What is an Orbital Welder? Find Out Now!


Introduction: What is an Orbital Welder?

An orbital welder is a specialised welding machine, performing automatic welding of pipes and tubes. It is an effective solution for a precision welding process. It uses a rotating mechanical device that moves the welding head around the circumference of the tube or pipe. Thus producing a consistent and uniform weld for high purity applications. Ideal for use in industries such as semiconductor, biotechnology, aerospace, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The orbital welding process eliminates manual intervention and can perform a range of welding processes. Including gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and gas metal arc welding (GMAW). It does this with a high level of accuracy, speed, and repeatability. The orbital welding tool affords a high degree of control over the welding process parameters. Things like welding speed, arc length, and heat input; ensuring consistent, high-quality welds.

What are the Benefits of Using an Orbital Welder?

There are several benefits of using an orbital welder, which include:

  1. Consistency. Orbital welding machines are precise and produce consistent welds. Thus ensuring the integrity of the joint every time.
  2. Efficiency. The automated nature of the orbital welding process saves time and reduces labor costs. Making it the ideal solution for high-volume production.
  3. Quality. The advanced technology used in orbital welding produces high-quality welds. With minimal defects, this leads to improved product reliability and longevity.
  4. Safety. Orbital welding minimises the risk of accidents and injuries. This is due to reduced manual intervention in the process.
  5. Purity. Depending on the application, orbital welding can be used to produce welds with high purity and cleanliness. Making it ideal for use in hygienic industries. These include industries like pharmaceutical and food processing.
  6. Versatility. Orbital welders can weld a wide range of materials. Stainless steel, nickel alloys, and carbon steel are all suitable. Making them a versatile option for various welding applications.
  7. Documentation. Orbital welders can provide detailed documentation of the welding parameters. Producing a record of the process for quality assurance and regulatory compliance.

The benefits of using an orbital welder include improved consistency and quality. As well as efficiency, safety, and versatility, making it an ideal choice for many industrial welding applications.

Setting up a Swagelok orbital welding machine for weld test.

How Does an Orbital Welder Work?

An orbital welder works by rotating an electrode and the workpiece around a static pipe or tube. The welding process occurs under an inert gas blanket, which is usually argon or helium. Here are the basic steps of how an orbital welder works:

  1. Preparation. Before the welding process begins, the surface of the workpiece and electrode require cleaning. This helps to ensure that there is no contamination.
  2. Clamping. The workpiece needs clamping into place, and the electrode then attaches to a rotating arm.
  3. Arc Initiation. An arc initiates between the electrode and the workpiece. Creating an intense heat that melts the metal.
  4. Welding. As the electrode rotates around the pipe or tube, it maintains a constant distance from the workpiece. This then creates a uniform weld.
  5. Cooling. After the weld is complete, the workpiece is cooled slowly. This helps to prevent warping or distortion.

An orbital welder features a computer controller that programmes the welding parameters. These include the diameter of the workpiece, the material, and the welding speed. The controller then sends the required information to the welding head. Which uses both mechanical and electrical components to perform the welding process.

The orbital welding process is precise, producing consistent, high-quality welds with minimal operator intervention. It is used in industries where welding quality and repeatability are critical. Such as aerospace, semiconductor, and pharmaceutical applications.

What are the Different Types of Orbital Welding Machine Available on the Market?

There are several types of orbital welding machines available on the market, each with its unique features and capabilities. Here are the four main types of orbital welding machines:

  1. Power Supply Integrated Orbital Welding Machine. This type of machine integrates with the power supply, control panel, and welding head as a single unit. These machines are compact and suitable for welding small to medium-sized pipes.
  2. Enclosed Orbital Welding Machine. This type of machine is suitable for welding pipes in a clean environment. It utilises a welding chamber, which provides a clean, inert gas atmosphere to the weld puddle.
  3. Portable Orbital Welding Machine. This type of machine is lightweight and easy to carry around. It is usually used for field welding, where the welder needs to move between different locations.
  4. Pipe-to-Pipe Orbital Welding Machine. This type of machine is designed for welding two pipes end-to-end, without any gap. The pipe-to-pipe orbital welder uses a welding head that clamps around the pipes, welding them together.

Orbital welding machines also differ based on the technology they use. Some machines use a programming language to program the welding process. Others have a touchscreen interface. Features like remote controls, on-board data logging, or automatic electrode alignment improve the efficiency and accuracy of the welding process. The choice of machine depends on the type of material, the size of the pipes, and the application requirements.

How to Choose Which Orbital Welder is Right for Your Project.

Choosing the right orbital welder for your project is essential. It ensures that the welding process is efficient, cost-effective, and produces high-quality welds. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing which type of orbital welder is right for your project:

  1. Material. The type of material being welded is one of the most important factors to consider. The material will determine the required welding method and welding parameters. As well as the type of welding head needed.
  2. Pipe size. The pipe size is another crucial factor to consider when selecting an orbital welder. Different machines are designed to handle different pipe sizes. Therefore it is essential to choose a machine that can handle the size of pipes you need to weld.
  3. Environment. The environment in which the welding will take place may also influence the type of orbital welder you choose. If you are working in a confined space or a clean room, you may need an enclosed or portable machine.
  4. Frequency of use. Consider how often you will need to use the machine. If you need to perform many welds, you may prefer a machine that is easy to set up and operate.
  5. Price. The cost of the welder will also be a factor in your decision. Higher-end machines will come with more features and capabilities. However they may not always be necessary for your specific project.

By considering these factors, you can better determine which type of orbital welder is suitable for your project needs. It is recommended to consult with an orbital welding expert. They will provide guidance on choosing the right machine for your project requirements.

If you’re looking to buy or sell an orbital welding machine, contact us today for a hassle-free, professional experience!



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