculations;

► Storage of Information;

► Interpretation of Standards;

► Advisory;

► Simulation;

► Education and Training.

Many companies have written software for in-house use but the examples described here have been restricted to commercially available software.

Repetitive Calculations

This group was the first type of software written specifically to help the welding engineer carry out routine or time consuming calculations. Topics include the calculation of weld volume, consumable requirements, cost of fabrication and design calculations for fatigue service. WELDVOL is typical in that it will allow the user to calculate the volume of weld metal to be deposited and from this information, the number of rods, or reels of wire, to be purchased. The program can accommodate a range of arc processes, joint types and parent metals.

Storage of Information

XWELD is a welding procedure management system. The system is a multi-user relational database and has the following advantages over a paper based document control system:

► Integrated drawing system and graphics library;

► Electronic distribution of procedures;

► Search functionality for all essential variables of the procedure;

QMWELD is a complementary program for management of fabrication information for ensuring that a fabrication is completed on time and to an appropriate standard. The system gives full traceability with NDT records.

Interpretation of Standards FATIGUEWISE is based on BSI 7910 (formally PD 6493), "Guidance on Methods for Assessing the Acceptability of Flaws in Fusion Welded Structures". The software allows analysis of structures, for safety critical applications, using either the fracture procedures or the general fatigue procedures.

FATIGUEWISE is a typical software for interpreting a standard which is a complex text procedure. A set of rules derived from the standard are embedded in the software ensuring that each time an assessment is made the standard is applied equally rigorously. As most assessments require numerous calculations, the software will save the user both time and costs especially when carrying out a sensitivity or critical analysis by varying one of the input parameters.

The use of a friendly graphical interface ensures that the user is only asked for information specific to the current assessment.


STAYING IN SHAPE is an expert/multimedia system that provides practical advice and training on how to overcome the problem of distortion caused by welding and cutting operations. The information is based on expert knowledge and practical experience. Multimedia (video, animations, audio, scanned photographs and graphics) is used to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and learning.

The knowledge contained in the system includes:

► The different types of distortion and when they occur;

► The factors in welding affecting distortion;

► Practical steps to reduce distortion;

► Precautions for specific welding and cutting situations;

► Actions to correct distortion after welding.

The system also includes a series of quiz type questions that will test the user's understanding of distortion.


MAGSIM simulates the GMA welding process calculating the weld shape and the thermal cycle at various points along the weld (7). Graphics is used to display the cross section of the weld and a 3-D view is used to visualize the simulation results; the calculated thermal cycle and shape of the weld pool. The program can be used to predict the weld quality for selected welding parameters with tolerances. For butt and fillet joints in CMn and alloy steels, welding parameters can be optimized for a specific task.

Education and Training

WELDING FUME TUTOR is a CD ROM based multimedia training course aimed at educating welders, supervisors and welding engineers on the risks to health that could arise from inhalation of welding fume. The program can also be used for training welders in fume control techniques and use of extraction equipment. The information contained is based on statutory regulations, expert knowledge and practical experience. The program is interactive and combines video clips, animated sequences, audio, scanned photographs and graphics.

Welding engineering IT and the Internet

The Internet is unique in that it contains a vast store of information which is readily available to engineers 24 hours a day. Its potential as a source of IT for welding engineers has yet to be fully realized. In order to realize this potential, welding engineers must have knowledge of:

► The Internet System;

► World Wide Web (WWW)

► Hardware Requirements

► Accessing and Searching the WWW

The Internet System

The Internet is not a single computer but a network of millions of computers linked by a telecommunication system (copper wires, fibre optic cable and satellites). In simple terms, the Internet can be considered a world-wide array of computer networks linked by the telephone.

Information is stored on the computers which are called "servers". Servers connected to each other form "local networks" and the networks connected together form the "inter-network" or Internet. The "client" is a computer that allows user access to information services over the network.

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for accessing the Internet are:

► PC

► Modem

► Internet service account

► Telephone line

The standard PC, costing typically £1000, is suitable for connecting to the Internet but a modem will be required; the modem is a device which allows a computer to transmit and receive data via the telephone. Modems are increasingly being fitted to the PC as a standard feature but it is recommended that for efficient communication, the modem should be capable of a data exchange rate of at least 33.6kbs.

Electronic post or e-mail

Electronic or e-mail is widely used as the user can send and receive messages from anyone in the world who has an Internet compatible e-mail address e. g. wlucas@twi. co. uk. The advantages of the e-mail are that the messages cost no more than a local telephone call and are stored on the recipient's computer until he is ready to look at his mail. E-mail is a useful means of communication for engineers in that, in addition to messages, documents, software and video images can be transmitted.

World Wide Web (WWW)

The Internet is a physical network on which the information travels but the "World Wide Web" or WWW is a collection of protocols (rules) and standards used to access the information available on the Internet. Each Web site has a unique address e. g. Esab Europe's address is http://www. esab. se. Each document on the web site also has its own address termed Uniform Resource Locator (URL). For example, http://www twi. co. uk/bestprac is the URL of the document which contains technical information from on best practice for welding "Job Knowledge for Welders"; "http" tells the browser that it is a hypertext file (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol), and http://www. twi. co. uk is the server on which the web page is located.

