The Right Hands for the Job: Alloys

Welding

How to choose a fabricator for alloy projects

For any project requiring alloy equipment, the best thing to do is look at the experience and expertise with the alloy.

The first requirement for a fabricator should at a minimum be ASME Section VIII Div 1 certified for the manufacture of pressure vessels, even for equipment not requiring pressure service.

The second is the development of weld procedures. Prior to accepting an order, a fabricator should have developed acceptable welding procedures for alloy materials. Weld procedures for ASME code require special testing methods, which are designed to ensure welding methods are conducted in a satisfactory condition. This is of great importance because welds are often the first place for failures to develop in equipment.

The third is experience in fabricating from the selected material, and equipment similar in design or size. Many high nickel alloys and reactive metals are difficult to form due to their higher tensile strength. Their behavior in standard metal forming processes (bending, drawing, cold forming, etc) are not always similar to more ductile alloys like stainless steel.  Many of the welding processes are different, often times much slower, and will require special processes, gas mixtures, or purging systems. A quality fabricator should be able to tell what they can do to ensure your project will be to your specifications.

The fourth is to ask where they buy their materials. Do they fabricate components in-house or subcontract? How do they ensure quality on subcontracted items? Some fabricators source materials from overseas to save cost, which could sacrifice overall quality. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions! With some materials having a cost of $20 to $30 per pound (or more), any quality issues, both short and long term, will be expensive to remedy.

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