Sandeep Kumar, Welding Specialist, Reliability Support Section,
Reliability Engineering Department, Bahrain Petroleum Company B.S.C.,
Awali, Kingdom of Bahrain
What made you choose welding as a career?
Choosing a right path for a professional life is a matter of interest in teen age, although its keep changing as we attain towards maturity, depending on surrounding effects created by media/ personnel’s/ neighborhood. I want to join IndianArmy till my engineering diploma study. Infact, I hold NCC C certificate with B grade.
Although, with my changed interest in welding and metallurgy, I moved to fabrication industries. I got inspired with the veterans welding engineer’s profiles on LinkedIn back in 2009. This helped me to decide my short terms goals such as gaining professional certifications such as AWS-CWI, IWT, IWE, IWIP-C, ASNT Level III and long terms targets e.g. gaining bachelor’s in engineering (AMIIW) and getting a master’s degree from worldwide recognized university (I did my MSc. in Welding Engineering from Cranfield University, UK) and continuation learning. Currently, I have enrolled for PhD. Study at Cranfield University which is a challenging and interesting part of my current life.
How much of total experience do you have?
I got my first job during the college campus with ISGEC Yamuna Nagar. And it was a good start to gain the practical insight of welding processes, inspection & supervision. And later I worked for Siemens India, which was a turning point in my life in terms of best learning and working environment.
As on today, I am having 14 Years plus experience in different sectors such as Heavy engineering (e.g. pressure vessels, columns, heat exchangers, steel plant jobs), rolling stock fabrication, oil & gas fabrication sector, Third party inspection and Oil & gas downstream sector. I have hands on experience as welding trainer. I have worked with welding & materials related codes & standards of ASME, API, ASTM, AISI, NACE, AWS, ISO, EN, DIN, BS and ASNT.
Since you hold a vast experience in the welding segment, what is your say on the current welding market scenario? Is it on par with the international markets?
If we talk specifically about India and Indian welding segments, I believe we are on par to international level. We work with American (ASME, API, NACE, AWS, AISI, ASTM, ASNT), International (ISO), German (DIN) or other internationally recognized codes and standards in India. We have vast manufacturing technology transfer and local manufacturing of world known MNC’s. We have in India, all major welding training and certifications institutes with presence of their local bodies such as ASME, ASM, ASNT, IIW etc. to name a few. We are fabricating as on today, small & simple fabrication structural, heavy engineering to complicated nuclear components construction, hydro power, naval carriers, sub-marines, rockets, fighter planes etc.
We have indigenous welding consumables for almost all the metallurgies including advance and complex metallurgies for different welding processes.
Indian institute of welding with the cooperation with international institute of welding and American welding society is doing great job by providing international level training and certification in this area already.
What according to you is required to boost the welding industry in India?
I feel, we are on right path with our current government initiative (Make in India, startups) to boost the local manufacturing, easiness in setting up new business for oversea corporations. With the government plans to build new infrastructures in India, hopefully this will boost more the local manufacturing in welding segment.
There is a demand in each sector for the Indian economy growth e.g. structural fabrication to heavy engineering, vehicle manufacturing, railway (Metro and high speed trains), defense aviation, hydro, solar & nuclear power generation. In all these industries welding plays crucial part. Commercial aviation manufacturing is one core area, where India should work more as we are expecting a huge rise in domestic flyers and need of commercial aircrafts. This is having huge potential for indigenous manufacturing.
What are your expectations from the government for the upliftment of the welding segment?
Government of India should bring quality education with mandatory internship for students engaged in welding engineering study at all levels. It’s ideal to have industrial exposure along with theoretical curriculum for bright engineers. There are ample initiatives by the government already, and the aspiring students must exploit all available opportunities to the fullest.
What type of projects have you worked upon?
