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1 Copyright 2012 by ASME

DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW WELDING CONTROL METHOD FOR HF-ERW PIPES


- ADVANCED WELDING PROCESS OF HF-ERW 1 -

1
Toshisuke FUKAMI,
1
Nobuo MIZUHASHI, 1Noboru HASEGAWA,
2
Hideki HAMATANI,
1Yasushi HASEGAWA,
3
Takuya ASANO,
3
Suguru MOTOYOSHI,
3
Takao MIURA,
4
Kimiharu TANAKA,
4
Tomohiro NAKAJI,
5
Kazuto Yamamoto

1
Technical Development Bureau, Nippon Steel Corporation, Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture, 293-8511, Japan
2
Nagoya R&D Laboratory, Nippon Steel Corporation, Tokai City, Aichi Prefecture, 476-8686, Japan
3
Nagoya Works, Nippon Steel Corporation, Tokai City, Aichi Prefecture, 476-8686, Japan
4
Oita Works, Nippon Steel Corporation, Hikari City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, 743-8510, Japan
5
Head Office, Nippon Steel Corporation, Tokyo, 100-8071, Japan

KEYWORDS
Line pipe, HF-ERW pipe, weld defect
ABSTRACT
In recent years, the key application requirement of the ERW
line pipe has been its toughness, including the weld seam.
It is known that, among defects generated at the weld seam,
the penetrator defect affects toughness and is difficult to control
by welding condition[1-4].
Generally speaking, ERW pipes are welded with exposure to
air, and oxides are produced on the surface of the melted metal
during the process. The discharge of this melted metal by
electromagnetic force and squeezing produced at the current
welding route is effective in eliminating the penetrator, and
constantly optimizing the welding heat input means this defect
can be constantly reduced.
To optimize the welding heat input, therefore, it is
important to determine the welding phenomena occurring at the
welding spot and contrast them with the defect area ratio. We
have studied (examined) the welding phenomena, optimum heat
input power and the welding defect generation mechanism.
Consequently, it was revealed that by varying the welding
speed, Vee convergence angle and welding heat input, etc., a
new categorization of welding phenomena as Types 1, 2, 3, and
2 was possible.
In the case of Type 2 and 2 welding phenomena, the welding
defect area ratio decreases, which resulted in a sound seam weld
with high toughness. If these two welding phenomena are
compared, the wider heat input power range of Type 2 is
preferable for the HF-ERW manufacturing process. The higher
heat input of Type 2 compared to Type 2 compensates for the
abutting surface angle fluctuation, meaning it is also preferable
for pipe manufacturing. Consequently, the control of the Type 2
welding phenomenon is preferable for the HF-ERW
manufacturing process.

INTRODUCTION
High frequency - electric resistance-welded (HF-ERW) line
pipes have been successfully used for many years for onshore
and offshore applications, particularly in the North Sea and
Canada. In a typical HF-ERW process, the melted dual-strip
edge from a flat strip is gradually deformed into a cylindrical
form through a series of rolls, which are joule-heated, melted by
electric resistance and then pressed together by squeezing. This
upset forms a metallurgical bond with the dual-strip edge
surfaces. However, weld seams created by HF-ERW often have
relatively low toughness compared to other pipes.
The toughness of the weld seam can be determined by the
presence of hard microstructures and weld defects, e.g. cold
defects, the inclusion of oxide in the form of continuous films,
resulting from a lack of heat input for the welding speed, and
penetrator, the inclusion of pancake oxide that results when the
welding speed generates excessive heat input. The excess
molten metal on the butting strip edges is exposed to the
atmosphere during welding.
From the weld seam, the molten metal, including oxide
inclusions, will be excreted, not only by electromagnetic force
due to the high frequency current along the molten stage, but
also the upset during the upset stage. Moreover, when excreting
the defects, sufficient material heating and upset are key factors
behind the occurrence of these defects. Therefore one of the
essential factors for ensuring improved weld seam toughness in
HF-ERW pipes is the optimization of welding operations, i.e.
the use of an automatic weld heat input control technique.
However, for HF-ERW, the heat input to the steel plate is
complexly determined by the electrical power input, welding
speed, plate thickness, apex angel (vee convergent angle
Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference
IPC2012
September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
IPC2012-90219
2 Copyright 2012 by ASME
between two strip edges), squeezing force, and others,
hampering efforts to select each welding parameter individually.
Conversely, the three discrete welding phenomena identified,
types 1, 2, and 3, were revealed via several investigations of
weld seam formation characteristics. It is also understood that
the welding phenomena mentioned are closely related to the
formation of weld defects. However, our advanced research has
revealed the existence of a new type of welding phenomenon,
namely type 2, for a relatively high welding speed and
electrical power input range and the advantage of welding with
this type 2 phenomenon[5].
As mentioned above, the objective of the present study is to
optimize welding phenomenon and minimize the formation of
weld defects via new welding phenomena. In this paper, we
report on the results of our investigation into the welding
phenomena during the welding of high strength line pipes with a
yield strength grade of X65.
NOMENCLATURE
V 0: geometrical convergent point
V 1: physical contact point
W: welding point
: angle of extended lines of edges
M: melting motion steel
E: edge surface
P: magnetic force
Va: aproach rate of the steel plate edge in the welding
direction exceeds the excretion velocity
Vr: excreting rate of the molten metal due to
electromagnetic force.

WELDING MECHANISM
The HF-ERW welding process can be categorized into three
stages as in Fig. 1. These comprise initially, a heated stage of
the steel plate edge which is generated on the upstream side of
the welding spot; secondly, a melting stage, which is generated
at around the welding abutting point, and thirdly, an upset stage
whereby melted metal is excreted by the upset.

Fig. 1 Welding phenomenon

As mentioned above, Nippon Steel Corporation has already
identified and determined the three discrete welding
phenomena, types 1, 2, and 3. The Type 1 welding condition
tends to form cold welds due to the lack of heat input. A typical
cold defect observed by SEM is shown in Fig. 2 (a), whereby
microscopic oxide is visible in a dimple. Although the tension
strength is sufficient, the impact resistance value is significantly
lowered. Conversely, type 2 and 3 welding phenomena are
prone to penetrators, whereby although the steel plate edge is
melted, the oxides are insufficiently excreted during the
upsetting process, resulting in retained residue on the welding
seam. Fig. 2 (b) shows a typical penetrator with the size of the
over plate thickness, deriving from the fatal toughness drop of
the weld seam.
An investigation into the relation between heat input and
welding phenomena to minimize the formation of these defects
led to the discovery of a new type 2 welding phenomena, which
was quite different from previous types.

(a)Cold detects (b)Penetrators
Fig. 2 Welding detects
Fig. 3 illustrates a schematic diagram of the effect of welding
speed and electrical input power on the welding phenomena,
including our surprising finding. Line A divide welding
phenomena through the welding edge approaching rate and
matter metal excreting rate; if the welding heat input is higher
than line A for certain welding speed, the approaching rate is
low for the molten metal excretion. Line B divide the diagram
in same manner; if the heat input is higher than the line for
certain heat input, the whole thickness of the edge will melt
completely.
The input power exceeds line A, while the approach velocity,
Va, of the steel plate edge in the welding direction exceeds the
excretion velocity, Vr, of the molten metal due to
electromagnetic force. The input power, conversely, is lower
than line B and the strip edge surface is not fully melted. We
have defined the intersection of these two lines as the critical
velocity, Vm. Generally, it is considered that types 1 and 3 are
observed in sequence. In the present works, a similar trend can
be obtained with a welding speed under Vm. However, as
mentioned above, new welding phenomena differing from type
3 were found for a higher input power. We classified the newly
occurring welding phenomenon as type 2 in this paper. The
Type 2 welding phenomenon is characterized by the two-
1rack of the str|p edges 1rack of the str|p edges
neat|ng Me|t|ng Squeez|ng
Low heat |nput Cpt|mum heat |nput


3 Copyright 2012 by ASME
phased vee convergence angle around the contact point of the
strip edges.
The choice of welding speed over Vm was significant in
suppressing weld defect formation and we tried to investigate
the optimum welding phenomena to minimize defect formation
at a point higher than Vm. The edge form of the Vee
convergence around the welding point is distinctive in every
phenomenon and reveals considerable information about the
state of HF-ERW. Figs. 4 and 5, respectively, show an overhead
view and schematic diagrams of the strip edges, depending on
the welding phenomenon and the strip edge shape.

