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Quality Control System

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CHAPTER

10
Quality Control System
The 1960s was a time of rapid growth for the nuclear power industry. In 1963, a new ASME Code section, Section III, was published to cover construction of nuclear power plant components. One of the features of construction under Section III was a requirement that the manufacturer implement a quality assurance system, a formal system of oversight and record keeping assuring that construction takes place as intended, that the right material, parts, drawings, and procedures are used. The benefits of such a system soon became apparent. In 1973, the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Committee (now the BPV Standards Committees) adopted similar but less comprehensive and detailed rules for what is called a quality control (QC) system for the boiler and pressure vessel sections of the Code, Sections I, IV, and VIII (and now Sections X and XII). In Section I, these rules are found in PG-105.4 and Appendix A-300, both entitled Quality Control System. Each manufacturer is required to have a documented quality control system that is fully implemented into its manufacturing operations. It may be of interest to note that the B31.1 Power Piping Code has no provisions for a quality control system that applies to other than boiler external piping, although the governing committee has been considering the idea for many years. The QC system is intended to control the entire manufacturing process from design to final testing and certification. The scope of such systems may vary significantly among manufacturers, since the complexity of the work determines the program required; however, the essential features of the QC system are the same for everyone. Each manufacturer is free to determine the length and complexity of its Quality Control Manual, making it as general or detailed as desired. It is not advisable to include detailed practices in the manual that are not actually followed in the shop. Also, when shop practices are revised, the manual must be updated to reflect the revisions. Otherwise, the Authorized Inspector is likely to find nonconformities, which will cause considerable extra work before full compliance with the Code can be demonstrated. Implicit in the Code QC requirements is recognition that each manufacturer has its own established practices, and these are acceptwebcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:VlIcqB-oNkQJ:asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/data/Books/859674/859674_ch10.pdf+&cd=3&hl=en&ct 1/3

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Quality Control System

able if a documented system can be developed controlincluded of the operation in conformance with Code requirements. It is also recognized that some of showing the information in a written description of a quality control system is proprietary, and no distribution is required other than to the Authorized Inspector. An outline of features to be incorporated into a Section I quality control system is found in the Appendix A-302 paragraphs. These paragraphs are a list of requirements that have proven relatively easy to understand and have worked well. To begin, the authority and responsibility of those performing quality control functions must be established. That is, the manufacturer must assign an individual with the authority and organizational freedom to identify quality problems and to recommend and implement corrective actions should they be needed. In addition, the written system must include: The manufacturers organization chart, showing the relationship between management, engineering, and all other groups involved in the production of Code components, and what the primary responsibility is of each group. The Code does not specify how to set up the

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organization, nor does it prevent the manufacturer from making changes, so long as the resultant organization is appropriate for doing Code work. Procedures to control drawings, calculations, and specifications. That is, the manufacturer must have a system to assure that current drawings, design calculations, specifications, and instructions are used for the manufacture of Code components. A system for controlling material used in Code fabrication to assure that only properly identified and documented material is used. An examination and inspection program that provides references to nondestructive examination procedures, and personnel qualifications and records needed to comply with the Code. Also required is a system agreed upon with the Authorized Inspector for correcting nonconformities. A nonconformity is any condition that does not comply with the rules of the Code, whether in material, manufacture, or the provision of all required appurtenances and arrangements. Nonconformities must be corrected before the component can be considered to comply with the Code. A program to assure that only welding procedures, welding operators, and welders that meet Code requirements are used to produce Code components. This is normally one of the most detailed and important sections of the QC manual, which describes how qualified welding procedures are maintained and used and who within the organization is responsible for them. It also includes details on how welder qualifications are established and maintained. A system to control postweld heat treatment of welded parts and any other heat treatment, such as might be required following tube bending or swaging. This system must also provide means by which the Authorized Inspector can verify that the heat treatment was applied. A system for calibration of examination, measurement, and test equipment used in Code construction to assure accuracy of such equipment. The Code does not require such calibrations to be traceable to a national standard such as those maintained at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST). It merely states that the equipment must be calibrated. A system of record retention for such items as radiographs, nondestructive examination (NDE) reports, and Manufacturers Data Reports. Procedures covering certain other activities of the manufacturer, such as hydrostatic testing. If a manufacturer intends to subcontract any aspect of Code construction, such as design, radiography, or heat treatment, the procedures and controls for the subcontracting must also be included in the manufacturers quality control system.
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Appendix A-300 concludes with the admonition that the quality control system shall provide for the Authorized Inspector at the manufacturers plant to have access to all drawings, calculations, records, procedures, test results, and any other documents necessary for him or her to perform the inspections mandated by Section I. The objective is to assure the quality of the construction and compliance with the Code. Note also that the quality control system may not be changed without obtaining the concurrence of the Authorized Inspector. As explained in Chapter 9, under Code Symbol Stamps, one of the conditions for the issuance or renewal of a Certificate of Authorization to use one of the ASME Code symbol stamps is that the manufacturer or assembler must have, and demonstrate to a review team, a quality control system intended to assure that all Code requirements will be met. The issuance by ASME of a new Certificate of Authorization or the required triennial renewal of an existing Certificate of Authorization is based on a favorable recommendation after a joint review of the written quality control system by the ASME review team.

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