Robotic Pipe Welding

Mar 20, 2018

If your pipe welding production line is seeking more reliable, flexible, and consistent products than consider integrating a robotic system. A 6-axis robotic arm will provide quick and efficient torch positioning and exceptional and consistent weld quality. The EOAT provides extraordinary control over a task that can be grueling for manual welders.

Robots welding pipe

Pipe weld­ing uses heat to join mul­ti­ple sec­tions of pipes togeth­er in order to cre­ate a sin­gle piece of met­al. It requires finesse and flex­i­bil­i­ty as it deals with dif­fer­ent pipe dimen­sions, mate­ri­als, and fit­tings that all call for dif­fer­ent weld­ing appli­ca­tions, torch angles, etc. 

Radi­al fric­tion weld­ing is a com­mon method for pipe weld­ing. It uses rota­tion and radi­al com­pres­sion of a sol­id beveled ring into a V‑preparation pro­vid­ed by the pipe ends. No addi­tion­al filler mate­r­i­al is used as weld­ing takes place in the sol­id phase. The pipe ends are butted togeth­er and clamped secure­ly to stop them rotat­ing or mov­ing apart. 

In order to pre­vent col­lapse of the pipe ends or pen­e­tra­tion of upset met­al formed dur­ing the weld sequence, a man­drel is locat­ed in the bore of the weld loca­tion. To pro­mote met­al flow from the base of the weld prepa­ra­tion, a ring made from a com­pat­i­ble mate­r­i­al is more sharply beveled than the pipes. In addi­tion, this decreas­es the ini­tial torque demand nor­mal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the start of a fric­tion cycle when cold sur­faces come into contact. 

Pipe weld­ing is a very metic­u­lous process as the pipes that are cre­at­ed can some­times be used to trans­port haz­ardous mate­ri­als. If a con­nec­tion or repair was not prop­er­ly exe­cut­ed, this could pose a big safe­ty threat. Even erro­neous pipes that don’t trans­port dan­ger­ous sub­stances could be prob­lem­at­ic when not car­ried out correctly. 

For these rea­sons, man­u­al welders are required to take mul­ti­ple tests and get a pro­fes­sion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that ensures the knowl­edge of dif­fer­ent pipe link­ing meth­ods and the fac­tors that could affect the qual­i­ty of the con­nec­tions. These rig­or­ous tests alone prove that pipe weld­ing is a com­pli­cat­ed and seri­ous task not to be tak­en lightly. 

Man­u­al pipe welders are not easy to find; so let us rec­om­mend anoth­er option: a robot­ic pipe welder! 

Why you should auto­mate your pipe welding?

Auto­mat­ed pipe weld­ing pro­vides a reli­able, flex­i­ble, and con­sis­tent solu­tion while also offer­ing high­er depo­si­tion welds and greater fusion. A 6‑axis robot­ic arm is capa­ble of quick, effi­cient torch posi­tion­ing. It pro­duces excep­tion­al and con­sis­tent weld qual­i­ty as the EOAT gives extra­or­di­nary con­trol over a task that can be gru­el­ing for man­u­al welders. In addi­tion, there is nev­er vari­a­tion in qual­i­ty that can some­times occur with man­u­al weld­ing, the results are always con­sis­tent and repeat­able. This results in few­er do-overs which equates to less wast­ed prod­uct mate­r­i­al and bet­ter throughput. 

This ulti­mate­ly saves time and pro­vides unbeat­able flex­i­bil­i­ty while main­tain­ing opti­mal weld­ment qual­i­ty. Click here to con­tin­ue read­ing about why you should auto­mate your pipe weld­ing process.

What pipes can be weld­ed with auto­mat­ed systems?

Pipe Weld­ing automa­tion accom­mo­dates straight cut pipe welds as well as sev­er­al odlet fit­tings such as a Sock­o­let, Thread­o­let, or Elbolet.

A Sock­o­let has a sock­et for weld­ing that makes a 90° branch. It is avail­able in full size or reduc­ing for a straight piece of pipe and offered as Class 3000, 6000 and 9000 for high pressures.

An Elbo­let can be used on 90° long radius elbows, short­ra­dius elbows, and 180° returns. It is avail­able with but­tweld, sock­etweld, or thread­ed con­nec­tions and can be used for Ther­mow­ell, instru­men­ta­tion con­nec­tions, and as a drain con­nec­tion when there is not suf­fi­cient room for a Weldolet. 

A Thread­o­let has a female thread­ed con­nec­tion to mate to the branch con­nec­tion that cre­ates a 90° branch and comes in full size or reduc­ing for a straight piece of pipe. It is typ­i­cal­ly weld­ed over a hole drilled or burned in the pipe and sizes can range from 12″ to 2.” No mat­ter the size of the pipe, there is an olet to do the job. 

Tech­ni­cal Advances Avail­able in Pipe Welding

With the inte­gra­tion of advanced tech­nol­o­gy, every ele­ment of the process can now be mon­i­tored and con­trolled offline — from volt­age, cur­rent and wire feed speed, to torch angle and weld pen­e­tra­tion. Adjust­ments to work piece posi­tion­ers, torch ori­en­ta­tion, weld­ing pow­er source, robot­ic arm move­ments allow for fine-tuned, pre­cise results. Through-the-Arc Seam­Track­ing (TAST) is also avail­able and enables the inte­gra­tion of cur­rent as the weld­ing torch oscil­lates across the joint. This is ben­e­fi­cial as the con­troller can then alter the path and cor­rect for joint mis­align­ment. TAST can also be set­up to allow the robot to mod­i­fy its path as it weaves across the weld joint based on any joint loca­tion shift caused by dis­tor­tion or part spring back.

When sen­sors, through-the-arc track­ing, and even vision soft­ware are com­bined, robot­ic pipe weld­ing is a force to be reck­oned with.

Pipe Weld­ing Offers Huge ROI

Depend­ing on the com­plex­i­ty, parts need­ed, and your learn­ing curve, you can expect to see your ROI on a pipe weld­ing sys­tem with­in 6 – 24 months; the qual­i­ty in the prod­ucts can be seen imme­di­ate­ly. Don’t delay your pipe weld­ing automa­tion ROI any longer, get start­ed today! 

Our Robots​.com team of experts is ready to intent­ly lis­ten to your needs and help inte­grate the per­fect pipe weld­ing sys­tem; call us at 8777626881 or reach experts online.

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