Fig. 3 Schematic diagram of the effect of welding speed
and electrical input power on the welding
phenomenon
Fig. 4 Overhead view image of welding penomemon

The V0 point in the figure indicates the intersection of the
extended strip edge lines. In Types 1 and 2, the V0 point is the
first contact point of the steel plate edges. However, in the case
of Type 2, this contact point moves to the welding direction
side from the V0 point, which is assumed to be the V1 point.
The type 1 welding phenomenon occurs when the weld point
coincides with the vee convergence point, whereupon the strip
edges present a V-shape.
Types 2 and 2 occur when, between the weld point and vee
convergence point, a narrow gap or slit is formed, due to
excretion by electromagnetic force as shown in Fig. 7. In
particular, in the case of type 2, the V0 point does not coincide
with the vee convergence point, whereupon the two-phased
convergence edge, quite different to the other welding
phenomena, appears. A relatively larger amount of molten metal
before the Vo point, due to the higher heat input, results in a
large gap between the strip edge, which is the primary reason
for the formation of a new welding phenomenon. Conversely, in
the case of type 2, which occurs at a lower heat input than type
2, although the whole thickness of the plate edge surface melts,
since excessive heat input must not be applied, it is difficult to
distinguish the two-phased convergence edge and slit[6].
The length of the slit, as mentioned above, depends on the heat
input. However, the welding phenomena seem to result in the
heat input having a different impact on the slit length.

Fig. 5 Schematic diagrams of the strip edges

Fig. 6 Excreted molten metal by electro magnetic force

Fig. 7 shows the relation between welding input power and slit
length. In the Type 2 region, the slit length rises according to
the increase in welding input power. This assumes that, for an
electric input power, the electromagnetic force increases the
amount of the excreted molten metal; hence the slit must be
extended.
Conversely, in type 2, there is almost no variation of slit
length in electric input power. A possible explanation is that the
amount of capable excretion molten metal remains constant, due
1ype 1
1ype 2
1ype 2
We|d|ng
phenomenon
neat |nput
Cverhead v|ew
|mage
n|gh
Low
1rack of the co|| edge
4 Copyright 2012 by ASME
to the excess excretion for a higher heat input before the strip
edge reaches the vee convergence point.
Here, high speed camera observation inferred that this slit
shows repeated expansion and contraction, periodically and at
several hundred Hz. The expansion and contraction of the slit
can be described by the welding electrical current circuit length
until the contact shoes and welding spot, along with the
behavior of its circuit resistance. Since the excretion velocity of
molten metal by electromagnetic force exceeds the approach
velocity of the steel plate, the slit lengthens due to the increased
excretion of molten metal from the same.

Fig. 7 Relation between welding input power and slit
length

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH TO OPTIMUM
WELDING CONDITION FOR THE HF-ERW

a) AN ADEQUATE WELDING PHENOMENON FOR
PREFERABLE WELDING
The welding phenomenon must be decided for the HF-ERW
pipe with a sound weld, with current Type 2 and 2 candidate
welding phenomena. Regarding the ERW simulation
experiment, the welding test procedure and equipment are
explained as shown in Fig. 8. Table 1 shows the chemical
compositions of the parent steel, X65 grade plate as per the API
standard, for steel strips with board thickness of 8 mm and
width of 32 mm.

Fig. 8 HF-ERW simulator and specimen

Table 1 Chemical composition (wt%)

The ERW welding simulation was carried out through the
ERW welding simulator, a strip welder originally from
Nippon Steel, which enables high heat input as an actual
manufacturing mill.
The squeezing amount, the total decrease in strip pair width
through ERW welding, was set at 4 mm, while the angle at the
welding point made by 2 strips, namely the V-convergence
angle, was set at 4 degrees. The welding speed was set at 18
m/min, which is equal to or greater than V
m
.
The soundness of the weld seam was evaluated by the defect
area ratio of a Charpy impact test at 433 K on the weld seam. At
such high temperatures, the fracture is always ductile other than
the weld defect portions, cold weld and penetrator. Therefore,
the weld defect can be converted to the brittle fracture area ratio
on the fracture surface[6].

