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1 Copyright 2012 by ASME

Sung-Soo Eun
SeAH steel corporation
#14-1, Jangheung-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk,
Korea
Min-Hyun Cho
POSCO
1, Goedong-dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Gyeongbuk 790-
300, Korea


Ki-Hong Kim
SeAH steel corporation
#14-1, Jangheung-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk,
Korea
Hyun-Seung Lee
SeAH steel corporation
#14-1, Jangheung-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk,
Korea


ABSTRACT
According to the previous researches, the welding frequency
increases as the load impedance decreases when the narrow gap
shorts out during ERW welding process. The proper welding
frequency is theoretically calculated and also measured for
OCTG pipe manufacturing. Also, to assure the quality of ERW
tube, the spark detection device developed. According to
signals from the spark detection device, there are two types of
sparks found as a single-shot spark and sustainable spark. The
formation of single-shot spark is too short to recognize the
existence of spark with operators naked eyes during ERW
process. Thus, the paint spraying system was used to mark the
sparking location for screening at the inspection unit.
Therefore, spark detecting devices (bad signal detection) are
used to increase the productivity of products and improve its
quality. In addition, the database server system developed
according to the accumulated data can provide the cost savings
and the creation of new demands.

INTRODUCTION
High Frequency Electric Resistance Welding (HF-ERW)
pipe manufacturing line is consisted of forming, welding,
inspection, and post processing. HF ERW process is the most
important process during the production of pipe, so the control
of proper heat input management in terms of variables (wall
thickness, velocity, welding frequency etc.) is required.

However, the welding condition is mostly controlled by
operators subjective judgment. So, the operators have
determined welding heat input by observing brightness of the
welding light, bead shape, etc. Thus, it is very difficult to
maintain a consistent welding conditions and weld quality
because of the ambient factors such as the different level of
operators skill, the different working environment etc.

Therefore, it is significant to find out the correlation between
weld heat input and welding frequency in the High Frequency
Electric Resistance Welding [1-3]. Also, the optimum welding
frequency selection by the frequency analysis between
theoretical consideration and the actual measurement values is
necessary.

Besides, the development of device that operator can
objectively work by reasonable value of weld heat input
becomes significant, so a welding spark detecting device was
developed and used to divide the fault, danger and proper area,
and the thorough manufacturing history is managed by spraying
the paint as the setting of a limited range. Thus, Spark
Detecting Device contributing to the stability of final product
quality is carefully considered in this article.

HF-ERW WELDING PHENOMENON
HF-welding Process classified the method according to
supply system that is ERW(Electric Resistant Welding) and
Induction welding. [Figure 1] The key features of HF-ERW are
a skin effect and a proximity effect. Skin Effect is the tendency
of alternating electrical current to distribute itself within a
conductor so that the current density near the surface of the
conductor is greater than at its core. The penetration depth of
current (so called Electrical reference depth) is mainly
DEVELOPMENT OF OPTIMUM WELDING HEAT INPUT DEVICE
BASED ON WELDING FREQUENCY AND SPARK DETECTION
Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference
IPC2012
September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
IPC2012-90403
2 Copyright 2012 by ASME
depending on the frequency, so the formula is =1/, :
penetration depth of current (mm), : non-resistance (cm), :
relative permeability, : frequency (Hz). According to this
formula, the higher frequency gives more current flows on the
surface so the higher melting efficiency on the skelp edges is
obtained (saving the electricity during HF-ERW). Another key
physical phenomenon is proximity effect. The proximity effect
is the distribution of current within the conductor constrained to
smaller regions, if similar currents are also flowing through one
or more other nearby conductors. It means that if the proximity
distance is lower, proximity effect is higher. Thus, the shorter
proximity distance provides more concentrated current flow on
the skelp edges during HF-ERW process.
Secondly, there are two significant forces, which are the
approach force and the repulsion force. The approach force is a
mechanical force, which is generated by the process itself. The
higher line speed and V-angle produce the higher approach
force. On the contrary, the repulsion force tends to separate the
surfaces in the function of the molten metal removal. The
higher current density on skelp edges provides the stronger
repulsion force due to the high melting rate and Lorentz force.
Haga et al used the competition between approach force and
repulsion force in order to divide ERW welding phenomena
into three types, as shown in Figure 3.[2] Therefore, skin effect,
proximity effect, the approach force, and the repulsion force are
playing an important role in HF-ERW process.
During HF ERW process, many sparks occur at narrow gap
when both skelps are contacted, as shown in Figure 2. These
sparks are made by contacting molten metal produced on edge
surface because the short circuit occurs between edges of both
skelps that cause the sudden change of load impedance when
current flows in the shorted regions. Thus, these changes of
load impedance have significant influences on the oscillation
frequency[1-3], unexpected changes of oscillation frequency
could cause the short sparks. [Figure 4]
Therefore, the selection of proper welding frequency and the
development of a spark detecting device are focused in this
study.


