While welding may be the traditional route to install and repair marine pipes, it can still cause frustrations. With tight quarters and strict timelines, ship welding can prove to be difficult due to its use of open flame as well as the space and specialized skill it requires. In some repair situations, it may not even be an option at all.
Rather than wait for issues to bubble to the surface, it’s best to get ahead of potential problems. That means saying goodbye to ship welding and hello to press technology.
Ease of Use Streamlines Installation Process
With resistance to seawater corrosion and low biofouling properties, copper nickel is a natural choice for marine applications. We also can’t forget that copper nickel has a much lower melting point than other metals, which means it can burn more easily. Because of this, ship welding is considered a specialized trade — one that is in very short supply.
Thanks to press technology, pipefitters no longer have to wait until a specialist is available. Secure press connections can be made in a matter of seconds, even when there is a previously welded system in place. This lowers operational costs and boosts your bottom line.
Portable Tool to Navigate Compact Spaces
Like other metals, the welding of copper nickel requires consumables. In addition to electrodes, a grinding wheel, gas and a galvanizing spray to finish off the weld color, copper nickel also calls for a freeing gas to purge the system due to its low melting point. Outside of the cost factor, these consumables make it more difficult for marine pipefitters to work effectively in often confined spaces.
Press technology swaps out these messy and labor-intensive consumables with a single press tool. Not only is the lightweight tool easy for pipefitters to transport across ships, but its compact size enables connections to be made in narrow or hard-to-reach spaces. The added benefit is that other than throwing away or recycling the packaging from the fittings, there is no clean-up required after each day on the job.
Flameless Technology Reduces Risk & Roadblocks
Any time an open flame is used to form pipe connections, the stakes are high. And when you’re talking about a ship already en route, the risks become even greater. After all, you’re dealing with a structure in motion and the unpredictable nature of the sea.
From an efficiency standpoint, the use of flame in ship welding also presents challenges. Beyond the fact that it can take time to acquire a fire watch and hot work permit, limits are placed on performing work around the job site. If one pipefitter is working on the fuel system, another pipefitter can’t work on the drainage system (even if the material is plastic).
With no hot work required, press technology avoids these concerns. Pipefitters can work in tandem with other trades to keep new ship builds on schedule, while repairs at sea require no downtime. All the while, the safety of workers and ship passengers is preserved.
Want to see real-world examples of why press technology trumps ship welding? Here’s an example from the Viega portfolio.