Swagelok's orbital welding system now offers significant benefits to food, beverage, and dairy operations in the form of reduced potential for contamination and ruined product, and measurable gains in productivity and efficiency for new plant construction, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), and plant maintenance.
A proven and effective means of connecting tubing systems in a wide range of industries, orbital welding is known for providing maximum leak integrity, high performance, vibration resistance and ultra cleanliness. Over the years, many of the advancements in orbital welding technology have focused on the development of new weld heads, fixtures, and related equipment. Swagelok has taken orbital welding to a higher level by incorporating technological innovations that enable operators to achieve high-quality welds on a consistent basis, thereby lowering the cost per weld and achieving superior performance. Such improvements broaden the appeal of orbital welding as a practical tool for the food, beverage, and dairy industries.
Advanced Programming Capabilities Saves Time, Improves Accuracy
At the very core of Swagelok's system is the microprocessor-controlled M100 power supply with enhanced programming capabilities. The power supply can store more than 100 weld programs, eliminating the need to re-enter programs for individual weld applications, improving overall weld schedule management, and saving invaluable time in the weld process. Traditional orbital welding systems typically require welders to re-enter weld programs or, at best, allow a limited amount of program information to be stored at a given time.
Swagelok's system also enables new weld programs to be created via easy-to-use options pick lists that can cut down on the time required to create programs. Under traditional methods, welders use worksheets and manually calculate values for amperage, travel speed, and the like. This information comprises the weld program and must be manually entered into other power supplies. The internal software of Swagelok's system eliminates the worksheets and hand calculations. When welders electronically feed in critical data, such as tube diameter, wall thickness, and material type, via the pick lists, the system will build a recommended weld program. In addition to saving time, this feature minimizes the chance for human error in making calculations and entering information.
The enhanced programming capabilities of Swagelok's system not only bring efficiency to the welding process, but they significantly reduce setup and preparation time, helping operators assemble, fabricate, and maintain food, beverage, or dairy tubing systems more quickly. Welders can focus on making the actual welds, which can increase productivity and contribute to a reduction in weld costs.
Optimize Quality Assurance through Real-Time Data
The electronics and software that comprise the key components of the power supply provide an advantage when it comes to quality assurance. Throughout the weld process, Swagelok's system continually samples the output and literally informs the operator of its performance either via a printout or electronic data stream.
This ability of the system to compare what it was asked to do with what it actually did serves as a check on performance and subsequent weld quality. Operators receive this real-time data as soon as the weld is completed, enabling them to learn within seconds if the equipment has performed to the programmed speed, current, and heat input specified in the weld procedure. If certain critical values have not been met, the real-time data collection ensures that the operator is informed.
Data Management Options
Swagelok's system can interface with other computers and databases, enabling operators to share and transfer program information to different locations. Data can be stored in the system itself or can be downloaded from the system by either an RS232 cable link or a Swagelok PC data card.
Weld data can be configured and presented in metric or fractional units and has the capacity to convert logged data between fractional and metric. In addition, the weld log includes output values of travel speed, time, average current, voltage, and downslope. The system even calculates and includes kilojoules per inch, which defines the heat input.
Data management features greatly enhance the ability of food, beverage, and dairy operations to track trends, review production rates, and calculate costs per weld. These advantages can go a long way toward improving efficiency, lowering costs, and improving bid accuracy.
Improved Documentation Method
Documentation efforts easily can account for 30 percent of the total labor hours on a project. Many of these hours are spent tracking, accumulating, and compiling support data to track weld performance or verify that every welded connection meets specifications.
Critical to the documentation process is the weld log, the record of the type of weld, the outcome of an inspection, and the assignment of an identification number. Typically, this information is recorded manually by the weld operator, who supplies the daily log to a quality control administrator. The information then is hand-entered into a computer and spreadsheet. This time-consuming method is susceptible to human error, both by the operator and the data-entry person.
Swagelok's system eliminates the manual method. Weld logs are stored automatically in the system, making direct uploads of data to computer systems and databases possible for documentation purposes or for the review and customization of internal data reports. The interface capabilities enable this data to be downloaded directly from the system via a cable link or the PC data card. Swagelok's system helps ensure the integrity of welds without having to rely on a weld operator recording the information correctly and accurately.
Swagelok Offers Other Benefits
Although Swagelok's system contains more technological features than other orbital welders, its advanced software and easy-to-use screen shorten the learning curve and make it easy to master. The system is easily upgradeable in the field with new software. Swagelok also offers a training program to help weld operators consistently achieve acceptable, high-quality orbital welds.
In addition, the lightweight, portable design of Swagelok's orbital welding system - coupled with a remote control option - makes the job move more quickly and efficiently. This is especially critical for food, beverage, and dairy operations when the fabrication or maintenance of systems requires hundreds of welds to be made in a given day, or when the system assembly involves hundreds of feet of tubing and dozens of connections.
The same technological approach that Swagelok used to develop the power supply has been applied to the development of easy-to-use components and accessories, including weld heads, weld fixtures, arc gap gauge, and tube facing tool for a wide range of applications and industry needs.