Firefly News

Adopting automatic welding in the pipeline industry

With rigorous welding standards, regulatory changes, an aging workforce and ever increasing costs, welding contractors need to fully consider the role automatic welding can play.

So, what role does automatic welding play in the pipeline industry? Here at IPWL, we think the answer is straightforward…automatic welding machines like Firefly, present an opportunity to gain a competitive edge in a tough industry. Economics matter. Moving with the times matters. Updating the skilled welder’s toolbox with an automatic welding option can make a difference.

David Freeman, The Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, USA

“It is being used increasingly today. About 20% of the entire pipeline business employs automatic welding, and it is on the increase. With the evolution of mechanised welding equipment, we see tremendous advances in productivity and quality. Therefore, return on investment becomes increasingly reachable. A secondary driving factor would be the criteria. More and more we see specifications mandating some level of mechanisation, and with the expanded use of high strength materials, it undoubtedly is on the increase.”

Gordon Eadie, Global Pipeline Segment Manager, ESAB, Sweden

“In order to limit costs and increase welding productivity – particularly on long routes – pipeline constructors have adopted the semi-automatic or completely automatic welding process with solid and flux cored wires. In addition, with dwindling skilled labour resources, automatic solutions are on the increase (it is quicker to train an operator to use a welding bug than to produce a fully welded joint with a manual process). Moreover, because of more accurate identification of defects, many of the manual processes cannot achieve the required acceptance criteria, thus increasing the use of automatic wire electrode solutions that typically exhibit fewer weld defects.”

Source: World Pipelines, Volume 14 Number 11 – November 2014