Seamless steel pipes have become an integral part of our daily lives. We use them in many industries. Also, these pipes play a pivotal role in different residential applications. Their widespread use in industries like petrochemical, aviation, automobile, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, and many other applications make them one of the most common piping solutions.
Even though many manufacturers have started to produce seamless tubing solutions, they come across some challenges from time to time. While some of these challenges are easy to overcome, for some of the challenges, pipe fabricators need external help.
The primary concern is that these challenges often reduce productivity, hamper the quality of the products, and increase material wastage. We will explore the most common problems pipe suppliers come across and how they can solve the issues effectively in this article.
Selection of materials and their procurement:
Seamless tubes and pipes are known for their quality. And manufacturers maintain the quality of their products by sourcing superior materials. So, the primary challenge they face in producing seamless piping solutions is to select and procure superior materials.
The source of seamless piping is solid steel billets. The availability of these billets can be an issue for pipe suppliers. First, they need to depend on suppliers who will help them source superior stainless steel billets. Second, they also need to keep the market price of the products in mind while selecting. Spending too much money can increase the cost of their products, which can lead to another problem.
Also, the raw material market is unstable. Sometimes, the instability of the market hampers the consistent flow of raw materials.
- Solution: The solution to this issue is to maintain a close partnership with the raw material suppliers. Pipe fabricators must have contact with more than one supplier to ensure that the flow is maintained. Also, they should partner with respected dealers to ensure the quality of the raw materials. Reputable raw material dealers test their products and deal in superior-quality billets.
Tubes and pipes that are strong and lightweight are still in high demand. However, seamless pipe manufacturers often need help with manufacturing the pipes. The manufacturing process is geometrically complex. The process involves heat treatment, using dies, rolling the tubes, annealing, cooling the pipes, changing their shapes, etc.
Pipe suppliers must bend the pipes to the right angle to get the benefits they offer. Since most industries use these pipes for their precision, it is the responsibility of the pipe providers to create products that are precise.
- Solution: In contrast to conventional cold forming, hydroforming fluids enable optimal material expansion to produce the intricate geometries required for automotive and aerospace piping and tubing.
Industries, including energy, healthcare, and transportation, require seamless tubes and pipes with several bends. Manufacturing lightweight items requires cutting-edge forming fluids, which manufacturers must use to meet the demands.
Most industries choose seamless steel pipes because of their superior quality. The pipes are durable, withstand high pressure and varying temperatures, have different shapes, consistent wall thickness, etc. However, sometimes it becomes difficult for the manufacturers to maintain the quality of the pipes.
The pipes may develop cracks, rust, and internal inclusions. The pipes may also show signs of scaling and decaying, which are difficult to deal with. Even the wall thickness can be uneven at times. Eliminating these problems takes meticulous investigation.
- Solution: There is one solution to this problem, and that is to inspect the pipes thoroughly. Pipe providers must have a dedicated team that controls the quality of the end products. They must have intensive quality-checking systems.
For example, they should use non-destructive techniques, such as magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic testing, etc. On the other hand, they should also test the pipes using Eddy current and hydrostatic testing.
Surface finish and corrosion resistance:
Seamless tubes and pipes must be corrosion-resistant. The superior-quality steel billets ensure the end products do not erode even when exposed to corrosive environments. However, occasionally, the surface coating of the pipes chips off. These pipes may also face problems like scaling and pitting, which makes them prone to corrosion.
The upper layer of the pipes becomes damaged, exposing the inner layer of the pipes. Once corrosive elements start to set in, seamless pipes start to wear off. Inconsistent surface finish can be one of the major reasons behind this issue.
- Solution: The solution to this problem is to cover the pipes using a corrosion-resistant coating. For example, pipe suppliers can coat the pipes with zinc. However, they should clean the surface before applying the corrosion-resistant coating.
There are many challenges in producing seamless steel pipes. Manufacturers must overcome these challenges by implementing the correct strategies. They should use modern technologies, invest in high-performance machinery, and deal with reputable raw material suppliers.
They should also invest in inspecting the quality of the pipes after every step. It will help them identify the issues at the beginning and remove them. Thus, pipe providers will be able to save money.
The target is to reduce material wastage, reduce fluid consumption, improve the efficiency of the machines, and provide superior products. The better the quality of the pipes, the more profit pipe producers will earn. They should also follow international standards while producing these pipes and tubes and abide by environmental regulations.