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Operating  procedures for the Common Welder Certification Scheme (CWCS), which has been under development since the Asian Welding Federation (AWF) was established, were finalized at the 11th AWF Task Force Meeting held November 21 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) in Bangna, a suburb of Bangkok, Thailand. The CWCS agreement marks the culmination of four years of debate and deliberation between all AWF member countries on the rules and detailed operating procedures for the scheme.

The establishment of a common certification scheme for welders has been a common goal since the conception and founding of the AWF and is an integral part of the federation’s aim of providing knowledge, skills, and qualifications to people of Asia, as well as supporting the economic development of the countries of Asia.

In its work up to now, the task force has engaged in extended discussions about the CWCS, taking into account the various circumstances and views of each member country. The new agreement encompasses Rules A0001 (Rules on the Implementation of AWF Guidelines Concerning the Examination and Certification of Welders in Fusion Welding), which define the requirements of an Authorized Testing Centre (ATC). In addition, all operational procedures, OP01 to OP02, were approved (with the exception of OP02).

Under this new agreement, AWF auditors, working under the newly established CWCS rules and operational procedures, will audit and approve an ACB in each country. Each approved ACB will then, in turn, audit the ATCs in that country. Once an ATC is approved, it can then proceed to conduct skills testing of welders in that country. This set of procedures, which has now been approved, is currently being prepared for implementation.

The Task Force Meeting itself began with a message by AWF Secretary General Dr. Ang Chee Pheng of the Singapore Welding Society and self-introductions by the attending member representative: 8 from Japan, 2 from China, 21 from Indonesia, 1 from Mongolia, 7 from Malaysia, 2 from Myanmar, 3 from Philippines, 3 from Singapore, and 5 from the host country, Thailand. In all, 52 representatives from nine different countries attended the event.

Once underway, the proceeding undertook the work of approving the formulated CWCS rules and detailed operating procedures, which were followed by presentations on CWCS activity plans in each country. In Japan, for example, the Japan Welding Engineering Society (JWES) has already started working to establish and implement the CWCS within two years. This year it conducted its first test trial at nine JWES examination centers in order to compare and identify any differences between ISO 9606 and Japan’s national JIS welding skill qualifications, as well as to collect data for implementing ISO 9606 testing. A second test trial will be conducted within the current financial year. Through these trials, detailed operating procedures for skills testing will be formulated. It was also reported that, as an AWF member, Japan will report to the JWES Board that it will introduce ISO 9606.

In addition, at the standardization task force meeting, JWES Welding Consumable Division director Naoshi Suzuki (a representative of Kobe Steel, Ltd.) gave presentations entitled “Establishing Common Welding Standards for AWF Members by the Adoption of ISO Standards” and “Summary of 2012 Welding Materials Survey”. Furthermore, the group agreed to work under the name “AWF Task Force on Standardization” for the purpose of providing a forum for sharing information on welding-related standards, as well as for putting together Asian views for proposals to the ISO.

In terms of concrete objectives, in order to address the challenge of introducing ISO provisions into the domestic standards of each country, the meeting identified the need to fully comprehend the details of ISO standards. As a result, it was decided that the next standardization task force meeting would begin work on examining specific examples of the ISO 2560:2009 (covered electrodes for arc welding) standards, and that individual countries would make presentations regarding their current national welding-related standards.

The 18th AWF General Assembly was held on the day following the Task Force Meeting. The gathering kicked off with an address by Suchin Katavut, President of the Thai Welding Society, representing the host country, who remarked on the CWCS agreement, saying, “It is necessary to proceed smoothly with realizing the CWCS in order to fulfill the AWF’s aim of working step-by-step towards enabling Asian countries to help each other by sharing information and other resources.”

Following the inaugural remarks, AWF President Achdiat Armawinata, President of the Indonesian Welding Society (IWS), spoke a few words of thanks to all the attendees representing their respective AWF member countries, after which assembly work proceeded with reports in the task force meeting, on the management of the AWF website, and on progress towards producing a glossary of welding terminology in English.

Opinions were heard from various countries regarding the prospect of developing a relationship between the American Welding Society (AWS) and the AWF. In addition, there was an open discussion on the differences between the AWF’s CWCS and the International Welding Engineer (IWE) certification of the International Institute of Welding (IIW).

On November 23, the 4th Auditor’s Seminar was held. A total of 29 participants representing seven different countries joined this event, including 1 from China, 18 from Indonesia, 4 from Japan, 2 from Malaysia, 2 from Philippines, 1 from Singapore, and 1 from Thailand. Heng Keng Wah (Singapore Welding Society) gave a lecture covering CWCS-related procedures and operating procedures, including those related to auditing ATCs and authorizing ACB auditors, and those related to the authorization of assessors, NDT testers, and machine testers.

