Nowadays, a wide variety of steel and other metal grades is available for different industry fields, of which products and applications demand various properties from the material used. However, the properties of welded joints determine the performance of a component, structure or final product usually more than the properties of pure base material. Thus, after appropriate material selection, the structure must be designed and fabricated properly. The main challenge – and the goal – is to retain the good properties of the base material throughout the whole production chain all the way to the functional properties of the final product.
In order to achieve this, a high quality of working must be carried out in each level of the production chain. In addition to general standards and guidelines for the quality assurance of welding and weld joints, extensive concepts for analyzing and governing the quality of design and fabrication of welded metal structures should also be considered. These can be utilized, e.g., when producing welded structures from high and ultra-high strength steels, of which use has increased during past decades in the engineering industry due to their potential in terms of payload capacity, structural durability, energy efficiency, emission control, life cycle management and recycling. However, applying novel metal materials causes often stricter rules for design, narrower parameter windows for fabrication (especially for welding) and more specific precepts for inspection compared to corresponding structures made of conventional materials. Consequently, the management of the production chain by means of digitalization is emphasized in these types of demanding welded structural applications.