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Welding of Pipelines

Crude oil and natural gas are currently the most important energy carriers. Vast transport pipelines already exist or in the planning stages throughout the world. The development of new higher-strength pipe steels is thus making greater and greater demands on welding technology. Thanks to our specially developed electrodes that are optimally matched to the individual steels, we are able to completely satisfy these increased requirements as well as the strict safety conditions. The circumferential pipe seams are mainly performed as vertical-down welds using cellulose-coated stick electrodes whereby construction progress is essentially determined by the speed with which these welds can be manufactured. This method renders it possible to weld with a larger electrode diameter, higher current intensities and higher welding speeds. This results in considerable economic advantages compared with otherwise conventional vertical-up welding using rutile or basic-coated stick electrodes. Welding with basic-coated stick electrodes is dealt with following the section "Welding with cellulosecoated stick electrodes" for both the vertical-up and vertical-down position. BHLER Welding also has a complete range of qualities expressly designed for low-temperature loading. Please make separate enquiries regarding wires for gas-shielded and submerged-arc welding.

Welding with Cellulosic-coated Stick Electrodes

BHLER product name FOX CEL FOX CEL 75 FOX CEL Mo FOX CEL 85 FOX CEL 90 AWS classification recommended for pipeline steels acc. API Spec. 5L A 5.1-91 A5.5-96 E6010 E7010-P1 E7010-A1 E8010-P1 E9010-G A, B, X 42, X 46, X 52, X 56, X60, X 65, X 70, X 80 X 52, X 56, X 60 X 52, X 56, X 60 X 56, X 60, X 65, X 70 X 65, X 70, X 80

Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Welding of Pipelines.doc

Particular mention must be made regarding the special suitability of the BHLER FOX CEL electrodes for root welding even in higher-strength steels. The welding technology developed by BHLER Welding by using the BHLER FOX CEL for the root and if need be also for the hot pass in the form of so-called combination welding provides the greatest security against cracks. Careful weld preparation is very important for achieving perfect welds. It is not usually possible to comply with tolerances with torch-cut edges. In practice the pipe ends are generally prepared by metal cutting. To prevent pores and fusion defects the weld edges must be free from foreign matter such as oil, lubricant, scale and dirt. In the same way grooves and notches also disrupt handling of the electrode. The BHLER FOX CEL 2.5 mm electrode is recommended for pipes with smaller diameters (up to 300 mm) and 3.2 mm for the root pass. Preheating and Interpass Temperature Preheating the parent metal encourages and accelerates the diffusion of hydrogen and therefore inhibits underbead cracking. Furthermore, it is possible to reduce the hardness increase in the heat-affected zone depending on the temperature level and the chemical composition of the steel. 150C has been found to be adequate for preheating. Regardless of the carbon content preheating should always be performed for wall thicknesses over 20 mm and in the case of high-carbon steels susceptible to hardness increase it is advisable to increase the temperature to approx. 200 C. It is also necessary to take the external temperature into account! For thin pipe materials unsusceptible to hardening increase it is beneficial to heat the pipe ends slightly to at least 50 C to remove condensation water. According to the various specifications different carbon contents are permissible. If the carbon content is above 0.20% we recommend consulting the electrode and steel manufacturer about the choice of preheat temperature. The interpass temperature affects the metallurgical processes which take place during solidification and cooling and thus has an effect on the mechanical properties of the weld metal. It also affects the diffusion speed of hydrogen. It is therefore recommended that the interpass temperature should be maintained at no less than 80 C during welding. An interpass temperature of at least 140 C is recommended if
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cellulose-coated stick electrodes with tensile strengths above 620 N/mm2 (e.g. BHLER FOX CEL 90) are used.

