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Production, Production, Production, we can’t stress the importance enough. When you produce at a high rate, you can finish projects quicker and increase the margin on the projects you’ve won. It also opens the door to bid more competitively on projects to increase your backlog because you are no longer confined by the productivity of your welders alone. If production capabilities are low, projects cannot become realized and existing projects cannot be completed on time, thus, problems cascade and client relationships can become jeopardized. Opportunities can be missed when you can’t increase capacity and those big ticket projects turn into pipe dreams (pun intended).

The average pipe welding productivity in North America is around 60-80 Factored Diameter Inches (FDI) per shift per person. In very productive shops, the average can be 85-100 FDI per shift. But it’s difficult to hit these numbers consistently because pipe welding is a difficult skill and can expose flaws even in the best human welders. Human welders take breaks and suffer fatigue and over time: productivity, quality or both can suffer. Companies are choosing to break down this productivity brick wall by investing in technology.

Since 2014 Novarc Technologies has been hard at work trying to revolutionize the pipe welding industry. Today, some of the top companies in the building construction, engineering, energy, off-shore and shipbuilding industries use our invention, the Spool Welding Robot (SWR™). The SWR™ is a welding cobot designed specifically for pipe, small pressure vessels, and other types of roll welding.

On average our customers are seeing 200-350 diameter inches per shift on carbon pipes, and 569-998 diameter inches per shift on stainless steel. This would be a 3-5x increase in your output for carbon and up to 12x for stainless with a minimum of 3 positioners.

For shops to be able to hit these numbers consistently, it’s not really possible without some form of collaborative robotic welding. Unlike human welders, The Spool Welding Robot performs non-stop root to cap welding without the need to shut off the arc. So while the operator runs the robot because of superior ergonomics, they don’t get fatigued. Human welders and operators are then able to focus on tasks to maximize shop productivity like more specialized welding and moving around pipe and equipment. Another aspect that adds to higher productivity is the ability to integrate with two to five positioners, which allows for less downtime.

What our customers are saying:

“Depending on pipe size, we can hit inch counts anywhere from 200-275” on a regular basis with the SWR™,. Also, the fact that we can weld slip on flanges is probably one of the most impressive tasks that the Novarc SWR™ is capable of. We have gotten really efficient at welding stainless steel fabrication with the SWR™ and this is helping tremendously with our efficiency. We have gained a lot of ground on everything that we weld on the SWR™ but one that stands out is the welding of stainless steel. Our old way of welding stainless would be to TIG weld with using an ID purge. A 16” schedule 10 weld would take 2-1/2 hours or so to get a purge set up and then weld out. We now can do a 16” schedule 10 weld in 12- minutes that will pass RT.” – David Ray, Pipe Shop Foreman, W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor Inc.

“We were able to increase efficiencies on the project with Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot. We were very impressed with the ability to maximize productivity, while providing a quality product to our client”, says Jamie. “For example, in the case of a 24” XH (0.5” pipe thickness) weld, Novarc’s Spool Welding Robot outperformed our welders by 3 times!” – Jamie, PM at Anonymous Co., EPC Industry

*This post is part of our guide titled “How to Optimize Your Pipe Fabrication Business” – To Download the full guide go HERE