Vaccinate Against the Tube-to-Tubesheet Plague

By Harry Ebert

While welding is traditionally considered a craft, tube-to-tubesheet (T-TS) welding is primarily an engineering challenge.  Many organizations, that take pride in declaring that they only use highly skilled weldors for their T-TS joints, achieving unsatisfactory results such as cracked, pin-holed and/or leaky welds.  They fail to recognize that unless design details, material selection and assembly procedures are addressed and implemented in detail during the planning phases of the job, even the best weldors will have problems producing sound joints.  This highlights the importance of vaccinating against such welding problems by instituting a detailed pre-fabrication T-TS program review, which includes the welding engineer, and by not waiting until the welding has started and the problems have been discovered.