American Welding Society
The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes, including brazing, soldering, and thermal spraying. The organization is headquartered in Doral, Florida, but also conducts events and individual section and district meetings throughout the United States and in international locations. The organization is perhaps best known for its code and certification procedures, which provide industry standards for the welding and joining of metals, plastics and other materials. Through their publications, internet forums, member services, local and national events, educational resources, networking activities, and certification procedures, AWS keeps welding professionals and those interested in materials science up to date with the most current advances and procedures in the industry. As of September 2012, the society contains about 68,000 members, most within the United States.
History of the American Welding Society
The roots of the American Welding Society stretch back to World War I, when the sudden demands of swiftly producing the military equipment brought about the need for standardization of the manufacturing industry. President Woodrow Wilson created a Welding Committee of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, which worked with the already existing National Welding Council. By 1919, industry leaders agreed that dependable and objective information on welding was crucial for further U.S. industrial development, and the two organizations merged to create the American Welding Society. Comfort A. Adams was the first president of the American Welding Society.
An immediate need was to create a publication that could objectively cover the scientific advances of the industry, and in 1922, AWS started publishing the Welding Journal. The Welding Journal now appears monthly, and contains peer-reviewed articles on welding and materials science along with industry news and information about society events and members.
AWS also became concerned about welding and safety standards, and began offering certification standards and safety procedures to offer guidance on secure welding techniques and safety procedures. Today, AWS publishes more than 100 codes and procedures detailing welding standards for multiple metals, composite materials, and plastics.
AWS Codes and Specifications
AWS publishes codes on multiple aspects of welding and materials joining. The code books are assigned specific letters and numbers for easy reference, and many welders will refer to a specific code letter/number combination when referring to the code book. Different welding methodologies, inspection methods, and metals are published under different codes. For example, AWS B1.11 explains how to visually examine welds; AWS B2.1-1-004 explains welding carbon steel of thickness range of 18 through 10 gauge with semiautomatic metal gas arc welding; and AWS C2.20/C2.20M explains metalized zinc cathodic protection systems. Some codes also describe the standards used by AWS to certify welders, inspectors, and welding educators. All codes are available in hard copy, and in recent years AWS has started to make most codes available online.
AWS certifies welders, inspectors, engineers, fabricators, radiographic interpreters, and robotic arc welders. Certification follows detailed testing and evaluation procedures. The Radiographic Interpretation Certification, for example, includes a detailed general knowledge exam, a test of specific information from the AWS Code book on radiographic quality and interpretation, and a practical exam testing the individual's ability to read radiographic films. Most AWS certifications are typically renewed after a period of three years, and are required to satisfy re-certification requirements every nine years.
Welders are required to take a qualification test at an AWS Accredited Testing Facility. Welders must mail their qualification test record to AWS with a completed AWS Welder Application in order to have an AWS certification issued. AWS Welders are required to submit a Maintenance of Welder Certification Form to renew their certifications every six months.
The AWS Foundation supports welding education through multiple scholarships and awards for students studying welding, welding engineering and materials science at the post secondary and graduate level. Scholarships are both need and merit based.
- WEMCO - Welding Equipment Manufacturers Committee
- BSMC - Brazing and Soldering Manufacturers Committee
- RWMA – Resistance Welding Manufacturing Alliance
- smaw - Sheild MetalArc Weld
- AWS D1.1 "Structural welding code - Steel" (2010)
- AWS B5.15 "Specification for the Qualification of Radiographic Interpreters" (2010)
- AWS code list at Piping-Designer.com