Weldtest NZ Limited

Welder qualifications under AS/NZS 2980 & ISO 9606-1

Have you ever wanted to know more about AS/NZS 2980 and ISO 9606-1?

If the answer is ‘yes’,  you are in luck! As this fortnight we are discussing welder qualifications under AS/NZS 2980 and ISO 9606-1.

Both standards have been developed to provide welder qualifications for the welding of carbon steel (mild steel), low and high alloy steels.

AS/NZS 2980 had its first edition in 2007.  AS/NZS 2980:2007 replaced the original NZS 4711- Qualification tests for metal-arc welders and NZS 4703 – Welder qualification tests for stainless steel pipe for the dairy industry.

AS/NZS 2980:2007 was developed for NZ and Australia, where as ISO 9606-1:2012 and earlier editions, were thought better suited for the European and American welding standards.

The release of AS/NZS 2980:2007 was most likely highly advantageous to manufacturers, in the way that welders are no longer required to complete test pieces in all positions, as it had been mandatory under the NZS 4711 standard.

Under AS/NZS 2980:2007, it was then possible for a welder to achieve an all position and both weld type (fillet and butt) range of qualification simply by producing a test piece as a butt weld in the overhead position. While the standard did require that welders were to have competence laying welds in other positions, there was effectively no mandatory requirement for the production of this evidence.

Needless to say there have been many instances where welders have gained qualification to weld all positions as both fillet and butt welds but have not had the skills to make welds in the vertical position and in as many instances – a fillet weld also.

Welcome in the 2018 edition! In March this year, AS/NZS 2980:2018 was released with some major changes.

Firstly, the new standard now requires welders to make more than one test piece should they require an all position qualification range. In addition, fillet welds require a separate test piece as well, unless a certain joint prep is used for a butt weld.

Validation is no longer required every two years, as a successful candidate will now earn a three year certification, with the option of revalidation every two years upon volumetric testing (ultrasonic or radiographic) of a similar joint on a production piece.  The 2018 edition runs almost symmetrical to our next welding qualification standard discussed – ISO 9606-1.

Prior to 2017, ISO 9606-1:2012 was a popular choice for an alternative welder qualification to AS/NZS 2980. However, this standard was generally seen as to Europeanised for the Australian and New Zealand steel welding industries.

Enter AS/NZS ISO 9606-1:2017 – Qualification Testing of Welders – Fusion Welding Part 1: Steels.

This standard has been developed to best accommodate the New Zealand and Australian industries and is also widely accepted through out Europe, America and many other parts of the world.

It requires a higher acceptance criteria than the current edition of AS/NZS 2980:2018 but has all the same range of qualifications and certification periods.

As with AS/NZS 2980:2018, should an all position qualification range be sought, AS/NZS ISO 9606-1:2017 requires a test piece to be welded in the overhead position to achieve horizontal and the flat positions, with a separate test piece required for the vertical position. Fillet welds are separate unless a single bevel to square with backing, joint prep is used, in which case fillet welds can be qualified simultaneously to butts.

A successful candidate will have certification for a three year period, with the option of revalidation every two years by way of volumetric testing of production welds of similar joint preps. For manufactures operating under an audited ISO 3834 quality manual, there is also the option to revalidate every six months in house.

A big difference between the two standards, is that as well as NZ and Australia, AS/NZS ISO 9606-1:2017 is that it is also accepted under many international (American and European) structural steel welding and pressure vessel welding standards, including ASME BPVC Section IX.

Next time we look at the importance of welding personnel operating to qualified weld procedures and demonstrating competence to them under AS/NZS 1554.1:2014.

Until next time & have a great week.