Quality Assurance Procedures
The purpose of this document is to describe the quality assurance procedures instituted by Vulcan Finned Tubes, L.P. (“Vulcan”) to ensure that our products are of the high quality expected and deserved by our customers.
This document is intended as a concise, practical guide for the assurance of our product quality – a guide that will be readily understood, adopted, and implemented by our people. With that intent in mind, our focus was on clarity and conciseness rather than wordiness, and substance rather than style.
Vulcan has Standard Specifications governing each of its product lines. For further details, please refer to the following documents:
- Standard Specification – Helical Solid
- Standard Specification – Helical Serrated
- Standard Specification – Longitudinal
- Standard Specifications – Helical L-foot
The purpose of the procedures described herein is to assure compliance with these product Standard Specifications.
Job Identification and Coordination
Upon receipt of a customer purchase order, the job becomes a “Shop Order” and is assigned a unique Shop Order Number by Vulcan. This number is subsequently used to identify the job within our organization, from beginning to shipment.
The Vulcan representative who originally quoted the job and obtained the customer purchase order is the designated Coordinator for the job. This person is responsible for all required materials procurement, coordinating the production and shipping packaging processes, arranging shipment, and ensuring that all related quality assurance procedures are implemented.
Materials Quality Assurance
Tube/pipe material may be supplied by Vulcan or by the customer, as agreed between the two parties. Because of the extensive range of tube/pipe sizes and grades used by our customers, Vulcan does not maintain a tube/pipe inventory. Tube/pipe is generally procured on a specific Shop Order basis. Mill test reports or other acceptable manufacturer’s certification is provided to the customer for all tube/pipe supplied by Vulcan.
Fin material is generally supplied by Vulcan, rather than by the customer. Vulcan maintains a small inventory of commonly-used fin material. Therefore for a specific Shop Order, fin material may be obtained either from Vulcan inventory or procured specifically for the Shop Order. Manufacturer’s certification is required on all materials and can be provided if requested by the customer at the time of order.
Pipe/tube material will be visually inspected upon receipt in Vulcan’s shop. The inspection will focus on visible defects such as indentations, out-of-roundness, or other deviations from specifications, and from conditions that might cause production problems. Any non-conforming material will be separated from the remainder of the material. If pipe/tube supplied by the customer is found to have defects, the Project Coordinator will communicate with the customer to satisfactorily resolve the situation before production commences.
Upon acceptance, each bundle of tube/pipe will be marked with the appropriate Shop Order Number before placement in the production area or pipe storage area.
All austenitic alloys will be handled in a way that minimizes various types of contamination. Surfaces of handling equipment such as lifting slings and forklift forks will be covered and if abrasives must be used such as grinding wheels or sanding belts, old abrasives will be discarded to assure against carbon contamination. No solvents, acids, lubricants or paints of any kind will come in contact with austenitic alloys.
Upon receipt in Vulcan’s shop, fin strip material is visually inspected for conditions such as corrosion, kinking, etc., and to ensure proper thickness and width. Fin strip inventory is stored by size and grade. As each reel of fin strip is moved from the storage area for use on a Shop Order, it is again visually inspected for proper size, grade, and condition. Any non-conforming material is separated from the remainder of the material.
Vulcan’s helical solid and serrated products involve gas metal arc (GMAW) welding, therefore weld wire and gas are required in the process. Commonly used wire and gas are maintained in inventory, separated by gas type and wire grade. Carbon steel weld wire is kept in an enclosure where the humidity is controlled by heat.
Production Process Quality Assurance
Traceability is maintained on all tube/pipe material. For each length of tube/pipe, the operator records the heat number on a “Heat Sheet” before the tube/pipe is run through the abrasive sander in preparation for welding. After each length of tube/pipe has been finned, its heat number is noted by applying an adhesive trace label near one end of the tube/pipe.
Visual inspections are done randomly throughout the production process. Such inspections focus on weld quality, fin geometry, fin spacing, and dimensions.
Before the Shop Order is packaged for shipment, a final inspection is made, focusing on weld quality, fin geometry and spacing, and dimensions. The Coordinator is responsible for this inspection.
The Shop Order is packaged for shipment according to customer requirements. Packing consists of either a metal banded crate constructed of plywood and 2×4 lumber; or “collars” consisting of at least two (depending on tube/pipe length) 2×4 metal banded frames. The Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the Shop Order is properly packaged for shipment.
The Coordinator is responsible for arranging shipment to the customer’s designated destination, and for ensuring that all appropriate paperwork (such as tube/pipe mill test reports) accompanies the shipment.