The Austrian SME is specialized in deliveries and assemblies of steel and plant construction, but also plans and manufactures its own steel support structures (cranes, platforms, manipulation aids etc.) for its construction sites.
One of the focal points of the company is the realisation of penstocks. In this process, steel pipes with a diameter of more than 600 mm are assembled and aligned with the pipe ends facing each other, then tacked and finally welded together inside or outside over the entire circumference. Until now, these activities have been carried out manually by welders. This always leads to problems when there is not enough qualified personnel available and in sometimes dangerous locations (e.g. alpine terrain, danger of falling rocks; pipes with small diameters: less space for the welders).
In order to increase the efficiency of the welding process and to achieve a continuous and consistently high welding quality, the Austrian company is now planning to develop an automated pipeline welding system for these applications. The automatic welding machines available on the market cannot be used. On the one hand, they are not suitable for pipeline installations on or in mountains (inclined position). On the other hand, they are designed for constant general conditions around the pipe circumference (edge offset, gap dimension). Particularly when installing pipelines on or in mountains, the pipes cannot be installed exactly because of the adverse conditions (inclined position). This leads to different values for edge offset and welding gap on the pipe circumference, which would require an adjustment of the welding parameters.
(Fabrication & installation tolerances depend on the pipe standards)
Therefore, an automated pipeline welding system will be developed that can also be used in difficult conditions at the installation site and automatically adjusts the welding parameters constantly to the changed conditions at the pipe circumference.
The Austrian company is now looking for a technology for the best possible detection of these seam deviations on the entire pipe circumference. By means of an interface, the system should make the measured values available for the necessary control of the welding hardware. Ideally, a ready-made solution is sought or a measuring system that can be easily built upon.
Developers or manufacturers of suitable sensor solutions (including interfaces to machines) are sought for a technical cooperation agreement. Ideally the partner sought already has experience with applications for welding of pipelines.