FIGURE.1 Type of High-Frequency Welding

FIGURE.2 Schematic view of a welding phenomenon


















FIGURE.3 ERW phenomenon classification:
Relation between frequency and power (1
st
type, 2
nd
type,
3
rd
type) [1-3]
1
st
Type
2
nd
Type
3
rd
Type
Low-temperature heat input
Optimum heat input
High-temperature heat input
3 Copyright 2012 by ASME

FIGURE.4 ERW phenomenon classification
(1
st
type: easily prevented,
2
nd
type: optimum condition, 3
rd
type: worst condition)

ESTIMATION OF THE APPROPRIATE FREQUENCY
AND ACTUAL FREQUENCY MEASUREMENT
In HF-ERW, molten metal is generated by two physical
phenomena, the skin effect and the proximity effect, in order to
concentrate the current flow in a very thin surface of edge at
both ends, and then molten metal squeezed out by pressure after
melting.


FIGURE.5 Physical geometry of the weld Vee

Figure.5 shows physical geometry of the weld Vee. Heat
conduction and electromagnetic phenomena in the area of weld
vee are very significant to estimate the appropriate frequency.
Biot-Fourier equation for thermal conduction in weld vee is
below :

Maxwells equation for electromagnetic phenomena is below:

These two governing equations are theoretically solved to
obtain vee Power equations depending on 3 types of mode. [4]




Thermal Mode:


Transition Mode:



Electric Power Mode:


The relation frequency[4] is calculated as follows:


The ERW process becomes thermal mode at the high
frequency region, but it changes to the electric power mode
when the frequency is low. When ERW is in the thermal mode,
the line speed is not sensitive to power required as shown in
thermal mode vee power equation. On the contrary, the power
can be required as much as the increase of line speed when the
process is in the electric power mode.

These results show a reasonably constant efficiency between
the power output of the welder and the vee power calculated
from Figure 6, despite a variation if f welding/ f critical from
0.26 to 1.62. The slight fall-off in efficiency both frequency and
power are increased is attributed toI2R losses in the work coil
and buss work.


FIGURE.6 Experimental Data for Welding Power
Requirement
Figure.6 is referred to Thermatool paper.[6] Typically, Vee
Power is about one fifth of the total welding input power. [6]
Based on this estimation, the comparative chart of the
Mill Speed
(Meters/Min)
Welding
Frequency
(KHz)
Welder
Output
Power (KW)
f welding/
f critical
"Vee" Power
from Eq. 12
(KW)
"Vee" Power/
Welder Output
Power (Per Cent)
30.5 130 40 0.53 12.1 30.3
30.5 226 36 0.91 10.4 28.9
30.5 270 34 1.09 10 29.3
30.5 352 33 1.42 9.36 28.4
30.5 401 34 1.62 9.09 26.8
61 130 76 0.26 21.5 28.3
61 216 64 0.44 18.2 28.4
61 270 61 0.55 17 27.8
61 350 55 0.71 15.8 28.7
61 400 53 0.81 15.2 28.7
91.5 216 94 0.29 25.4 27
91.5 260 92 0.35 23.9 26
91.5 280 88 0.38 23.3 26.5
91.5 320 84 0.43 23.3 26.6
91.5 420 82 0.57 20.6 25.1
K7
2
I

- C
p
d1
dt
+q = 0 Eq.(1)

2
J - j2J = 0 Eq.(2)
P
0
Tdx = ny
u
KC
p
p:
u
Eq.(3)
P
0
_
3
4(2

-1)
_Tdny
u
KC
p
p:
u

=
1.81AIJny
u
KC
p
p:
u
Eq.(4)
P
0
2AIC
p
PJ[

2
, :
u

=
A1C
p
Pd
0
n]c
Eq.(5)

criticol
=
C
p
p
n
2
Ko

_
:
u

]
Eq.(6)
4 Copyright 2012 by ASME
theoretical frequency and the measurement frequency was
obtained by pipe diameter and welding velocity. [Figure 7]



