Pipe Producer Pushes the Quality Envelope While Slashing Energy Use
By David G. Kilburn, Uhrhan & Schwill, GmbH, a Lincoln Electric Company
As one of the world’s premier pipe producers, Tata Steel’s LSAW Pipe Mill in Hartlepool, U.K., can produce up to 330,000 metric tons of pipe per year. The mill recently replaced more than 50 of its traditional transformer/rectifiers on five production lines with energy-efficient inverters from the Lincoln Electric Company, integrated through Uhrhan & Schwill GmbH, a Lincoln Electric Company. Uhrhan & Schwill’s Z5 digital control system further enhanced Tata’s emphasis on quality as the upgrade enabled rigorous traceability of all pipe welding variables.
The integration of the UOE LSAW pipe mill’s new welding power sources also facilitates quick and repeatable setups and is maintaining weld repair rates at industry-leading levels. At a time when pipe manufacturers are facing pressures to reduce energy consumption, both to save money and for environmental sustainability, the upgrade has cut the mill’s electricity demand for welding by nearly a third.
A business decision
Although the potential for energy savings was a significant factor in Tata Steel’s decision to upgrade, the prospect for improved quality and quality assurance was the primary draw.
“We need to stay at the forefront of welding technology and meet the increasingly onerous demands of the oil and gas sector,” says Andy Hill, Tata Steel Works Manager-SAW mills. “This [upgrade] allows reduction of total cost of ownership, and ultimately risk, by supplying a fully compliant product. The SAW mill’s focus on continual improvement is embedded, providing the ability to innovate our products and processes to deliver sustainable solutions, which meet the industry aspirations.”