Fig. 9 Fractured surfaces
Fig. 9 shows the fractured surfaces based on the welding
phenomenon. In the case of the Type 1 welding phenomenon,
although the fractured surface seems ductile, relatively low
ductile portions were observed; classed as cold welds according
to SEM image analysis. In cases of Type 2 and 2 welding
phenomena, all the fracture surfaces were entirely ductile. Figs.
10 and 11 shows a comparison of the cross-sectional
macrostructures of the welded portions. At the center of the heat
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
2 2 3 3 4 4
S
|
|
t
|
e
n
g
t
h
(
m
m
)
We|d|ng |nput power LpIp (kVA)




5 Copyright 2012 by ASME
affected zone, the melted metal can be distinguished as a narrow
band microstructure. Depending on the heat input, the melted
metal line can be clearly identified for Type 2 and 2 welding
phenomena. However, ambiguous line microstructures were
also observed for the Type 1 welding phenomenon with heat
input of up to 404 kVA.
Both results indicate sufficient melting for a sound weld seam
in the case of Type 2 and 2 welding phenomena.
Figs. 12 and 13 shows the charpy test results of the welding
seam about Type2 and 2 welding phenomenon. Both welding
phenomena, Types 2 and 2, decrease the Charpy-absorbed
energy transition temperature to below 213K.

Fig. 10 Microstructure of the welding seams

Fig. 11 Microstructure of the welded portions

Figs. 14 shows the welding defect ratio dependence on the
heat input as power.
The Type 1 welding phenomenon showed a relatively high
welding defect ratio due to the cold weld. If the heat input was
increased up to 474 kVA, a Type 2 phenomenon was observed
by the optical overhead view image as shown in Fig. 5. Here,
the defect area ratio was lower than 0.05 %, almost defect-free
and a sound seam weld was achieved. In the case of a high heat
input, of 651 kVA or more, sound welding was also achieved
according to the defect area ratio. The welding phenomenon of
the high heat input region was confirmed as Type 2 by the
optical top view image.
Moreover, an unstable welding phenomenon region between
Types 2 and 2 newly emerged. In this region, the slit length
went beyond 30 mm due to the transition of the welding
phenomenon from Type 2 to 2. The increased slit possibly
generates a penetrator; enhancing the return flow of the
discharged metal.
Table 2 shows the test results of strip welding to determine the
heat input power range for Type 1, 2, and 2 welding
phenomena. The squeezing amounts were 4 and 5 mm. Welding
phenomena were decided by the optical top view image and the
welding slit length. For slits longer than 30 mm, the welding
phenomenon was determined as an unstable region between
Types 2 and 2. According to Tables 2, the heat input power
range for the Type 2 welding phenomenon is obviously wider
than that of the Type 2 welding phenomenon.

Fig. 12 Charpy test results of Type2 phenomenon
Fig. 13 Charpy test results of Type2 phenomenon
Weld bond
Weld bond
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
2 2 2 2 2 3
A
b
s
o
r
b
e
d
L
n
e
r
g
y
(
I
)
1emperature (k)
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
2 2 2 2 2 3
A
b
s
o
r
b
e
d
L
n
e
r
g
y
(
I
)
1emperature (k)
6 Copyright 2012 by ASME
If the heat input exceeds 800 kVA, the abutting surface melts
excessively upstream of the welding point and the point delayed
to the downstream side. Such superfusionality decreases the
effective squeezing amount. Therefore the Type 2 welding
phenomenon has an upper limit.
Integrating the above results, the Type 2 welding phenomenon
is considered more appropriate for HF-ERW manufacturing
than the Type 2 welding phenomenon.

