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Proceedings Paper

Feasibility evaluations for the integration of laser butt welding of tubes in industrial pipe coil production lines
Author(s): Mauro Penasa; Enrico Colombo; Mauro Giolfo
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Paper Abstract

Due to the good performance shown by laser welded joints, to the quality and repeatability achievable by this welding technique and to its high process productivity, a feature inherent to the laser technology which, together with its high flexibility, allows different operations to be performed by a single source, consistent savings in a production line may be obtained. Therefore laser welding techniques may be of high relevance for industrial applications, provided that a sufficient attention is paid to avoiding a low utilization time to the operating laser source. The paper describes a feasibility study for the integration of a laser source as an automatic unit for circumferential butt welding of tubes in production lines of pipe coils, just before the cold bending station. Using a 6 kW CO2 source, thickness ranging from 3.5 to 11.2 mm in carbon, low alloyed Cr-Mo and austenitic stainless steels, have been successfully welded. Cr-Mo steels require on line preheating treatment, which however can be achieved by laser defocused passes just before welding. The results of the preliminary qualification performed on laser welded joints of the involved topologies of product (materials, diameters and thicknesses) are described together with technological tests required for approval: laser circumferential butt welding of tubes has proven to be effective, with satisfactory and repeatable results and good joint performances. An exhaustive comparison with current welding techniques (TIG, MIG) is then carried out, along with a detailed analysis of the potential advantages and benefits which may be expected by using the laser welding technique, as well as with a first estimation of the investments and running costs. Since laser productivity is saturated only at a rough 35% during the year, an accurate analysis of other possible applications and of a possible lay out of a laser working cell integrated in the factory production lines is performed. Usually little attention is given to this problem and this is one of the causes of uncertainty when investments in a laser are planned. In most cases a source is devoted to a single application, even if effective working time is really low due to laser fast processing. Therefore potential benefits are substantially reduced to a minimum amount of what can be expected by this flexible technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 September 1994
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 2207, Laser Materials Processing: Industrial and Microelectronics Applications, (7 September 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.184724
Show Author Affiliations
Mauro Penasa, RTM (Italy)
Enrico Colombo, Ansaldo GIE (Italy)
Mauro Giolfo, Ansaldo Industria (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2207:
Laser Materials Processing: Industrial and Microelectronics Applications
Eckhard Beyer; Maichi Cantello; Aldo V. La Rocca; Lucien Diego Laude; Flemming O. Olsen; Gerd Sepold, Editor(s)

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