The point-and-click user interface is similar to more conventional windows based PC programs. The protocol tells the user's computer how to display the information. The hypertext links allows the user to browse through information held either on the same server or, more importantly, on any other computer connected to the Internet. The WWW protocol covers most types of information, including multimedia, and the method of communication.

Accessing and Searching the WWW

To enable a user to gain access to the Internet an account is required with a "Service Provider". When the user logs on to the Service Provider's server, the software will allow the user to browse the Internet accessing and retrieving information from the various servers/web sites.

To search for particular information on the WWW, a "search engine" is used to produce an index or a catalogue of web pages. Searching involves simply filling in a form with words or phrases which describe the information you require. The search engine will produce a list of Web pages which best match the query.

Welding engineering IT on the WWW

The main use of the Internet by engineers is to search for technical information, exchange technical data and to purchase products. Most of the sites have hypertext links to many more sites that contain related information on, for example, engineering, materials, manufacturing and non destructive testing. TWI is typical of the organizations offering technical information. The information available includes technical data sheets, "best practice" guides, directory of suppliers, standards information, abstracts of research projects.

The TWI Web site is accessed by over 6000 users each month and approximately half of the users are from the USA. The most requested pages relate to the technical information.

As advertising is freely practiced on the WWW, most commercial companies have Web pages devoted to the advertising and marketing of their products. The companies can make text, pictures, sounds and video available on their Web pages using the hypertext mark-up language. The ESAB WWW site (http://www. esab. se) contains the following PC programs available from Business Area Consumables:

► WELDCOST - selection of welding process from economic/productivity calculations;

► WELDOC - storage and retrieval of welding procedure specifications;

► PREHEAT - calculation of preheat temperature;

► EQUIST - steel grades and their equivalents;

► STAR - stainless steel consumables;

► CONQUEST - range of steel grades and their recommended consumables;

► THE SCHAEFFLER-DELONG—WRC'92 analysis program is particularly useful to welding engineers and metallurgists in that it can be used to select a suitable consumable when welding dissimilar metals, predict the microstructure of the resulting weld, warn about possible metallurgical risks on welding, build a database of commonly used metals and their consumables.

A typical screen display may show the composition of the resulting weld metal produced when welding 15 Mo 3 steel to AISI316L stainless steel using the type OK 67.60 consumable. The diagram may also contain a useful warning on the zones of weld metal compositions (nickel and chromium equivalents) in which cracking is likely to occur.

After reading activity

Match the words from the left and the right columns:

1. PC

A. мультимедийные средства

2. database

B. многопользовательский

3. expert system

C. чувствительность

4. step by step

D. введенные параметры

5. floppy disk

F. волоконно-оптический кабель




7. in-house use

H. практический совет

8. weld volume

I. объем сварочных работ

9. multi-user

J. внутреннее использование

10. sensitivity

K. критический

11. critical

L. экспертная система



M. пошаговый

13. practical advice

N. гибкий диск

14. fibre optic cable

O. база данных

Answer the following questions:

1. How do engineers now use a PC?

2. What are the two modern sources of welding related information?

3. What were the first IT packages for the welding engineer used for?

4. What did faster computing speeds and additional memory make possible to do in the field of welding?

5. What is the difference between an expert system and conventional software?

6. What is multimedia?

7. What is the storage capacity of a CD-ROM disk?

8. How can the IT programs produced for the welding engineer be conveniently grouped?


10. Why is the Internet a unique source of information to engineers?

11. Are you an Internet user?

Translate the following sentences from Russian into:

1. Персональный компьютер стал мощным инструментом в работе инженеров-сварщиков.

2. Многие инженеры сегодня имеют доступ к сети Интернет.

3. Компьютерные программы стали полноценным источником информации по сварке.

4. Компьютер позволяет хранить огромное количество информации в базах данных, выполнять вычисления, с его помощью можно повышать квалификацию сварщика.

5. Мультимедийные программы содержат фотографии, графические и аудио-данные, анимацию.

6. Специальные программа позволяет выполнять расчет уровня температуры предварительного подогрева во избежание образования трещин.

7. С помощью компьютерной программы можно рассчитать объем металла шва, количество электродов, мотков проволоки.

8. Интерактивные программы обучения позволяют совершенствовать знания сварщиков по различным аспектам, связанным с их профессиональной деятельностью.

9. Все программы имеют одинаковый интерфейс "указать и щёлкнуть".

10. Большинство коммерческих компаний используют Интернет для продвижения своей продукции.


simulation word processing


storage database filing cabinet

power generation bottleneck


1) электронная обработка текста 2) оперативное изготовление документов

(information technology) информационная



база данных

1) шкаф для хранения документов; 2) картотека, каталог

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