The ACB auditor and assessor examinations were conducted after the lecture. Once the results of the examination are finalized, implementation of the CWCS will begin.

As previously reported, the implementation method of the Common Welder Certification Scheme (CWCS) for Asia, which has been a longstanding goal of the Asian Welding Federation (AWF) since its formation, was decided at the 11th AWF Task Force Meeting and General Assembly held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 12 of last year.

As part of this project, the AWF has worked continuously towards the establishment of a common certification system for welding professionals in Asia and has aimed at providing welding-related knowledge, skills, and qualifications to people in Asia in order to support Asian countries and help them to develop. The task force concerned with the CWCS has examined the prevailing conditions and viewpoints of each member country and has conducted extensive discussions taking these into consideration. In this report, we examine the progress of the CWCS implementation scheme in various individual countries (as of December 2012).

Malaysia (Institute of Materials Malaysia: IMM)
In Malaysia, a manpower optimization system (MOS) is already in effect. A total of eight organizations serving as authorized testing centers (ATCs) have entered into contracts with the national oil company, Petronas, in relation to the scheme. Currently, a quality manual for external auditing created by an authorized certification body (ACB) has been submitted and is now being examined by the AWF.

Indonesia (Indonesian Welding Society: IWS)
In addition to implementing training of auditors and evaluators, the IWS is preparing to establish an ACB and ATCs. The next step will be promoting the scheme to companies.

Mongolia (Mongolian Materials Science and Welding Society: MMSWS)
CWCS documentation is being translated into the Mongolian language, and the MMSWS is now ascertaining what Mongolia needs to do while simultaneously forming alliances with other countries. The translation is expected to take one to two years.

Thailand (Thai Welding Society: TWS)
The implementation scheme is being introduce through various meetings with stakeholders. An explanatory meeting regarding the CWCS and MOS with joint participation of the Singapore Welding Society (SWS), TWS, and government officials is planed.

China (Fundamental Industry Training Centre of Tsinghua University, Beijing University of Technology)
China has adopted the International Institute of Welding (IIW) system, so the situation is complex. Although its current skills certification system is different, there is also interest in the CWCS because it offers the promise of lower costs. There is a desire to start the CWCS n a trial basis with small-scale examination centers and training centers.

The Philippines (Philippines Welding Society: PWS)
While the PWS has recently undergone a personnel restructuring, it is also studying the adoption and operation of this scheme. There is a particularly acute need for welders on the island of Mandanao.

Japan (Japan Welding Engineering Society: JWES)
Work has already begun to establish the CWCS within the next two years, if possible. In order to compare and comprehend the differences between the CWCS and Japan’s Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) welding skill examination, which has been used to implement International Organization for Standardization (ISO)9606-1 testing, as well as collect data for implementing ISO9606-1, testing, the certification committees of nine JWES districts conducted their first test trial last year. Within the same fiscal year, a second test trial was conducted. Through these trials, a skills examination is expected to be worked out in detail.

Myanmar (Myanmar Engineering Society: MES)
While the development of welding technology is still immature, there is a large amount of welding-related work ongoing within the country, for example in pipeline laying projects. Currently, the skill level of welders is a problem, so the Ministry of Industry has set up the National Skill Development Authority (NSDA) and has launched a training and certification system for welders. The country has been slow to take up the CWCS initiative, but it is now looking towards creating a plan to promote the CWCS and it is seeking assistance from other countries on the matter.

Singapore (Singapore Welding Society: SWS)
Currently, Singapore has already established examination centers where it conducts welding skill examinations, and the SWS is now looking at the possibility of transitioning welders to the CWCS qualification by means of a transition arrangement (TA). In addition, it is creating a quality manual, and preparing to establish an ACB. It is also encouraging companies to participate in the scheme.

Apart from the CWCS task force, the first meeting of standardization task force was also held at the last Task Force Meeting and General Assembly. The head of the JWES Welding Consumables Division, Tadashi Suzuki, conducted presentations on “establishing common welding standards for AWF members through the introduction of ISO standard” and on “a summary of a welding materials survey in 2012.” In addition, it was officially decided that the task force would be named the “AWF Task Force on Standardization,” with the purpose of providing a forum for jointly holding and managing information on welding-related standards along with the mission of compiling the views of Asia and submitting them to the ISO. Other concrete task force goals include understanding the contents of ISO standards and clarifying any differences between these and the standards of each AWF member country, as well as indentifying issues that may arise when incorporating ISO standards into the domestic standards of each country.

