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RE: Welding in Freezers

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I am concerned about the quality of the existing welds since the welding was probably done by unqualified (maintenance) personnel and there is no documentation of the procedure used to do the welding.  But this could be possibly addressed by visual inspection and/or NDT by a qualified testing agency.  I have contacted an engineering company that provides inspection services and has AWS qualified inspectors.  But the first question is it acceptable by AWS.
Additional repairs are required.  We will provide a procedure for performing and inspecting the repairs.  This became an issue during an OSHA inspection and there was recently a fatality at another facility when the racks collapsed.  My client could not produce any documentation to qualify the modification to the racks.
AWS says below 32F, but is there a limit to how far below.  And that is my concern.  Although if the welds are inspected/tested and pass, is that acceptable by itself.
Thanks for your input.
Gary Loomis


From: Robert E Shaw Jr [mailto:rshaw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sun 4/30/2006 12:00 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Welding in Freezers

AWS D1.1 has two applicable sections. One - ambient temperature is to be above 0F. See 5.12.2. Two - steel temperature in the vicinity of welding is to be a minimum of 32F, and if below 32F, heat to at least 70F and maintain at or above 70F until complete. See Table 3.2, footnote a.


Are you considering doing more repair and wondering how to address these two code provisions, or concerned that the existing welds may be poor because they (perhaps) were not done in accordance with code?


Bob Shaw




From: Gary Loomis [mailto:gloomis(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 6:32 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Welding in Freezers


We are in the process of evaluating steel storage racks in a freezer that were modified.  The racks are constructed of channels (ASTM A36 material).  Over the past several years the racks have sustained damage by being hit by forklift trucks.  The racks were repaired/modified by (1) cutting out the bottom 4' to 5' of channel and welding in a new piece or (2) welding pipe to the channel.  The temperature in the freezers is -20 degrees F.  Is it acceptable to weld in these extreme cold temperatures?  If so, what precautions or procedures are required?


State highway departments require a minimum temperature of 0 degrees F for welding bridges.    ASME specifies 50 degrees F as a minimum temperature.  Other authorities for piping and process state 0 degrees F.  However, AWS D1.1 does not specify a minimum temperature.  


Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated.  Thanks.


Gary W. Loomis. PE