Pipeline Welding & Fabrication

As the need for specialty steel pipe grows, higher steel grades and bigger wall thicknesses are introducing new challenges to pipe welding and fabrication shops. Here are some of the latest advances in welding equipment and fabrication tools that can help these shops gain and maintain a competitive advantage.

Rugged and portable, the APEX™ 2100 Orbital Welding System from The Lincoln Electric Company (Cleveland, OH) incorporates several features designed to speed set up and ensure accurate high speed TIG welding. The system features a APEX™ 2100 Orbital Controller with pendant to deliver a fully integrated and synchronized system that monitors, adjusts and controls welding parameters throughout the welding process, while capturing all welding information and data for future analytical and statistical reporting.

A demonstration and overview of the Lincoln Electric orbital TIG system comprised of the APEX™ 2100 and the HELIX™ T55.

The HELIX™ T55 Weld Head and patent-pending gear-driven track ring system are designed to be a complete, lightweight welding solution that is easy to install and position on pipes. The sleek and low-profile design allows the HELIX™ T55 to weld in confined or restricted spaces and in locations with lack of visibility.

A Power Wave® S500 multi-process power source provides exceptional performance for welding on thicker materials. The Power Wave® S500 delivers an extremely fast arc response, includes more than 65 standard welding waveforms for optimized performance on almost any application, and efficiently converts input power to reduce operational costs. A Cool Arc® 55 Water Cooler is designed to integrate with the Power Wave® S-Series power sources, reliably cools torches rated up to 500 amps. The APEX™ Mobile Workstation is a heavy-duty, industrial cabinet that houses all the APEX™ 2100 Orbital Welding System components.

This innovative solution was developed to meet application demands under a variety of environmental conditions, to achieve high productivity rates through advanced system performance, and reduce field serviceability and downtime. The system provides consistent and repeatable weld quality by reducing weld defects.

The company also offers an economical, entry-level CNC pipe-cutting solution in a compact footprint, the new MASTERPIPE® Mini Profiler that improves pipe fabrication productivity and quality by consolidating set-up, programming and cutting as an easy operation. This dual-axis CNC machine has a footprint of only 2 ft wide x 7 ft long and can rapidly finish 4 ft material. Five ft long expansion models can help the unit hold material up to 24 ft long.

An overview of the MASTERPIPE Mini Profiler from Lincoln Electric.

The powerful combination of a Windows® computer, running Torchmate® Driver Software, with the Torchmate Pro-Series CNC controller provides effective cutting on X-Y tables. The configurable, fully editable Driver Software directly takes the design software-generated G code and sends it to the controller. This action activates the MASTERPIPE Mini Profiler’s precise, accurate and dependable stepper motors, providing smooth, reliable torch carriage motion through the pairing of a direct gear-drive and self-cleaning V-rail/V-roller system. A single button control moves the torch mount back to the next chuck so that material can be easily loaded, positioned for cutting and unloaded.

An oxyfuel attachment option is available for material with heavy wall thickness or pipe and tubing that is “out of round.” It is capable of cutting and profiling pipe with an outside diameter range of 1 in to 12 in, quickly and efficiently delivering a wide range of cuts. These cuts include straight, miter, saddle, center offset, multiple intersection and gusset slots. The unit also cuts round, rectangular and overlapping pipe holes. With the optional WinMPM software, the menu-driven programming system is easy to use and doesn’t require highly skilled operations. Operators can select the type of cut from a large, pre-loaded cut library, making set-up quick and trouble free.

High-efficiency Classic® 300 HE and SAE-300® HE diesel engine drive welders are ideal for pipeline welding applications because they combine the excellent performance of the traditional, pure DC generator with a rugged, robust design. The pure DC generator welding output produces the welding arc preferred by pipeline operators and contractors, providing precise arc control for stick, TIG, MIG, flux-cored and gouging processes in demanding code applications.

A demonstration of how to set up the Lincoln Electric SAE-300® Engine Driven Welder.

Both deliver 3,000 total watts of AC power from a 120V or 240V duplex receptacle for power tools and lights. Compliant with the EPA Tier 4 Engine Emissions Standard, both fuel-efficient units feature 3-cylinder, water-cooled, 1,800 rpm engines. The Classic 300 HE offers the Kubota® D1503 engine, while the SAE-300 HE offers a choice between the Kubota D1503 and soon the Perkins® 403F-15T.

The Kubota engine delivers 15 percent fuel savings at 300A at low idle vs. the previous Classic 300 D model. The Perkins engine will deliver 13 percent savings at 300A and 20 percent at low idle vs. the previous SAE-300 model. These compact units, ideal for installation on truck beds, have fuel gauges on the control panel to easily monitor fuel levels, with additional engine gauges to indicate oil pressure and engine temperature. An electronic engine idler extends engine life and reduces fuel consumption. All-day welding is possible thanks to a 16 gal (60.6 l) plastic fuel tank.

When it comes to reliability, both of these diesel engine drives’ engine control units (ECU) are in a sealed housing for robust environmental shielding, with single-side engine access for easy routine maintenance. Both have glow plugs for cold-weather starting, automatic shutdown protection for low oil pressure or high water temperature with indicator lights for both functions, as well as one for the battery charging system.

Also ideal for pipe welding operations is the Activ8™ portable wire feeder, the smallest, lightest wire feeder on the market that is available in a One-Pak® configuration that includes a Magnum® PRO Curve™ 300 gun. With the One-Pak, welders can enjoy the convenience of receiving a wire feeder and gun matched for most applications in the shipbuilding, construction or pipeline industries. The Activ8™ One-Pak includes the following:

  • Activ8 Wire Feeder with internal contactor, gas solenoid, arc-sensing lead and clip [15 ft (4.5 m)] and a K1500-2 Gun Bushing.
  • Magnum PRO Curve 300 Gun with 15 ft (4.5 m) gun cable, 1/16 in (1.6 mm) liner, and K466-10 Gun Connector Kit.

The Activ8 has across-the-arc operation (voltage sensing) that uses a sense lead and contactor to enable weld current. Its standard shielding gas apparatus can be used for FCAW-G and GMAW processes. It is housed inside a tough plastic case, molded from high-impact, flame-retardant material, is durable and lightweight enough to withstand repeated drop testing.

Check out how rugged the Lincoln Electric Activ8™ Wire Feeder is for shipbuilding, construction, and other industrial applications.

The portable wire feeder is capable of feeding self-shielded FCAW or FCAW-G and GMAW (MIG) gas-shielded wires at 50 ipm to 800 ipm (1.3 m/min – 20.3 m/min). It will handle GMAW wires .023 in to .052 in (0.6 mm to 1.3 mm) in diameter and FCAW wires of .035 in to 5/64 in (0.9 mm to 2.0 mm) in diameter. The Activ8 is rated at 330 amps at 60 percent duty cycle and weighs in at only 27 lb (12.2 kg). At the heart of the Activ8 wire feeder is the MAXTRAC® Drive System, which features the following:

  • Dual gear-driven drive system to ensure positive feeding performance.
  • Patented wire drive with tool-less drive roller and wire guide changes for quick spool replacement.
  • Tachometer-controlled motor to power drive rolls for smooth, steady feeding without wire slippage.

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