At the next Task Force Meeting and General Assembly (July, 2013), the AWF Task Force in standardization plans to commence the specific examination of ISO 20560:2009 (coated electrodes) and to present reports on the current situation of participating countries with respect to domestic standards for welding materials.

In any case, we can  say that we have taken a solid first step towards fulfilling the AWF mission of (1) establishing and spreading a certification system for welders, welding engineers, welding inspectors, and other welding professionals that is unified and consistent throughout Asia; and (2) towards formulating unified, consistent welding standards throughout Asia that reflect the viewpoints of Asia towards international standards.

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The Japan International Welding Show 2012 (organized by the Japan Welding Engineering Society and Sanpo Publications Inc.) will take place at Intex Osaka, in Suminoe-ku, Osaka, for four days from April 11 to 14, 2012.

Extending the theme of the previous year’s Tokyo event, the show will also feature a “Welding Promenade” to foster exchanges between the Asian countries, as well as to facilitate the exchange of information. The principal objectives of the Welding Promenade are to help establish a single, common welding market in Asia, and to create business networks between Japan and other Asian countries. This will be accomplished by providing Asian visitors opportunities to learn about Japanese technology, promoting the exchange of information between visitors from various countries, and fostering closer relationships with International Welding Show exhibitors.

This year’s show is expected to have a particularly strong international flavor because it will be held concurrently with both the Asian Welding Federation (AWF) general and task force meetings, and also due to the large number of exhibiting companies from all over Asia. These factors are expected to play major roles in the creation of a large, common welding market in Asia, which is what Welding Promenade is all about.

This first Welding Promenade was held during the Japan International Welding Show 2010, in Tokyo. In that event, Sanpo Publications brought together a large number of Asian nation dealers and users to help them develop networks among each other while concurrently forming relationship with Japanese manufacturers. This event allowed all parties to get to know each other better, explore needs and offerings, exchange information, and provide products that are appropriate to the particular needs of their respective countries. In addition, to help in establishing technical information service networks, the Welding Promenade also provided a forum for the creation of partnership between Asian countries through its various exhibitions, seminars, and the business matching facility.

Internationally, the welding industry of today is experiencing lively technological development in response to vigorous investment in plants and equipment. In Asian countries, in particular, there is rapid and ongoing progress towards the formation of regional welding markets. To continue enlivening Asian welding industries, it is important to promote greater exchanges of welding technologies, strengthen interpersonal exchanges between persons from various countries, and facilitate exchanges between the relevant industrial bodies of each country. This will allow us to unlock new potentials and explore new ways of addressing the needs of welding-related products and services in Asia.

Looking to the future, if the welding market in Asia becomes more solid and stable, we can expect to see the institution of various cooperation scheme at national levels aimed at nurturing welding industries. These could include the conclusion of cooperation agreements between countries that focus on business matters, as well as research and development.

The AWF was formally established in 2004 when industry representative bodies from various Asian countries met in Philippines. The aim og the federation is the development of Asia’s welding industry. The primary goals of the AWD, as they were stated at the time, were to establish and disseminate a unified personnel certification scheme across Asia for welders, welding engineers, and welding inspectors, as well as to establish a personnel utilization system.

In addition, there were calls for Japan to share technical information, technology, skills, and education and training systems more widely with other countries in Asia, and to provide welding-related companies in the region with assistance, solidarity, and cooperation.

Linking the countries of Asia through welding technology requires the construction of networks that enable countries to exchange information that helps them understand each other’s welding-related needs, as well as the state and conditions of welding industries in their countries. This was the concept behind the launching of Welding Promenade.

As a first step forward linking Japan and other Asia countries through welding technology, it is essential to exchange information, and thus develop business networks, that enable each country to understand each other country’s needs. And this, precisely, is the role of the Welding Promenade at the Japan International Welding Show.

The show is expected to attract dealers and users from around Asia, who view the Welding Promenade as a tool for building their business networks. By utilizing the opportunity to exchange information with manufactures at the show, welding and cutting industry-related users and dealers from all over Asia can be expected to gain improved mutual understandings of each others “seeds and needs”, exchange and offer products and technical information appropriate to the particular needs of their countries, and to build enhanced service networks.

As describe above, Sanpo Publications has commenced registration for exhibitors and those who wish to participate in its “business matching (Visit Scheduler)” service, which is a key feature of the Welding Promenade concept. All exhibiting companies and show visitors are invited to register for the service. As Welding Promenade participants, all those who register will be invited to the welcome reception on the evening of the first day of the event. Based on our focus of creating a single, common market from the Asian welding industry, we look forward to your participation.

 

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