The project concerns the modelling and improvement of orbital plasma welding systems for titanium and austenitic stainless steels by developing a new orbital system and establishing the methods for treatment of the already identified problems. The project is expected to ensure joint integrity, to reduce defect rates, to improve productivity and generally to overcome the limitations of GTAW in welding such tubes.
The program involves the modification of an existing GTAW weld head for plasma operation, the identification of parameter sets for orbital welding on a range of pipe compositions, sizes and wall thicknesses and the statistical modelling of parameter/weld geometry combinations for process optimization. The end result of the research will be an improved understanding of the plasma welding process coupled with a prototype orbital welding system design, using statistical modelling for adaptive control of the process. The program is therefore strategically placed for subsequent industrial development.