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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

With Proper Training, Orbital Welding Leads the Way

by Jeff Hopkins, on 8/16/17 8:45 AM

It's more precise and reliable than manual welding, and easy to perform on site

Swagelok Orbital Welding provides an understanding of welding principals, how to set up and operate the orbital welding system, troubleshooting, and an opportunity to prepare weld samples to test for ASME Section IX certification.  Learn more about this intensive five-day lecture-lab on orbital welding >>


Get the job done better

When you need to join two pieces of tubing without using a fitting, manual welding gets the job done, but orbital welding gets the job done better. With an orbital welder, the welding electrode moves in a circle around the joint, guided by a machine rather than by hand. It's also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, or GTAW.

Done properly, orbital welding gives more precise results than hand welding. The resulting weld is the safest connection you can get, and the results stay consistent from the first weld of the day to the end of the shift. Lightweight, portable equipment makes it easy to do the work right at the job site.

Today's orbital welders also are computerized. You can program variables such as weld current and electrode speed, then track each weld with a Windows-based touch screen. State-of-the-art technology monitors the welding, captures and compiles data in real time, and electronically transfers it to a computer. That makes documentation easy too.

Watch and learn

As with any tool, the quality of the work depends on the skill of the operator. Just because a machine is automatic doesn’t mean it automatically does the job correctly. In some respects, automation requires even more training for the operator, not less. The operator must understand how the computerized machinery functions and how it will react to different inputs.

The level of the arc current, for example, controls weld penetrations. Travel speed affects both the width and the penetration of the weld.

Computerized orbital welders still need an operator who knows about material composition and metallurgy, set-up, purge and shielding gases, power and voltages, weld pool dynamics, electrode size, and tip configurations. The fanciest orbital welding machine still won't tell you if you need ordinary stainless steel tubing, or 316L, VIM/VAR, ultra-low manganese, electropolished, hydrogen bright annealed OD with electrically etched mill markings.

Swagelok provides a variety of training in orbital welding. We have a one-day class that can get a novice up to speed, and a four-day course that dives deep enough into the subject to qualify our students for ASME certification. In future blog posts, we'll go over the details of each. 


Even one bad weld can be costly. If it fails at the wrong time and place, the damage may cost several times as much as a good training program. 


Pay now or pay later

As experienced welders retire and fewer newcomers replace them, it's important to increase efficiency through tools such as orbital welding machines. But that strategy works only as long as someone knows how to make the machinery perform well.

Even one bad weld can be costly. If it fails at the wrong time and place, the damage may cost several times as much as a good training program.

Swagelok Orbital Welding Training

Join this intensive five-day lecture-lab to develop a thorough understanding of orbital welding principles and to learn how to operate the Swagelok Welding System. Earn a certificate of completion by passing two exams. On the fifth day, prepare weld samples to test for ASME Section IX. Course is for welders with or without orbital welding experience. 

Swagelok Welding System

The Swagelok M200 Power Supply was recently upgraded with a new and improved computer board, DC power supply, and printer that enhance its performance through faster boot-up time and screen changes, improved USB drive speeds, and an easier method for changing the printer paper. 

Swagelok Northern California offers a range of Swagelok welding system components, including fixtures and collets, power supply, spare parts and accessories for weld systems, and weld heads.

additional resources

Swagelok Orbital Welding Training


Visit our page on Swagelok welding systems

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Topics:TrainingOrbital Welding

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