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Title: Mechanized welding on in-service pipelines
Category: Technical papers from the Journal of Pipeline Integrity
Downloadable: Yes 
Project No.:
Research Agency:
Catalog No.: 2065
Date of Publication: Fourth Quarter, 2004
Price: $25.00 US
Authors: Stephen A Blackman, Richard Holdstock, William A Bruce & David V Dorling
Abstract: The repair and remediation of in-service pipelines is a safety-critical process that must be closely controlled, but which must nevertheless be performed using cost-effective techniques. The most commonly-used processes for welding onto in-service pipelines are shielded-metal arc welding (SMAW) using conventional low-hydrogen electrodes, and gas metal arc welding (GMAW). The use of SMAW results in limited productivity, and the use of GMAW is limited in the amount of heat input that can be achieved and can be susceptible to producing lack-of-fusion discontinuities. For large-diameter pipelines, the use of manual welding is time-consuming and there is a greater risk of operator error due to the long welding times involved. Similarly, welding onto higher-strength pipelines (X80 and above) may require precise weld bead placement to ensure correct tempering of previous weld runs, and the electrodes conventionally used will not provide adequate weld metal properties on these pipe grades. There is, therefore, a need to develop advanced welding repair and remediation methods for in-service pipelines. This paper describes the initial results of a research program being conducted by Cranfield University and EWI on behalf of Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI) and the US Department of Transportation. The research project is developing low-hydrogen flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) processes and mechanizing these processes using a multi-axis welding carriage with adaptive control and tracking. This will not only provide higher-quality repair welds, but also permit in-service repair welding to be extended to future high-strength pipelines. A demonstration system will be built and tested under field conditions. The system will be suitable for pipelines of grade X65 and above.
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