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Semi-Automated Pipe Alignment Rolls & Welding Manipulator Reduce Riser Pipe Double Jointing Cycle Times By 65% - Explained

Posted by Rob Stewart on Feb 17, 2016 2:44:27 PM

LJ Welding Automation

 As the exploration for oil dives deeper into the sea, greater emphasis is on the equipment and piping employed to improve results. Technology must keep up with the voracious appetite for higher quality standards and increasing requirements from the customer. They need more HSE, QC, Data Acquisition, Productivity, Efficiency, etc.

LJ was approached by one of the largest O&G companies in the world to develop a new way of double jointing, combining all their needs. Taking 3 years to develop, LJ designed and built a Double Jointing System that reduced the cycle time of a dangerous and time consuming process by up to 65%. A process that once took close to 8 hours is now 2 ¾ hours, while reducing labor by up to 83%.

The Customer's Old Process

What once was the global standard for double jointing of 20’ heavy wall pipe is dangerous and time consuming.

  • Pipe was loaded onto rollers/wood cribbing
  • Overhead cranes then moved pipe into closer position
  • Rollers with a full load were physically manipulated with sledge hammers, forklifts and the crane, while the rotation of the pipe was manipulated for the proper fit-up
  • Once fit-up was deemed acceptable, the pipe was tack-welded
  • The welder then completed the root pass
  • A sub-arc filled and capped.

Cycle Time: 8 hours

Labor requirements: 4 employees – 1 welder, 3 assistants

HSE concerns:

  • 20 ton pipe overhead for positioning near workers.
  • Uncontrolled manipulation of pipe via sledge hammer and excessive crane use.
  • Rollers supported on wood cribbing (unstable).

pipeline welding

Figure a.)  Screenshot from Google Images (not LJ Property)

The LJ Solution

LJ isolated the main concerns, and solved each one. The new system would look like this (2 production cells on same track system):

column and boom welding manipulators with pipe growing line system


The Customer's New Process

  • A pipe is loaded onto each pair of idler/driver – driver/idlerdouble jointing pipe welding system
  • Once pipes are in place, the fit-up is completed by one operator using a combination of a touchscreen HMI and joystick. Pipe alignment rolls can move pipe up/down/in/out/left/right/slight tilt/rotate. Pipe is manipulated into a perfect fit-up position.

column_boom_controls.pngpipe alignment and manipulator screen controlscolumn_boom_pipe_alignment_controls.pngpipe alignment rollers

(New dual headed MIG/SAW manipulator now available. Learn more here) 

pipe alignment rotators

Weld manipulator further reading: Customer was able to reduce cycle times and increase throughput, because welding speeds were increased by approximately 25% over manual welding speeds, and on-arc time was greatly increased with no stopping during weld sequences

welding manipulator and pipe rollers

  • Completed double joints are then sent for further processing

The Bottom Line

Cycle Time: 2 ¾ Hour (65% reduction from old process)

Labor:  1 welder, 1 assistant (83% reduction in labor)

Available productivity options:

column and boom manipulator and pipe growing line

HSE Results:

  • Reduced risk of dropped loads, as no overhead cranes are used.
  • No manual uncontrolled pipe manipulation – no sledgehammers.
  • Removal of unsafe wood cribbing with the introduction of automated pipe manipulation
  • Worker can safely operate entire system from a safe distance

Learn how Growing Lines are being used for wind tower & vessel fabrication here:

If you want to learn more about the fastest pipe double joining systems on the market, please contact: info@LJwelding.com 

You can also arrange a complimentary consultation below:

Request a Project  Consultation today

Topics: Case Studies, Boom and Column Welding Manipulators, Research & Development

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Posted by Rob Stewart
VP of Global Sales | Partner
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