Critical pipeline welds demand highly skilled operators capable of meeting strict quality standards and deadline pressures. Failing to be a consistent performer can be a problem, especially in a next-man-up environment. Maximising productivity in pipeline welding – while prioritising quality and avoiding unnecessary downtime – are the main priorities for pipeline welders. Consider how some best practices and choosing the right welding equipment can help save time and maintain quality on the ROW.
Pipeline welding priorities
Low-carbon, low-alloy steel pipe has traditionally been welded using the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process. Cellulosic filler metal electrodes and downhill welding techniques have remained relatively unchanged over the years, but welding codes, testing procedures, and quality standards have become more stringent. At the same time, contractors face increasing competitive pressures to complete projects more quickly and efficiently. This creates an urgency to ensure projects stay on schedule, meaning high productivity while maintaining weld quality and avoiding repairs is crucial. For pipeline welders, these changes have meant more pressure to avoid weld defects while keeping up with tight project timelines. Welders often have a quota of the number of weld joints they must complete in a day. They can’t afford to get side-lined by issues with their welding equipment. When that happens, they’re unable to perform their job, or they may need to rely on borrowed equipment.
Following some best practices can help optimise equipment performance and save time. Consider these three tips for pipeline welding:
1. Be flexible to improve versatility
The use of harder (X70 and above) variations of pipe has become more common in the field, as engineers design pipelines to maximise service life and reduce maintenance costs. However, factors such as heat input, and the diffusible hydrogen value for the filler metal become more critical. As a result, they may require specialised filler metals and welding processes when being constructed …
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