Fig. 14 Welding defect ratio

Table 2 Welding input power and the welding
phenomenon

(a)Thickness:4mm
(b)Thickness:5mm
b) EFFECT OF THE ABUTTING SURFACE ANGLE OF
THE PLATE EDGE ON THE WELD DEFFECT
The scope of the above studies is limited to HF-ERW welding
with a parallel abutting edge. However, the abutting edge facing
angle is not always 0, a parallel edge. In such cases, the welding
phenomena will change depending on the proximity effect of
the high frequency induced current. Fig. 15 is the abutting edge
C-cross-section examples showing (a) V-shape, (b) I-shape, and
(c) Inverted V-shape.
A V-shape is a welding groove in which the abutting edge
surface is open to the outer side of a steel pipe. A converse V-
shape is a state in which the abutting edge surface is open to the
inner side of a steel pipe. An I-shape is a groove in which the
abutting surfaces are parallel.
(a)V-shape (b)I-shape (c)Inverted V-shape

Fig.15 The abutting surfaces
To determine the effect of the abutting surface angle for a V-
shape on the welding phenomenon and welding defect ratio,
steel strips with thicknesses of 6 and 12 mm, width of 32 mm
and length of 4 m were welded through the strip welder. The
welding conditions are shown in Table 3. The abutting surface
angle of the test strips was evaluated by the open distance (DO)
of the upper corner of the abutting surfaces when 2 test strips
were rowed. Fig.16 is the cross-section of the specimen. The
abutting surface angle was given by precision machining to a
tolerance of within 10 micron meters for the test strips and the
actual V-shape welding conditions were simulated. Each DO
corresponds to the angle as listed in Table 4.
Table 3 Welding condition

Fig.16 The cross-section of the specimen

Table 4 DO and abutting surface angles(degree)

Slit
length
(mm)
25
23
27
25
36
19
0
0
303.9 2
273.5 1
259.4 1
374.0 2'
344.4 2'
322.2 Unstable region
Welding input
power
EpIp (kVA)
Welding
Phenomenon
428.3 2'
395.6 2'
Slit
length
(mm)
24
27
23
25
38
18
3
0
2'
2'
Unstable region
2
2
1
376.7
351.0
331.8
302.9
284.1
264.1
Welding input
power
EpIp (kVA)
Welding
Phenomenon
429.6
402.5
2'
2'
Input RF Power 150-500 (kW)
Welding Speed 10-55 (m/min)
Thickness 6,12 (mm)
Apex Angle (Ave.) 5 (degree)
Upset 4(at 2d=6), 2.5(at 2d=12)*(mm)
Gap 0,0.21,0.42,0.63,0.84 (mm)
Bevel Half Angle 0-4**(degree)
*Metal Flow Angle =55-60, **Table 2
DO
Thickness
0 1 2 3 4
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 12(mm)
0
(mm)
0.21
(mm)
0.42
(mm)
0.63
(mm)
0.84
(mm)
6(mm)
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
D
e
t
e
c
t
a
r
e
a
r
a
t
|
o
(

)
Wed|ng ower |nput LpIp(kVA)
Type2'
Type2
Type1
Unstable
region
Over
melting
7 Copyright 2012 by ASME
Figs. 17 and 18 show images of the optical overhead view via
the digital monitoring system for the various heat inputs. On
each image, the physical contact point V
1
and geometrical
convergence point V
0
are detectable. Fig. 17 indicates the
monitored images for the I-shape abutted edge welding. In the
case of the relatively low heat inputs, 332 or 348 kVA, no
melting slit was detected. Therefore these two images show the
Type 1 welding phenomenon. For heat input relatively higher
than 371 kVA, a melting slit was detected. At an input
exceeding 402kVA, the melting slit was clearly visible, while at
the same time, an arc light generated inside the slit was
observed. Therefore the welding phenomenon of the high heat
input is categorized as Type 2 or 2. Fig. 18 shows images for
the V-shape with an abutted surface angle of 2 degrees, 0.42mm
as DO. For heat input exceeding 375 kVA, detecting the melting
slit, the welding phenomenon can be categorized as Type 2 or
2. At 474 kVA, in particular, the welding phenomenon is
assumed to be the typical Type 2; judging from the position of
the V-convergence point in contact with the steel strips being
delayed on the downstream side, 15 mm on the image, and the
melting having increased on the upstream side of the V-
convergence point V1, and regardless of constant V, the
convergence edge angle O.
Fig. 17 Optical image of ERW welding through the digital
monitoring system (DO=0mm)

