Tuesday 26 July 2011

Aircraft welding testing

Three Keighley Laboratories staff approved As CAA Weld Specimen Supervisors

Keith Blower
Mathew Mellor
Peter Hanson
The Metallurgical & Laboratory Services division of Keighley Laboratories has achieved the unusual distinction of having three of its senior employees approved by the British Civil Aviation Authority as Weld Specimen Supervisors. Keith Blower, Matthew Mellor and Peter Hanson have all been officially recognised as approved signatories for the purpose of witnessing and certifying aircraft-related welding of test specimens, as defined in the authoritative BCAR (British Civil Airworthiness Requirements) Chapter A8-10 on the approval of welders.

The procedures outlined in Chapter A8-10 are applicable to those who weld metallic parts that are essential to the airworthiness of an aircraft, where the achievement of a sound metal-to-metal joint depends largely on the competency of the operator. For welders not employed by a CAA approved organisation, test samples must be prepared under the supervision of a person authorised as a signatory, then submitted to a CAA approved test house for examination. Keighley Labs' newly-approved signatories can now undertake weld invigilations at the customer's premises, then the samples can be examined and certificated at its CAA recognised test house, providing a critical one-stop service.

The company's three Weld Specimen Supervisors are highly qualified specialists with many years' combined experience. 
Keith Blower of Steeton is the firm's Technical Director, with specific responsibility for the Problem & Failure Investigation department. 
Matthew Mellor of Oakworth is the Test House Manager, who also runs the firm's high tech metallurgical laboratory. 
While Peter Hanson of Denholme is the company's Senior Investigation Metallurgist, who specialises in failure and fracture investigations. All three are also linked to Keighley Labs' weld procedures consultancy, which provides welder qualification approvals to European, US and international standards.

"This important CAA approval came about following a number of enquiries from customers, as to whether we could witness weld testing on behalf of the CAA," says Matthew Mellor. "We spoke to the authority when they next visited our test house and the region's Assistant Surveyor subsequently issued us with a letter of approval. It's quite a distinctive accolade, since I don't know of any other technical laboratory that has the same status."

This latest accreditation is of particular interest to manufacturers who carry out welding on aircraft or weld parts for aircraft, that don't have CAA approval; in addition to earlier customer enquiries, the company already has interest from as far afield as Ireland. A member of the Northwest Aerospace Alliance with a long history of working with aerospace primes and their suppliers. Keighley Labs' Metallurgical & Laboratory Services division is also UKAS accredited and operates to international aerospace standards.

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