An Austrian company wants to develop an automated pipeline welding system for uneven construction sites. It is therefore looking for a suitable ready-made or near to market detection solution, which is able to detect small variations in edge offsets and welding gaps around the circumference of steel pipes with diameters with more than 600 mm. The system should provide an interface to the welding hardware and should be robust and easy to handle. Partners are sought for a technical cooperation.
The Austrian SME is specialized in deliveries and assemblies of steel and plant construction, but also plans and manufactures its own steel support structures (cranes, platforms, manipulation aids etc.) for its construction sites.
One of the focal points of the company is the realisation of penstocks. In this process, steel pipes with a diameter of more than 600 mm are assembled and aligned with the pipe ends facing each other, then tacked and finally welded together inside or outside over the entire circumference. Until now, these activities have been carried out manually by welders. This always leads to problems when there is not enough qualified personnel available and in sometimes dangerous locations (e.g. alpine terrain, danger of falling rocks; pipes with small diameters: less space for the welders).
In order to increase the efficiency of the welding process and to achieve a continuous and consistently high welding quality, the Austrian company is now planning to develop an automated pipeline welding system for these applications. The automatic welding machines available on the market cannot be used. On the one hand, they are not suitable for pipeline installations on or in mountains (inclined position). On the other hand, they are designed for constant general conditions around the pipe circumference (edge offset, gap dimension). Particularly when installing pipelines on or in mountains, the pipes cannot be installed exactly because of the adverse conditions (inclined position). This leads to different values for edge offset and welding gap on the pipe circumference, which would require an adjustment of the welding parameters.
(Fabrication & installation tolerances depend on the pipe standards)
Therefore, an automated pipeline welding system will be developed that can also be used in difficult conditions at the installation site and automatically adjusts the welding parameters constantly to the changed conditions at the pipe circumference.
The Austrian company is now looking for a technology for the best possible detection of these seam deviations on the entire pipe circumference. By means of an interface, the system should make the measured values available for the necessary control of the welding hardware. Ideally, a ready-made solution is sought or a measuring system that can be easily built upon.
Developers or manufacturers of suitable sensor solutions (including interfaces to machines) are sought for a technical cooperation agreement. Ideally the partner sought already has experience with applications for welding of pipelines.
- Type of partner sought: The detection technology has to fulfill the following requirements:
- detect variations in the edge offset between 0 - 2 mm around the circumference of the pipe
- detect variations in the welding gap between 3 - 8 mm around the circumference of the pipe
- applicable to steel pipes with diameters between 600 mm and 5500 mm; solutions with a sensor moving around the circumference of the pipe (inside or outside) can be considered;
- any suitable detection technology (such as laser, camera, sensors etc.) can be considered
- including an interface for the control unit of the welding hardware
- ideally a ready-made solution or a technology which can be easily adapted to this case
- robust and easy to handle and maintain
- heat and cold resistant housing
- insensitive to dust (steel dust from grinding)
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The Austrian company is looking for developers and/or manufacturers of suitable detection systems (including machine interfaces) from industry. Experience with applications for welding of pipelines is desired but not a prerequisite.
R&D organisations will also be considered, if they can provide a close to market detection technology which was already applied and tested in welding or similar cases.
The partner is expected to offer a detection solution and expertise in the framework of a technical cooperation agreement.