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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Ficken

Choosing an Automated Pipe Welding System

There are many considerations that should be taken into account when selecting an automated pipe welding system. GSI sells and supports locally the Rotoweld 3.0 manufactured by Technar, represents a significant advancement in automated welding technology. Known for its precision, efficiency, and versatility, the Rotoweld 3.0 is a state-of-the-art solution for various industries requiring high-quality welding. What makes the Rotoweld so revolutionary? Let's take a closer look the features, benefits, applications, and the overall impact of the Rotoweld 3.0 in modern pipe fabrication.

Key Things to Consider

How Will The Machine Account for Out of Round Pipe and Uneven Bevels?

It is important to understand the difference between semi-automated pipe welding machine and fully automated pipe welding machines like the Rotoweld. We cover this topic in depth in our article: Fully vs Semi-Automated Pipe Welding Systems. Many manufacurers on the market today which claim to be automated, have no adaptive software so that the operators are required to manually control the torch in real-time. The Rotoweld utilizes an AI-driven proprietary software, the Perfect Pass IQ, that constantly measures the weld puddle and weld-joint and makes weld parameter adjustments in real-time such as adjusting amperage or increasing torch oscillation or travel speed. The machine's ability to perform automatic seam tracking and adjust in real-time to variations in the workpiece enhances its accuracy and reduces the need for manual intervention. This is a crucial consideration when evaluating competitive automated machines; without this key feature operators are likely to encounter bottlenecks when faced with out-of-round pipe or imperfect bevels.

The Rotoweld 3.0 is also equipped with a dual-torch system, allowing it to perform simultaneous welding processes and this significantly decreases weld cycle times. The Rotoweld torches are controlled completely by the machine with no operator input. This is important because it rules out the possibility that the operator could mis-align the torch. The operator simply pushes a button the Rotoweld will not only find the weld seam, but it will position the torch at the perfect angle and distance from the pipe. Again this is important to consider when selecting a machine, many manufacturers require the operator to manually position the torch for each weld. Day in and day out this will increase the likelihood that an operator positions the torch at an improper angle, height or misaligns the torch over the weld joint. This will cause issues like lack of penetration or concavity and are likely to lead to costly re-work.

How Will The Hardware Hold Up Over Time?

Rotoweld has been manufacturing automated and semi-automated systems for over 20 years and have had many years of trial and error along the way. Ultimately Rotoweld discovered that although it would be cheaper to use commercially available components such as weld positioners, booms and tracks - these components were not specially designed to be used in an automated system and they tend to wear out and not provide the precision that is needed for successful automated welding day in and day out. For example Rotoweld builds their own positioners in house using proprietary materials and everything is servo driven. This is an advantage over competitive machines that use commercial third-party positioners which use spur gears. Spur gears work well for manual welding but they give backlash which gets worse overtime and need to be replaced or else the machine will not be able to make quality welds. Rotoweld also builds all their rollers, pipe supports, chucks, and rails in-house. These components have all been put to the test and are overbuild to provide many years of trouble-free operation. The positioners on the Rotoweld system have a 65” centerline of rotation. This allows for rotating of elbows without hitting the floor. Traditional welding positioners typically have only a 36” centerline of rotation.

What is the Footprint of the Machine?

Every shop owner knows shop floor space is precious and must be utilized in the most efficient way possible. Something to consider is the footprint of the machine and how it will lay out into your work flow. Many competitive machines attempt to use one boom on two positioners. Although this is perhaps cheaper, this setup creates an awkward work flow and crowds shop space. Rotoweld is designed in a straight line for a straight line work flow through the shop. Our twin bay systems can be configured in several ways to best utilize the shop space you have.

What are the installation costs and on-going costs for Software/Maintenance

This is an important consideration for automated pipe welding machines because there may be additional costs to the machine that you may not be aware of upfront. GSI quotes our Rotoweld machine with installation and training included. Shipping is the only other cost for the Rotoweld. Rotoweld does not charge any on-going subscription fees for software or maintenance like many of our competitors do. Some software subscriptions can range up to $50k per year. With Rotoweld we give you the all-in price and you own the software when purchased. In terms of maintenance GSI is available 24/7 for local support but these machines do not require maintenance they are heavy duty and built to give you years of trouble-free operation. Welding components, consumables and services can also be provided by local Lincoln or Miller distributors.

Rotoweld 3.0 Welding Speed

Rotoweld's automation capabilities minimize human error, ensuring consistent and high-quality welds. This leads to improved structural integrity and longevity of the welded pipes. Secondly, the machine's efficiency reduces production time and costs, welding pipe at about 1min per 1in of pipe OD. The reduction in manual labor allows more skilled workers to focus on more complex tasks instead of wasting their time making mundane welds all day.

Financial Impact

The economic impact of the Rotoweld 3.0 extends beyond the immediate cost savings on production. By improving the quality and durability of welded products, it helps reduce maintenance and repair costs over the product's lifecycle. This reliability can enhance a company's reputation for quality, potentially leading to increased market share and customer loyalty. Additionally, the machine's efficiency and productivity gains can contribute to higher throughput, enabling businesses to meet growing demand without compromising on quality.

The Rotoweld 3.0 by Technar represents a significant leap forward in automated pipe welding technology. Rotoweld's advanced features, wide-ranging benefits, and versatility make it an invaluable asset across multiple industries where pipe fabrication is needed. The technological advancements integrated into the Rotoweld machine ensure it remains at the forefront of pipe welding automation, while its financial benefits underscore its value beyond mere production efficiency. As the pipe welding industry continues to evolve, the Rotoweld 3.0 is poised to play a crucial role in meeting the demands of modern manufacturing and construction, keeping USA production competitive globally.

If you want to learn more about our automated pipe welding solutions, reach out to GSI Machinery today.


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