Skilled pipe welders need to adapt to keep pace with advancements in automated orbital welding. However, even with new arc welding technology, traditional orbital welding skills are still in demand.
The video clip shows welders during their WPS qualification putting in a root pass in the traditional way – by hand. The same welders then use Firefly orbital welding machine to do the fill and cap passes.
The workpiece is a 24 inch X65 grade pipe with a wall thickness of 17mm. The weld procedure stipulates a root pass by hand followed by seven fill and cap passes using Firefly semi-automated welding machine. The welding process is flux core arc welding (FCAW) in the 5G weld position.
A typical skilled pipe welder will do a root pass at a travel speed of about 4 inches per minute. A typical automated weld process using Firefly will produce a consistent weld result travelling at speeds of between 8 and 10 inches per minute. So the welder needs to adapt his skillset to cope with much faster weld speeds.
Why bother with semi-automated arc welding? With eight passes to do on each 12 metre pipe section along a lengthy pipeline, the automated weld procedure gives a considerable competitive advantage to contractors. Do the maths!