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Pipe mill defects

Line pipes can be manufacturer using different methods, but in any case
the pipe ends are not perfectly round. The manufacturer is allowed to
produce line pipes with some tolerance dimensions. Some of them may
strongly affect field girth welding. In the following the main pipe mill
defects and their effects on welding are listed.

Out of roundness

The main characteristic of out of roundness is an oval shape, and its

main effect on welding is misalignment (Hi-Lo) . Therefore, the welding
defects associated with it are incomplete root penetration, burn through,
and root undercut. For thin wall pipes, out of roundness is usually
compensated for by the internal clamp. Especially when the clamp is
pneumatic or hydraulic, the even expansion force of the clamp deforms
the pipe ends and make them round. Out of roundness effects are more
deleterious in heavy wall line pipes, in which case the clamp may have
not enough force to compensate. In those cases, proper root pass
technique selection can help to reduce the harmful effects. Typically,
GMAW-P can overcome misalignment better than high cellulosic
SMAW. Also turning around the pipes to auto compensate the out of
roundness may also help
Fig. 23: Out of roundness

Different thicknesses

Welding defects similar to out of roundness can occur when welding two
pipes with the same nominal pipe thickness, but with excessive
difference in the actual thickness. When inspecting with automatic
ultrasound technique, it also can cause a false alarm, resulting in an
unnecessary repair.

Flat spots
Flat spots are typically located near the seam weld. They depend on the
manufacturing method, but they are more likely to be present in heavy
wall thickness line pipes. Even though this defect has effects similar to
out of roundness, rotating the pipe to compensate for this geometric
defect cannot help to reduce the deleterious effects associated with it.
Fig. 24: Flat spot

Laminations are non-metallic inclusions embedded in the pipe, and if
they are present near the pipe end they can cause welding defects such as
lack of fusion or slag inclusion.

Axial misalignment

Axial misalignment occurs when the linepipe axis is not straight but
curved. This pipe mill defect has negative consequences when the pipe
rotates and the weld torch (or electrode) is fixed. This welding position
is typically used in double joint welding plants and it is associated with
automatic or welding process such as SAW or GMAW. When the pipe
rotates during welding, the arc length may vary as the pipe rotates,
causing welding defects such as lack of fusion or lack of penetration.

Fig. 25: Straight and axially misaligned linepipe