Welding Failures I Have Known, Interesting cautionary tales from Metals & Welding  expert, Dr Jesse A Grantham, PE

The Case of the Collapsing Chair

Exemplar Chairs	The Problem:

The elderly plaintiff sat onto a restaurant chair and the chair collapsed.  As a result of the failure the plaintiff unexpectedly fell to the floor and was hurt. The plaintiff sustained debilitating injuries to the hip, spine, neck and arm.  Failed welds at the chair legs caused the chair to give way.  The chair was not fit for service on un-level floors or public use.  When subjected to normal conditions at an eatery, the welds from the chair manufacturer, did not fulfill the fundamental purpose of seating for a normal-sized person.

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The Case of the Failed Dallas Tower Crane

Tower Crane – Defective Diagonal Tube - Welded ConnectionThe Problem:

On a Sunday afternoon, a violent thunderstorm, with high winds between 75 and 80 mph, collapsed a tower crane and killed one innocent person and injured many others. The tower crane collapse extensive property damage to an apartment complex near the 5 story, concrete parking garage construction site.  The construction company and owner claimed the tower crane was properly stowed for the weekend. The tower crane had been in service at the construction site for 15 months prior to the failure event.  OSHA cited the company with numerous safety violations.  Why did the tower crane collapse during the thunderstorm?

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The Case of the Fracking Pump Miscommunication

Fracking Pumps and Tanks Set-up at WellsiteThe Problem:

In the litigation, the Buyer alleged that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) welding was to have been in accordance with AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code – Steel.   The code stated that complete information regarding base metal, type, size, and NDT of all welds shall be clearly shown on the plans and specifications provided to the OEM.  The contract documents and shop drawings did not indicate which joints required a specific assembly order, welding sequence or Nondestructive Testing (NDT).  The Buyer’s drawings depicted incorrect welding symbols. The Buyer referenced internal corporate specifications that were unavailable to the OEM.  The OEM was ordered by the Buyer to commence welding in the absence of all necessary information from the Buyer. 

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The Case of the One Million Gallon Welding Failure

One Million Gallon Water Storage TankThe Problem: 

Water inlet pipes and inlet collar plates contained defective welds that failed on the tank bottom. The tank was originally emptied for interior re-coating and minor improvements. Minor improvements to the tank included welding a pipe extension to each inlet pipe to modify the inlet flow and create silt-stops above the tank bottom. The weld failures occurred as the tank was re-filled with water after a cleanout. The water in the tank emptied rapidly through the openings and created voids under the tank. The failed welds on the inlet pipes were repaired a second time before refilling the tank.

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The Case of the 500 Bbl Oilfield Fracking Tanks Failed Welds

Typical 500 Bbl Fracking Tanks, Welded Steel ConstructionThe Problem:

Mobile, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) tanks for oil-well drilling operations were purchased by a leasing company for use in northern states throughout the USA. The steel tanks were intended to transport drilling fluids and store oil well liquids when at the wellsite. The tank manufacturer warranted the tanks to meet all regulatory requirements. The tank welds leaked and did not meet industry standards or satisfy any regulations. Manufacturing used an improper design code, welding procedures, welder certifications and inspection criteria. Many welds were defective, leaking and did not meet standards. The EPA requirements govern at all well sites in the USA.

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Welding Failures I Have Known, Interesting cautionary tales from Metals & Welding  expert, Dr Jesse A Grantham, PE