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Qualification and Codification of Out-of-Chamber EB Welding

Fri, 10 June, 2022

Three members of our electron beam welding team spoke at a recent webinar dedicated to joint industry projects (JIP) concerned with the qualification and codification of out-of-chamber electron beam welding.

Principal project leader Tom Pinto, senior project leader Derek Oliver, and project leader Wai Jun Lai were all on hand for the event on 10 May 2022, which you can see a recording of below.

The development of out-of-chamber electron beam (EB) welding has now reached the point of commercialisation, as bespoke well-engineered systems are available for purchase, installation and use in heavy fabrication facilities. Significant material cost savings and a potential productivity increase of 80% can be achieved using this disruptive technology when compared to the conventional submerged arc welding manufacturing process route.

Out-of-chamber EB welding provides exceptional productivity advantages by removing the need of a very large vacuum chamber. However, it remains that, with the exception of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (ASME BPVC), the process is not widely recognised by other international codes and standards for pressure vessels or other large structures and therefore cannot be readily applied for immediate fabrication. Further work is required to obtain approval by the relevant standard development organisations (SDOs) to facilitate the spread of this innovative technology.

The webinar detailed two new joint industry projects launched by TWI to investigate qualification and codification of out-of-chamber electron beam welding for both pressure vessel and structural applications:

1. Qualification and Codification of Out-of-Chamber Electron Beam Welding for Pressure Vessels: Techniques for potential weld performance improvements could also be investigated, such as suitable post-weld heat treatment, which could potentially improve the fracture toughness of EB welds; and the removal of pre-heating to further reduce the fabrication cost. The objective of this project is to obtain approval on out-of-chamber EB welding for the codes identified by the sponsors.

2. Qualification and Codification of Out-of-Chamber Electron Beam Welding for the Fabrication of Offshore Wind Turbine Support Structures: Out-of-chamber electron beam welding is a novel and high-productivity welding process developed for the welding of large tubular structures, such as monopiles. Recent advancements of out-of-chamber EB welding process through the RapidWeld Project (Innovate UK ref: 71824) has shown that thick-section steels in the range of 40-160mm can be successfully welded in a single pass without defects and with exceptional mechanical properties and fatigue strength of which is at least as good as equivalent submerged arc welds (SAW). The scope of this JIP is to continue the qualification of the EB welding process, generate and evaluate further fatigue data, in order to gain approval of the EB welding process for use in wind turbine support structures by the certification body DNV.

You can see a recording of the webinar, below:

For more information please email: