Well managed and implemented set of quality standards are a prerequisite for a consistently high quality steel fabrication.
Quality control for custom steel fabrication is a vital part of the production process. Without appropriate standards and well settled quality control procedures, it would be not possible to meet customer expectations.
Due to the bespoke nature of the steel structures, the quality control procedures also needs to be customised based on the project requirements. All work orders and instructions should include inspections policies for drawings and specifications, welding procedures, welding quality control, qualification of the welders, raw material and consumable inspections, as well as handling, storage, and shipping of the end product.
2. ISO 9001
ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and it can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity.
This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. Although ISO 9001 is a more an administrative and non-technical quality system, its existence is essential for the implementation of the technical quality systems underneath. It also sets a quality system overall the organization which is essential for the application of the complementary technical quality systems.
3. EN 1090-2
EN 1090-2 is the harmonised European standard designed to improve fabrication and assembly of steel and aluminium structures. It is made up of three parts:
- EN 1090-1: CE Marking- details the requirements for assessing and verifying product or service conformity
- EN 1090-2: Details the technical requirements in the manufacture and assembly of steel structures
- EN 1090-3: Details the technical requirements in the manufacture and assembly of aluminium structures
EN 1090 standard sets out the guideline to ensure material traceability, compliance and conformity throughout the fabrication cycle, and to guarantee that all aspects of fabrication have complied with the norms. The BS EN 1090 standard broadly covers:
✓ Material certification and Storage Conditions
✓ Employee training, testing and qualification
✓ Tool and Equipment conformity and requirements
✓ Control and certification of the consumables
✓ Quality control and testing procedures of fabrications
✓ Documentation Control
✓ Product Marking ( Identification)
✓ Control and Procedures for non-conforming products
Although EN 1090-2 is a prevailing quality system for European Union, similar standards exist in different countries and regions throughout the world with more or less similar context and goals.
4. FPC (Factory Production Control)
FPC system is a management control system that focuses mainly on the manufacturing operations although product design control procedures can be added.
Its goal is to ensure that the quality of the steel product is consistently maintained to the required specification. An FPC system is very similar to an EN ISO 9001 quality management system and can be considered as a subset of EN ISO 9001.
A typical FPC system consists of streamlined upkeep and calibration of tools, frequent controls to verify product conformity and the handling of non-conforming products. FPC is all about manufacturing fabrication with the same pre declared features continuously.
Before deciding to work with a steel fabricator, one should be aware of the quality systems and the level of implementation of these systems into the company organization. While some quality standards are more administrative and managerial, the others are more focused on the technical requirements and procedures. Well implementation of both type of quality standards is essential for the delivery of high quality steel structures.