Welding with Basic-coated Stick Electrodes

In some countries the use of basic-coated stick electrodes for pipeline construction is preferred over the use of cellulose-coated stick electrodes for various reasons. Generally speaking the use of basic electrodes is recommended for welding very thick steels over 25 mm susceptible to hardness increase. The reason for this is the very low hydrogen content of these types of electrodes. The high dissipation of welding heat in higher wall thicknesses and the simultaneous presence of higher hydrogen contents increases the risk of hydrogen-induced underbead cracks when using cellulosecoated stick electrodes. To prevent this it is only worthwhile using basic-coated stick electrodes if the root pass is also welded using the same type of electrode. In vertical-up welding using basic-coated stick electrodes the time required above all for root welding is relatively high. Naturally this is also linked to a certain loss of economic viability. As a result basic-coated vertical-down electrodes have been developed which may be used for both root welding and also filler and cover pass welding. Vertical-up Welding Depending on the pipe materials chemical composition and its tendency towards hardness increase, preheating to 150 200 C should be carried out for thick plates even when using basic-coated stick electrodes. The preference in this case is to use basic-coated electrodes of the FOX EV 50 (E7018-1), FOX EV 55 (E7018-1), FOX EV 60 (E8018-G) and above all the FOX EV PIPE (E7016) type specially optimised for pipe welding. Care must be taken to protect the electrodes against moisture. Electrodes from boxes that are already open must be re-dried before use for 2 hours at 300 350 C according to the specifications. The root pass is usually applied using electrodes with a 2.5 mm in order to achieve perfect root fusion. Welding is performed in the vertical-up position with a root gap of approx. 2.5 - 3 mm. At times a special weld shape is used to save weld metal (see sketch). Welding of the filler and cover passes is usually performed using electrodes with 3.2 und 4 mm whereby the welding area must be protected against wind, rain, etc. to prevent pores. Vertical-down Welding BHLER product name FOX BVD RP
Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Welding of Pipelines.doc

AWS-classification A 5.5-96 E8018-G E8018-G E9018-G E10018-G E11018-G

recommended for pipeline steels acc. API Spec. 5L A, B, X 42 - X 100 A, B, X 42 - X 65 X 70, X 80 X 80 X 100 (not standardized yet)


Executing the Welding of Pipelines Weld preparation: Weld preparation is carried out by metal cutting. The permissible dimensional tolerances of the pipes are listed in the standards API Spec. 5 LX and DIN 17122. Preheating: The risk of underbead cracks due to hydrogen when welding with basic-coated stick electrodes is lower than when welding with cellulose-coated stick electrodes due to their relatively low hydrogen content. Nevertheless preheating to 150 C is recommended above all when welding thick-walled pipe materials that are susceptible to hardness increase. The following diagram illustrates when preheating is recommended. Alignment of pipes: Alignment of the pipes is performed with hydraulically operated internal alignment clamps as when welding with cellulose-coated stick electrodes. Due to the relatively strong root bead formation and the low hydrogen content on the part of the basic-coated root electrode it is

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possible to release the internal alignment clamp when the root weld is complete as long as the edge misalignment is not too great. Welding at Low External Temperatures or in Wet Weather Under unfavourable weather conditions especially at air temperatures below 0C, welding work may only be carried out on pipelines if the welding and working conditions render perfect weld execution possible. This means that although welding at low external temperatures is not prohibited, it is necessary to observe certain safety precautions. The following rules have been tried and tested in practical use: 1. Remove ice, frost and rain by warming up (preheat to hand-hot). 2. Speedy welding without longish pause; if necessary employ several welders for one weld seam. 3. Use electrodes as thick as possible. 4. The welder himself must be adequately protected against the cold (provide tents, windbreak or infrared radiator). There are no generally applicable rules or restrictive specifications regarding the execution of welding work whilst raining or on wet work pieces. Nevertheless it is obvious that the welding area and its surroundings must be shielded from rain and other weather effects. The welding area must be free from water in all cases. Rebaked basic stick electrodes have very little hydrogen in the weld metal from the start and therefore provide a higher level of safety against hydrogen-induced cracks under unfavourable conditions. However, even the basic weld metal may exhibit substantial hydrogen contents during welding in a steam-saturated atmosphere.

Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Welding of Pipelines.doc

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