Hybrid laser-arc welding offers many advantages compared with conventional arc or laser welding. The process does, however require a high level of control if high quality welds are to be produced. This proposal tackles the issues of weld quality and productivity improvement for manufacturing pipes through development of advanced sensors for the hybrid laser-arc welding process. Hybrid process development must be performed for each material to be welded, with the main focus in this proposal being on austenitic stainless steels and C-Mn steels. By developing and integrating sensors that monitor weld quality and allow process modification, the project will increase the quality and productivity of European pipe manufacture beyond the state of the art, enabling it to overcome foreign competition which is particularly increasing from countries outside Europe like India, China and Turkey. Problems facing tube manufacturers include, production of too much scrap product due to process inconsistencies, lack of on-line quality control, inconsistent equipment operation, inconsistent joint preparation and presentation, lack of productivity and reliance on the skill of operators to change process parameters to maintain weld quality. Last but not least, explicit consideration will be given to health, safety, environment and quality issues, by ensuring that where physical interaction with the process is required, the risks to operators, environment and product are minimised. The automation of monitoring and the adaptation of the welding process accordingly, will ensure a better product quality. As the majority of welded tubes or pipes carry hazardous materials, this improvement in pipeline weld quality greatly reduces the risk of environmental disasters through pipeline failure and injury or loss of life associated with it because mechanical failure is the third most frequent cause of spills for oil lines.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs