The TubeFuse system forges together API pipes. The Technology employs a Shielded Active Gas forge-welding (SAG-FW) process. To achieve this objective each pipe end is machined to the required profile to prepare the pipe for forging.
The two pipes being joined are secured into the Tubefuse machine, the new pipe is positioned so that the two pipes being joined are aligned and positioned appropriately within a chamber. During the forge process the pipe ends are heated and the entire process is secured to prevent any gas explosions.
After heating the pipes are forced together to form a homogenous bond. Depending on the pipe metallurgy, post forge heat treatment (PWHT) can be applied. The bond is non destructively tested after forging to ensure that there are no unacceptable defects.
The forge takes place within a mechanical structure mounted over the well. All the required services are provided from equipment mounted in transport containers, and the two are connected by quick release electrical and hydraulic couplings.
The ‘Forge Welding’ process requires particular attention to specific parameters including shape, power, pressure, time etc. The design of this system automatically sets all these process parameters for each and every forge weld to be completed successfully and to the required standard.
The Tubefuse system can be used in a region where explosive gases may be present on an ongoing basis.
Risk management to ensure safety
A hierarchy of risk management solutions have been designed that automatically makes the Tubefuse system safe even if the pipes are above the safe T3 (200C) limit, and there is loss of system power.
Fail safe backup system
The system has been designed for safety at all times. It is fitted with a backup fail safe system. If generator power fails, when the pipes are at their highest temperature, an automatic cooling system is activated to chill the pipes back below the safe temperature.
Intrinsically Safe Instrument
The system will not produce any spark or thermal effects under normal or abnormal conditions.
‘TubeFuse’ Technology involves rapid welding and handling with an integrated, but optional, 100% capable inspection system. The system allows tubulars to be run at a rate that is competitive with conventional threaded connections. Unlike any threaded connection, joining with TubeFuse guarantees a leak proof seal; this allows it to be used in applications that stretch the operating envelope of conventional premium connections.
Also keeping any form of deformation to the minimum by special design of the pipe ends, forging can be controlled to allow the pipe to become essentially flush internally and/or externally. In addition, once forge weld parameters have been set, the process is fully automatic, uniquely identifies each forge and captures actual forge welding parameters.
Rapid forge welding is only one part of the system, inspecting the forges also needs a rapid testing system. The technology incorporates an accepted industry standard which is fully automated. This is a non-contact ultrasonic inspection technique capable of full volume inspection of butt welds at rates up to about 1 ms-1 and this device is an integral part of the TubeFuse machine.