FIGURE.7 Out-Diameter/Velocity theory/Calculation chart
of measurement frequency

SPARK DETECTING DEVICE DEVELOPMENT AND
COMMERCIALIZATION
During HF ERW welding, sparks are generated by many
factors, such as skelp edge condition, the instability of welding
current/voltage and forming, impurities on pipe, impeder
condition, work coil, and other environmental factors. At
normal welding condition, sparking at both rough edges and
narrow gap occurs periodically that helps to clean up the oxides
produced in the narrow gap by the sweeping action. For the
abnormal sparking, it is extracted out to be the unstable section.
Typically, a narrow gap length is 1 ~ 2mm for type 1 [1-3], 8 ~
10mm for type 2, more than 15mm for type 3. In order to find
the type 2, the spark range is set up for that, and it can be
started the detection about exceed area which is type 1, 2.
When the sparking is detected, a paint spray system is activated
to track the pipes with the sparking occurred in the production
line.

FIGURE.8 Spark Detecting system outline diagram

The outline diagram of a spark detecting system is displayed
in Figure 8. In this system, many programs are developed,
which are hardware signal (2000 times/sec) real-time
processing program, band program, range setting program, bad
signal extraction program, sparking tracking program, paint
spray application, and database management program. The
main management screen is shown in Figure 9.

FIGURE.9 Main operating screen of Database management
program

RESULT OF DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION
Unstable sparks are classified as a single-shot spark and
sustainable spark. The single-shot spark happens in the very
short time, so the operator cannot recognize with the naked eye
during the process. Thus, the paint spraying system is activated
Out
dia.
Thick
ness
Optimal
Frequency
(Khz)
Vee
Heat
Input
Weld
Heat
Input
V
critical
Welding
current
Welding
voltage
Welding
Power
Ref.
Velocity
Actual
Velocity
Thermal
Ref.
Electric
Ref.
Frequency
60.50 4.7 149 25 118 71 30.0 0.00282 0.00045 350000
60.50 4.7 198 29 136 71 40.0 0.00244 0.00045 350000
60.50 4.7 248 33 152 71 50.0 0.00218 0.00045 350000
60.50 4.7 298 36 167 71 60.0 0.00199 0.00045 350000
60.50 4.7 347 39 180 71 70.0 0.00185 0.00045 350000
60.50 4.7 397 41 193 71 80.0 0.00173 0.00045 350000
60.30 4.83 348 40 185 70 11.4 331 331 70.0 44.2 0.00184 0.00045 350000
89.10 4.9 202 45 211 59 1199 299 359 60.0 33.0 0.00242 0.00060 200000
114.30 5.6 197 66 305 76 1191 303 361 75.0 31.0 0.00245 0.00060 200000
The relation of Welding Frequency and HeatInput
Spec Calculated Data Actual measurement Data Mode selection
5 Copyright 2012 by ASME
to track the sparking when the single shot spark generated in
the graph.

As shown in Figure 10, when single-shot sparks occur, the
graph displays the sudden increase of welding current and the
sudden drop of voltage that are marked for the tracking. When
the sparking detects, the operator has to check the welding
condition including the operating environment. Therefore, the
chance to deliver the defective pipe to the customers is reduced
by using the newly developed spark detection device, so
reliable ERW pipe products can be supplied to the customers.


FIGURE.10 Single-shot spark generation

The case of sustainable sparks is shown in Figure 6. When
sustainable spark occurs, the out of range welding current and
voltage were displayed in the graph as demonstrated in Figure
11. Figure 11 is an example of serious case of sustainable spark
that continuously happens for 800mm welding distance. Once
again, the worker should check the welding condition and the
operating environment, and then the operator should re-operate
the pipe manufacturing after modification of the welding
condition.


FIGURE.11 Sustainable Spark Generation

When sparks occur, the paint immediately sprays on the
product, and then the metal flow shape and microstructure are
analyzed to check the level of product quality. The asymmetric
angle of metal flow and inclusions at the weld bond line are
found as shown in Figure 12. To produce the sound weld bond
line, the inclusion must be avoided because this inclusion
causes the crack initiation in the flattening test. Also, the weld
with asymmetric metal flow angle is susceptible to crack.
[Figure 12]


FIGURE.12 Microstructure and Metal Flow angle analysis

In Figure 13, the surface defect on the ERW A53B pipe
sample (26.7mm outer diameter x 2.87mm wall thickness) is
displayed. This surface defect pipe sample was not detected by
Eddy current testing that is the most common surface crack
detecting test, but it was detected by the spark detecting device.
This spark detecting device provides the operator with one
more powerful defect detection device that increases the chance
to find the defective products.
6 Copyright 2012 by ASME

FIGURE.13 Product that pass the Eddy Current test

Another sample of detecting the defects using the sparking
detection device is shown in Figure 14. The boiler tubes of
SA178C (38.1mm outer diameter x 2.7mm wall thickness) are
used for the analysis of the spark detecting device. Defect
sample extracted from the pipe products when the current is
much higher than the average. For this case, the current is 48%
higher than the average, so the sample was extracted as a
defect. Based on the analysis of metal flow shape, cleanliness,
and microstructure, 1.19mm cold weld defect was found in
Figure 9. Additionally, this defect sample was scanned by HIC
3-D inspection C-Scan to observe the clear crack.


