Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

HQ-TUBES — Result In Brief

Project ID: 222289
Funded under: FP7-SME

Perfectly welded pipes and tubes

More accurate monitoring of hybrid laser-arc welding processes, used to make pipes and tubes, will boost EU manufacturing.
Perfectly welded pipes and tubes
Hybrid laser-arc welding — a technique that combines laser light with an electrical arc — is used in several industries, including the manufacture of metal tubes and pipes. An ongoing challenge posed by hybrid laser-arc welding concerns achieving a consistent weld quality and productivity.

This is because the process requires a significant degree of control. The EU-funded 'High-quality tube and pipe production by hybrid welding' (HQ-TUBES) project sought to provide this measure of control in the manufacturing of tubes and pipes. It developed advanced sensors suitable for the hybrid laser-arc welding process.

Sensors developed by HQ-TUBES are designed to monitor weld quality and allow process modification where needed. The development should greatly help tube and pipe manufacturers, which are often faced with the production of too much scrap product due to process inconsistencies, lack of online quality control and inconsistent equipment.

Another important factor is that the time required to weld a tube contributes significantly to the cost of the finished product: for some tube types, welding time is 50 % of the total manufacturing cycle time. Thus, for cost and delivery time reasons, the welding task is critical to the whole production process.

Many pipes and tubes contain hazardous substances, so during operation the consequences of a weld failure are very significant, not only in economic terms, but also in terms of the environment, and health and well-being.

the European tube and pipe manufacturing industry needs to increase both the productivity and the quality of its products to become more competitive and to safeguard employment in a fast-changing market.

Outcomes of the HQ-TUBES project should prove extremely beneficial to European small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) tube and pipe manufacturers and end users. Manufacturers of sensor equipment and software system integrators will also benefit. The concepts developed in terms of monitoring hybrid laser-arc welding are dependent on equipment, which should provide new market opportunities.

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