A professional life working in different sectors gives me unique prospects to work on various projects. In fabrication sectors, role of welding engineer is very crucial starting from design to final delivery. I have worked on heavy fabrications, company certifications such as EN15085 CL1, ISO 3834-2, EN1090-1, 2 & 3 (Related to welding activities & quality control in welding), welders training program developments, Cross country pipeline for crude oil supply, major T & I in refinery.in my carrier I have faced many challenging tasks involving welding of exotic metallurgies such as austenitic, duplex, ferritic and martensitic stainless steels, aluminum, copper and nickel alloys, low alloy steels and high carbon steels
Could you brief us on your recent project? What is it all about and your role into the same?
The recent project involves the welding of special chemistry alloy used in hydrogen reformer. We have recently qualified welding procedures to weld aged castaustenitic material for elevated temperature. The materialhas a unique chemistry with the presence of niobium and titanium along with high chromium and nickel. Due to service exposed aged metallurgy, with the presence of intergranulary carbides of form M (C, N) where M is niobium and titanium types making the material to lose its ductility. This make the welding notoriously difficult with the high propensity for cracking in the heat affected zone.
The welding procedure was successfully qualified meeting the required properties & implemented for the use.
Tell me about the most challenging engineering project that you have been involved with during the past year.
My current job is challenging as well as gives me opportunities for new learning and applying my expertise. The major challenge arises with the welding repairs of service exposed materials.some of cases which we had encountered and handled successfully were related (Exposed to elevated temperature service) to high carbon austenitic stainless steel, Inconel and HP modified alloys. In such scenarios, theoretical data is not available and hence we have to understand and test the materials for the current conditions to suit the welding, mainly required weldability tests and metallography tests.
Talk about your field responsibilities in your current organization?
I am working as Welding Specialist under the support section for the Reliability Engineering Department in Bahrain Petroleum Company. My responsibilities include but not limited by providing the welding engineering & welding metallurgical related services to the Bapco, prepare, periodical reviews and updating the welding documents (e.g. WPS, PQR, procedures, work instructions), providing the support as and when required in the plant as well as on the contractor’s sites to mitigate welding issues, provide necessary supervision for critical jobs & welding repairs. Perform the welding related failure analysis and devise the preventive methodology. On training side, I provide welding training to new joined trainees.
What checks and balances do you use to make sure that you don’t make mistakes?
I try to make sure to review the activities to avoid the common human errors. I follow Osool’s Bapco ‘Involve the right people in decisions that affect people, procedures, or equipment’ and ‘If in doubt, find out’. This is an important point that teach us a lot when making a decision.
Most important part is lesson learnt. In our department, people are always encouraged to share the lesson learnt from past failures to make future success.
What is your say on safety at work?
I work with one of the best employer in the world. Here, first thing you get to know about the ‘Safety first’. Bahrain Petroleum Company put great emphasis on the safety of its employees, contractors and the society. The company has achieved a target of 20 Million safe man hours in its history. Safety is given the utmost importance from superintendent, managers and the management level.
I always follow and request others to ensure personal and team safety first. As in Bapco Osool’s, ‘’Do it safely or not at all’’ & ‘’There is always time to do it right’’. These two rules are perfect example by the Bapco as a responsible employer.
What new engineering specialty skills have you developed during the past year?
Learning is enduring, and we learn new things daily. I am involved in the welding sector from long duration. With new experiences & understanding in the industries, I acquired new skills in metallurgy especially the stainless steel and nickel alloys along with carbon & low alloy steels. Apart from welding, I hold ASNT Level III in penetrant and magnetic particle testing with good knowledge of other NDT methods.
The guidance of my superior who is a Corrosion and Material expert inspire me to learn more into the corrosion engineering related to welding areas.
Have you contributed to any cost savings for your company? Elaborate if any.
Role of welding engineer is crucial in an association. I have done substantial saving by enhancing the productivity, lessening in cycle times, reduction in welding repairs, cost saving in welding consumables& accessories and & life increment of welding auxiliaries during my tenure with ex-employers.
Recent work with my current employer, by developing the welding procedures of aged material to new material, contributed a cost saving of USD 0.3 million.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I want to keep learning and relish the knowledge sharing among interested individuals. Currently, I see myself associated with the same employer. I wish to move to academic teachinglater, so I can contribute more to the society.