FIGURE.14 Analysis of Boiler Tube Failure

Figure 15 shows on-line UT (Ultrasonic Testing) signal
waveforms and the spark detecting signals. The Fault signal of
on-line UT and the signal of spark detecting device are
observed at the same time. By applying cross checking of two
different signals, the fault ratio of defect detection is reduced
when manufacturing the high grade ERW products.


FIGURE.15 Signal matching with Spark detecting device
signal and ON Line UT fault signal

Figure 16 is another good example of the spark signals
obtained from the developed system. After passing the tip to a
point 35m from the point at 50m intervals, signals were
unstable, even after the 100m point can be seen unstable.
Figure 17 and Figure 18 are also good example of the spark
signals obtained from the developed system. These are the
samples of very serious cold defect and outside surface defect.
In case of Figure 17, after passing the tip to point 18.7m, signal
was unstable too. Thus, the massive failure can be prevented by
providing a graph of sparking signals to make sure that
customers can receive the high quality products.
As a result, the spark detecting device provides the additional
defective pipe screen tool to reduce the chance to deliver the
defective pipe to the customers. If the defective products are
supplied to the customer, it provides the negative effect on
manufacturer due to the high claim cost and the loss of
customer trust. Therefore, a spark detecting device developed
in manufacturer plays an important role of providing the high
quality pipe products to the customers. Spark detecting device
developed in this study once again improves the reliability of
HF- ERW pipe process.
7 Copyright 2012 by ASME


FIGURE.16 Sustainable Sparks generation


FIGURE.17 Cold defect

FIGURE.18 Outside surface defect

CONCLUSION
The quality control of ERW pipe products are depending on
operators skill and experiences, so the consistent quality of
pipe products is not easily obtained. When the spark forms at
the narrow gap during ERW process, usually it is not detectable
because the sparking occurs too fast to recognize with the
operators naked eye. Therefore, the spark detecting device was
developed to trace the instability of the ERW process that
causes the welding defects in the ERW bond-line.
Eventually, to provide the high quality products to our
customers, the spark detecting device is additionally used to
screen the welding defects during the ERW process. Therefore,
it can be produced and supplied the reliable ERW pipes to the
customers for the increase of customers confidence and the
strengthening of the manufactures capability for bulk order.

REFERENCES
[1] Haga, K. Aoki, and T. Sato, 1980, Welding Phenomena
and Welding Mechanisms in High Frequency Electric
Resistance Welding -1
st
Report, Welding Journal, Vol.59
(208
s
-216
s
).

[2] Haga, K. Aoki, and T. Sato, 1981, The mechanisms of
Formation of Weld Defects in High-Frequency Electric
Resistance Welding, Welding Journal, Vol. 60 (104
s
-109
s
).

[3] Michio Saito, Hitoji Kasahara, Hirotomo Tominaga, and
Shuzo Watanabe, 1986, Theoretical Analysis of Current
Distribution in Electric Resistance Welding, Transaction ISIJ,
Vol. 26, pp. 461-467.

[4] Dr. Paul F Scott and Warren Smith, 1996, The Key
parameters of High Frequency Electric Resistance Welding,
Tube International, 1996.

[5] Yutaka Mihara, Koji Suzuki, Toshio Ohkawa, Naoki
Harada, Isamu Komine, and Saburou Ishiro, A New
Automatic Heat Input Control for Production of Electric
Spark Occurrence time
Spark Occurrence time
Voltage
Current
Speed
Voltage
Current
Speed
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e

A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e

Time
Time
Sec.
Sec.
2011.11.19_23:30:19
2011.11.25_09:47:55
Sustainable Spark
8 Copyright 2012 by ASME
Resistance Welding, Transaction ISIJ, Vol. 26, pp. 476-483,
1986.

[6] Dr. Paul F Scott, Key parameters of High Frequency
Welding, Thermatool Corp East Haven CT USA.