Orbital welding is a specialized area of welding whereby the arc is rotated mechanically through 360° (180 degrees in double up welding) around a static workpiece, an object such as stainless steel tubing, in a continuous process. The process was developed to addresses the issue of operator error in gas tungsten arc welding processes (GTAW). In orbital welding, computer-controlled process runs with little intervention from the operator. The process is used specifically for high quality, repeatable welding.
The main components of every orbital welding system are the power source and controller, and the welding head. There are a large number of factors that can have an influence on the welding result. These aspects include the arc length, magnitude and pulse frequency of the welding current, welding speed, inert shielding gas, parent material, weld preparation, and thermal conductivity. Ultimately, a high quality weld is achieved through detailed knowledge of how to precisely adjust all these parameters for each individual welding task.
A successful automatic orbital GTA weld is 100% repeatable as long as the operator monitors variables and performs periodic samples or coupons which are inspected for complete penetration. Noticing that a variable has changed is a primary skill and can be easily missed. Training and experience are required for an operator to be successful at consistently producing acceptable welds.
ASME requirements for certification of a person as an orbital welding operator requires the person to set up the weld head and program the welding machine and produce 6 consecutive samples that will pass bend and/or tensile testing. Professional instruction is typically obtained for a person to be able to make samples that pass the test.
Swagelok South Carolina is proud to offer the equipment, either through purchase or rental, and the training necessary for you to implement a successful orbital welding program at your site. For more information on orbital welding contact: