It’s no secret that the world is constantly changing, and technology is a big part of that. Automation is gradually becoming more prevalent in many industries, as machines can often do things faster than humans. This shift is also happening in the world of welding, which has come a long way since our grandfathers’ time. It was 1960 when orbital welding was introduced to help mechanically join aerospace hydraulic lines. If you’re curious to learn more about orbital welding, keep reading our article.
The process of orbital welding was first used in the 1960s by the aerospace industry. North American Aviation’s Roderick Rohrberg developed the method to address fuel and hydraulic fluid leakages on the X-15 rocket research plane. In the 1980s, orbital welding machines became more portable and easier to use.
Let’s begin the discussion with the process of orbital welding.
- What is Orbital Welding
- What is orbital welding used for?
What is Orbital Welding
Orbital welding is the first choice for welding pipes and tubes because it works exclusively with circular or curved-shaped metal. It is a specialized type of welding in which the arc continuously rotates mechanically at 360° around a workpiece. This process is important because it helps to ensure that the weld is evenly distributed and high-quality. Additionally, orbital welding is often used in situations where it is difficult or impossible to weld the materials together manually.
Equipment Used in the orbital welding.
The tools needed for this welding type are the computer-integrated power supply, a wire feed system, and the welding head. Sometimes few projects require a coolant system as well. So let’s start discussing each of the tools in detail.
The power supply is a versatile tool that allows you to set a range of parameters. These include the pulse rate, current intensity, flow of shielding gas, welding head travel speed, and wire feed options. It should be portable, easy to carry, and can control up to four axes. Additionally, it should be compact and easy to use. The welder will monitor the arc length, amperage, and polarity; if anything goes wrong, he’ll make adjustments.
The main purpose of the welding heads is to hold the electrode together, put pressure on the workpiece, keep the current inflow as well as sustain optimal temperature. It comes in various sizes according to the job. For instance, if you want to do orbital TIG welding to should go for the tube-to-tube welding heads with U-type openings between 1.6mm to 168mm.
Wire Feeder system
Usually, a wire feeder is required when you are using the MIG welding process. It can be built into the welding head or come as a detached device.
Orbital welding is taken under extreme heat conditions. Thus a coolant system may be needed to prevent the welding equipment from being damaged. Cooling systems come along with two options water or air. It is better to use an air coolant system if dealing with high-volume welding operations with high-voltage welds. Go either way for a small low amperage operation, and you have a low budget.
Besides these tools, there are a lot of other factors that can impact the welding result. Things like the arc length, current magnitude and frequency, welding speed, welding current, filler material, weld preparation, shielding gas, and thermal conductivity all play a vital role. Achieving a high-quality weld comes down to knowing how to adjust all of these parameters for each individual welding job.
What is orbital welding used for?
It is used to weld various materials because its high-quality welding method meets the highest demands for a weld seam’s mechanical and optical properties. This method is primarily used in welding pipes and tubes and for other applications where accurate circular welding is required.
Orbital welding is mainly used to weld pipes and tubes and for other applications where accurate circular welding is required. However, due to its high performance for complex welds, it increases smooth and consistent productivity. Reliable and high-quality weld, its application is extended to various other industrial sectors.
A few major applications of orbital welding are:
- Food processing industries
- Chemical engineering
- Automotive industry
- Biotechnology and
- Semi-conductor devices making industries
- Nuclear power plants
The main advantage of orbital welding is that it is a very precise and consistent method. Machines are a great way to improve the precision of your welds.
The stress-free process provides long-term benefits for a greater period. Orbital welding machines also offer the potential to reduce human error and ensure that the precision is top-quality.
Few weld applications and situations can pose a challenge for welders who don’t have access to orbital welding techniques. In such cases, the welds required can be difficult or even dangerous to create, and this is where orbital welding comes in to save the day.
By using an orbital welder, you can achieve results that would be impossible to replicate with a manual welder, making your life much easier in the process.
1. Is orbital welding TIG welding?
Orbital welding is a special type of welding tubes, pipes, and other round materials. The arc welder rotates around the workpiece in this welding process to create a bond. It is basically designed to automate the TIG welding process to welding pipes and tubes.
The Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG / GTAW) technique has always been the primary method for orbital welding, as it uses non-consumable electrodes. In some cases, a cold-wire feed may be necessary. The better heart input and inert atmosphere make TIG welding the prime choice for orbital welding to weld pipes, tubes, and other materials.
2. What are the different types of orbital welding?
Types of orbital welding
In orbital welding, you can use TIG, MIG, or fusion welding processes, depending on the application and material used. This kind of welding primarily uses automated TIG welding to join pipes and other round materials without filler.
However, If you’re dealing with thicker materials, MIG welding is likely your best option. This is because MIG welds are stronger than TIG welds, especially for the flux-cored wire. With MIG welding, the welding head acts as the welding gun – which is a key difference from TIG welding.
On the other hand, Fusion orbital welding is more like TIG orbital welding, but no filler metal is added to the weld pool. Both materials simply fuse together. The weld is weaker, but it can be more efficient for some applications.
The types of orbital welding can also categorize into two categories: Orbital welding with consumable electrodes or orbital welding with the non-consumable electrode (TIG\MIG).
3. Is orbital welding hard?
Although orbital welding is a mechanical process, however, a successful automatic orbital welding needs an operator to monitor variables and performs periodic samples for complete penetration.
In an ideal situation, the welder would fully program all welding parameters before welding. However, due to variable constraints, often, the welder must make corrective interventions. So this process requires proper training and experience to operate the machine successfully and procedure acceptable welds.