Improved quality and productivity reduce production costs

As the leading supplier of gases and welding equipment and machinery in sub-Saharan Africa, industrial gases company Afrox continues to provide innovative welding solutions to the Southern African market by introducing new products and technology.

The latest of these is welding equipment manufacturer Miller Electric’s PipeWorx process, a multipurpose pipe welding solution that eliminates the need for high-level pipe welding skills while simultaneously improving quality and productivity.

Afrox has been the exclusive distributor of Miller welding equipment in South Africa for over 50 years and first tested the PipeWorx process in 2012. After extensive research and development, the company is now ready to put its weight behind this innovative pipe welding technology and encourage its application in the South African market.

Afrox manufacturing business manager Johann Pieterse says the PipeWorx process is particularly advantageous for power generation and petrochemicals applications where productivity and quality can be improved.

“PipeWorx can be used to achieve quality welds on pipes from one gas and one wire which means greater productivity, less inventory and improved ease of use. It is also a less expensive process than tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding and reduces the need for highly skilled welders, therefore resulting in a strong base for skills localisation and increasing economic competitiveness,” notes Pieterse.

He explains that, conventionally, pipe welding calls for exceptional quality requirements using TIG and manual metal arc (MMA) gas welding processes, but these skills are difficult to find locally and often imported into the country.

“Both TIG and MMA processes require high levels of skills to achieve quality, flaw-free welds. Miller’s PipeWorx process can reduce the requirement for specialised pipe welding skills while at the same time improving quality and productivity.”

Pieterse adds that this easier process can potentially be used by a field of less-skilled welders and as a result, improve job creation and employment in South Africa’s welding industry.

The PipeWorx process allows TIG-quality welding to be achieved using the advantages of simpler gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and uses the same welding equipment for the root, fill and capping passes. It incorporates two advanced GMAW welding control options.

The first GMAW option is regulated metal deposition (RMD) welding optimised for root welding and producing precisely controlled metal transfer, making it easier for the welder to control the power and the weld pool. The RMD current waveform anticipates and controls the short circuit current phase of the process to improve the consistency of the metal transfer and short circuit stability.

This not only reduces splatter but also produces less turbulence in the weld pool, allowing the welder to control the position of the weld pool and avoid cold lapping and washing of molten metal up the side walls, ultimately producing consistent quality root welds in terms of both fusion and weld bead profile.

ProPulse, for fill and capping passes – the second GMAW option – is an open arc pulsed solution that offers high speed and deposition rates, as well as a fast freezing puddle and good weld-pool controllability. It further accommodates narrow joints, and both vertical up and vertical down welding is possible.

“PipeWorx is not just a product, but rather a complete welding solution that introduces new technology into the market and will add value for our customers,” says Pieterse.

He mentions that the company has a welding laboratory in South Africa that is dedicated to continued market development and have the unique ability to test new products as well as offer entire support packages including new application development, on site optimisation and implementation followed by extensive skills training.

PipeWorx is available as PipePro 400 for fabrication shops and FieldPro 350 for site work. Both are multi-process, inverter-based welding power sources, purpose-built for advanced and convenient pipe welding and include embedded MMA, TIG, flux-cored, and GMA conventional welding modes.

The PipeWorx system, and its associated machinery, equipment and training, is available in South Africa exclusively through Afrox.