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Why explosive welding offers bigger bang for your buck

Home Metals Fabrication Why explosive welding offers bigger bang for your buck

EXPLOSIVE welding presents optimal fabrication, maintenance and repair solutions for high-pressure vessels.

That’s according to Steinmüller Africa which has offered explosive welding since 2012 and says it is the only company licenced and qualified to perform this, both on-site or off-site, for customers in the power generation, petrochemical, steel, paper, pulp and sugar and nuclear industries.

“With an almost naked-to-the-eye explosive process, this weld occurs at a speed of more than 8000 m/s and forms a permanent bond that delivers a host of benefits in comparison to other welding methods,” the company said in a statement.

It said using this technique, any combination of metals can be welded together, despite their dissimilarities.

“The detonation is completed within milliseconds, reducing welding time. During the detonation, the oxides between the metal layers are removed, resulting in a weld that has a true metallurgical bond.”

Another benefit is that it requires one weld where conventional welding requires two. And the bond does not require post-weld heat treatment.

“Welds are unaffected by thermal cycling which is crucial for high-pressure equipment.” According to the company, it also prevents 99% of leakages, reducing the need for repair and maintenance.

Steinmüller Africa says it is currently the only company who performs tube to tube-sheet explosive welding and explosive tube plugging.

Explosive tube plugging is a more specialised type of explosive welding. A specialised plug is inserted in a tubesheet or header-type and then explosively welded to form a permanent plug for that tube. Steinmüller Africa also offers 24-hour standby services for explosive tube plugging.

“Explosive welding and explosive tube plugging are most suitable for high-pressure machinery like shell, tube, header- and tubesheet-type heat exchangers to accommodate the high pressures they withhold and prevent cracks that may lead to downtime, injuries or even death.”

According Senior Welding Engineer Friedrich Schwim, the company’s explosive welding services are increasingly in demand for the maintenance of high-pressure heat exchangers at power stations, where equipment with extensive tube structures requires plugging or welding during refurbishments.

“Steinmüller is the exclusive explosive welding provider for several power stations as we are the only licensed and qualified company to perform explosive welding for the power generation sector,” Schwim said.

“With a 30 000m2 facility in Pretoria, one-of-a-kind specialised machinery and a fully-fledged engineering team, Steinmüller Africa offers customers comprehensive service.”

He added that the company is developing two new welding processes and four new welding machines.

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