Holland’s Weld Quality Lab is One-of-a-Kind
April 25, 2022
At Holland, innovation and improvement are more than just buzzwords. Our North American HQ is home to a one-of-a-kind weld quality lab that’s dedicated to improving “the weld” at the core of what we do. Here we can perform weld evaluations and qualifications per AREMA and other customer specific specifications, assess weld quality issues from the field and create a true root cause linkage to weld and process improvement outputs and create weld programs for various rail size, grade, chemistry and requirements. Learn more about Holland’s Weld Quality in this Q& A with Nicholas G. Martino, Director of Weld Quality, Research and Testing.
- Why did we build our own lab?
We produce quite a few welds, hundreds of thousands every year, and we wanted to be capable of analyzing swiftly and be in control of our product to produce an even better weld. The lab allows us to have a better understanding of the flash butt welding process. We research normal weld qualifications, our process capability and investigate any weld defects that may occur. When these weld defects occur, the lab allows us to better document and manage a library of the processes we learned from them and improve processes and operator training. It’s also key for our future welding expansion, general research, and development.
- What makes us unique in having one?
It is quite rare in our industry to have an in-house lab facility and dedicated team. Some of our competitors pay outside labs and don’t have internal processes / teams. A 3rd party lab can be beneficial but are generally used to just analyze incidents or products brought to them. We can go above and beyond. Thinking to the next higher level “What can we do to change this / improve this?” We’re in control and we have the capability of understanding a weld from start to finish. This also allows us to talk with our operations teams / interface with team with who physically made the weld to talk through weld issues.
- What type of testing/research do you do?
Heat Affected Zones (cut, polish, and etch), hardness profiles, microstructure evaluation (cut, mount, polish, and etch), slow bend tests, non-destructive testing (NDT): ultrasonic test (UT), magnetic particle (MP), dye penetrant (DP) and more. Not only do we do multiple types of testing, but we can also change parameters ourselves to get desired effects. Because Holland controls the entire building and management of its operating fleet and teams, including our proprietary Intelliweld Control System, we can easily change welding inputs and desired outcomes. Labs can test specific welds, but they don’t know the equipment like we do or how to manipulate to get a certain outcome.