Ever wondered how steel pipework is produced? Being in the process pipework services industry we routinely handle and specify pipework often without thinking about the manufacture of the pipeline products we recommend for our customers. So here is a quick breakdown of some of the main methods used to manufacture steel pipe for process pipework.

Before that though you need to consider the raw material before it ever gets close to resembling steel tubing or pipework. Primarily steel is produced in several forms but only two are of interest to the pipe manufacturer. These are the round billet and the steel slab. The billet is used to produce seamless pipe while the slab is heated to be processed into steel plate which is ultimately wound into coils. These two raw materials are used to produce steel pipe by way of the methods outlined below.

Seamless Pipework

Produced from the round billet the heated billet is pushed or pulled over a mandrel placed at its centre which initially produces a hollow tube. The tube is continually worked while hot until the diameter and wall thickness required is met. Its possible to produce substantial wall thickness’s using this method and as such it has high strength and impact resistance. Its perfect for process pipework in construction and petro- chemical applications and is used widely in pipework installations all over the world.

Fusion Weld Pipework

The pipe here is manufactured using a continuous welded process which begins with a coiled  sheet material the width and thickness for the size of the pipe to be produced. This continuous ribbon of steel is heated in a furnace until it is hot enough to begin the forming and fusing process. Forming rolls at the exit of the furnace serve to shape the flat plate into a tube until the edges meet where the combined heat and pressure form a weld. Unlike welding process’s that need added metal to make the weld none is needed and final sizing rolls complete the process, molding the pipe to its final dimensions.

Electric Resistance Welded Pipework

Commonly referred to as ERW for obvious reasons this process produces lightweight tubing that has uses far beyond the needs of pipework installation contractors. ERW piping is used to manufacture architectural products, domestic and commercial applications as well as all types of street furniture.

Like Fusion welded pipe ERW tubing begins life as a flat plate coil which is fed continuously through a series of rollers which form the flat plate into a tube. As the edges meet and electrical charge is used to heat the edges and so they can be welded together. This is a high speed process that can produce six metre lengths is quick succession in either plain steel, galvanised or stainless. The stainless versions can be used by process pipework service providers to deliver aggressive or corrosive fluids while plain mild steel specs can be utilised to transport oil and water mix emulsions such as engineering cutting fluids.

Linmar Pipework Services use these pipework types everyday and have extensive facilities at our Sheffield workshop to tackle just about any process pipework services contract. If you are looking for a services contractor that is able to work either locally or nationwide please get in touch, tell us what you need and let us produce a competitive quotation for your business.


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