Industries and Applications for Orbital Welding

Industries and Applications for Orbital Welding

Orbital welding, by definition, is: “automatic or machine welding of tubes or pipe in-place with the electrode rotating (or orbiting) around the work”.

The process of orbital welding was originally created to allow for higher levels of control and precision within the nuclear power and aerospace industries. Since its first use in the 1960s, orbital welding has been incorporated into a variety of sectors including pharmaceutical, offshore applications and nuclear piping industries to name a few. These industries require highly reliable components, with a level of accuracy and precision not provided by standard manual welding.

Orbital welding became practical for many industries in the early 1980’s with the development of portable combination power supply/control systems that operated from 110-V AC on site and 240-V AC in the factory.  The process was further revolutionised with the introduction of computer control systems which store memory for welding schedules; this allows the talents of a skilled welder to be replicated on a large scale with little error margins. Computerised systems also allow specifications such as base material, tube diameter and arc length to be stored for each application.

Below are examples of industries that benefit from the use of orbital welding and examples of applications the process is used for:

Orbital welding, by definition, is: “automatic or machine welding of tubes or pipe in-place with the electrode rotating (or orbiting) around the work”.

The process of orbital welding was originally created to allow for higher levels of control and precision within the nuclear power and aerospace industries. Since its first use in the 1960s, orbital welding has been incorporated into a variety of sectors including pharmaceutical, offshore applications and nuclear piping industries to name a few. These industries require highly reliable components, with a level of accuracy and precision not provided by standard manual welding.

Orbital welding became practical for many industries in the early 1980’s with the development of portable combination power supply/control systems that operated from 110-V AC on site and 240-V AC in the factory.  The process was further revolutionised with the introduction of computer control systems which store memory for welding schedules; this allows the talents of a skilled welder to be replicated on a large scale with little error margins. Computerised systems also allow specifications such as base material, tube diameter and arc length to be stored for each application.

Below are examples of industries that benefit from the use of orbital welding and examples of applications the process is used for:

Aerospace – this was the first industry to recognise the benefits of orbital welding. The high-pressure systems of a single aircraft can contain more than 1,500 welded joints, all automatically created with orbital welding equipment. The key driver to this being implemented is that only 2 mechanical joints are permitted on the fuel lines on an aircraft. The traceability and repeatability of orbital welding is the perfect solution.

Aerospace

Semiconductor – orbital welding is critical as the semiconductor industry requires piping systems to have fully penetrated welds to prevent any particle traps within the weld joints. These particle traps can cause a build-up of particulates and moisture, the release of these contaminants will effectively ruin the batch process.

Semiconductor

Food, Beverage & Dairy – food manufacturing often requires fully penetrated welds on all welded joints.  Similar to the pharmaceutical and semiconductor welding specification, the food, beverage and dairy industry requires fully penetrated welds to prevent and traps for any biological matter or bacteria which could contaminate and spoil the system.

Nuclear Piping – the nuclear industry has also been using orbital welding processes for many years, it relies on the high-quality welds produced to withstand the harsh operating environments.

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Offshore Applications – offshore projects often use a range of materials whose properties would change with temperatures in a typical weld cycle. Orbital welding allows hydraulic joints to be welded with higher resistance to corrosion and superior mechanical properties.

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Orbital Fabrications, based in Cambridge, is a market leader in orbital welding, specialist welding, and assembly of gas and fluid handling systems.  Established in 1988, Orbital Fabrications has over 30 years’ experience offering specialised orbital welding and high-tech fabrication to a variety of clients within the Semiconductor, Pharmaceutical, Aerospace, Chemical and Allied industries.

Orbital Fabrications is continually investing in the latest welding technology and equipment and they have one of the country’s best-equipped workshops, including a cleanroom and a machine shop.

A recent investment of £95,000 in a computer-controlled precision welding system permits wire feed and lathe welding which positions Orbital Fabrications at the forefront of technology. The lathe offers more flexibility of welding thicker walled and more exotic materials such as Inconel, Duplex and Hastelloy. The company has a highly skilled team that provides a comprehensive in-house, on-site Orbital and specialised TIG Welding service.

For more information about Orbital Fabrication’s orbital welding or any other of its welding or fabrication services please contact us here.

 

Orbital Fabrications - Established in 1988