If the DO is smaller than 0.21 mm and the input is 320-
350kVA, the defect ratio exceeds 0.05 %, possibly due to the
cold weld. A little penetrator was generated at 460kVA. From
these results, the preferable heat input seems 400-440kVA. The
welding phenomenon at the inputs was decided as Type 2. In
case of DO at 0.42 mm, a small-scale penetrator defect, lower
than 0.05 %, was observed up to a heat input of 440 kVA. The
optical top view image of the welding determined the welding
phenomenon as Type 2. The preferable heat input, with almost
no defect, shifted to 475 kVA or higher. In that case, the
welding phenomenon was Type 2 based on the optical top view
image.

Fig. 18 Optical image of ERW welding through the digital
monitoring system (DO=0.42mm)

In the case of a narrow DO, smaller than 0.21 mm, the
preferable heat input is obtainable due to the entire melting of
the strip edge. Conversely, wide DO affects the induced electric
current depth distribution, comparing the electric current
distribution condition with that of the I-shape. The bottom of
the abutted surface of the V-shape groove is sufficiently narrow
for the melting of the facing surface. However, insufficient
melting due to the wide DO at the opened corner of the facing
edge resulted in a shortage of the electric current induction
depth. Therefore insufficient discharge of the penetrator
increases the welding defect ratio. In the case of a wide DO,
0.42 mm for example, with only the high heat input, Type 2 as
a welding phenomenon, no defect was detected.
Fig. 19 shows the welding defect ratio dependence on welding
heat input for various abutting surface angles. As shown in
Fig.19, DO, abutting surface length, below 0.42mm decrease
the defect ratio to 0.05% or lower. On the other hand, DO is
8 Copyright 2012 by ASME
higher than 0.63mm, the defect ratio increase to 0.05% or
higher.

Fig. 19 Defect area ratio and heat input for various DO

Integrating all the results in this study, the Type 2 welding
phenomenon is preferable for the application of the welding
phenomenon monitoring system. Its control can ensure defect-
free HF-ERW pipe manufacturing, with sufficient melting of the
abutting edge, even if the surface angle is tilted. The welding
input power ranges for Type 2 are wider than those for Type 2,
meaning the control of the welding phenomenon within Type 2
is also preferable for the HF-ERW manufacturing process.

CONCLUSION
In this study, research on welding phenomena with regard to
the decrease of welding defects in HF-ERW resulted in the
following conclusions:
1. When the welding speed of HF-ERW exceeds Vm, the
critical melt welding speed, the resulting welding phenomena
were categorized into three types: 1, 2, and 2.
2. In the case of type 2 HF-ERW welding, the V-shape
convergence consists of 2 slopes. Two mechanisms explain the
type 2 welding morphology. One is the abundant molten metal
discharge due to the electromagnetic force upstream of the
welding point, and another is the separation of the physical
contact point V
1
, from the geometrical convergence point V
0.

3. Both welding phenomena, Types 2 and 2, decrease the
Charpy-absorbed energy transition temperature to below 213K.
Therefore, the HF-ERW manufactures a tough ERW pipe at the
weld seam as well as the body.
4. DO, abutting surface length, below 0.42mm decrease the
defect ratio to 0.05% or lower.
5. The welding input power ranges for Type 2 are wider than
those for Type 2, meaning control of the welding phenomenon
within Type 2 is preferable for the HF-ERW manufacturing
process.

REFERENCES
[1] H. Haga, The welding Journal, Research Supplement, July
(1980) 208.
[2] H. Haga, The welding Journal, Research Supplement, June
(1981) 104.
[3] H. Haga, Nippon Steel Technical Report, No. 26 (1985)
27.
[4] Choong-Myeong Kim, Journal of materials processing
technology, 209(2009)838.
[5] N. Hasegawa, Proc. Int. Pipeline Conf. 2012, (2012) to be
Published.
[6] H.Hamatani, Proc. Int. Pipeline Conf. 2012, (2012) to be
Published.