State-of-the-art spiral forming plant for oil and gas pipes

The three-roller bending unit of the SMS pipe forming station in detail © SMS Group
The three-roller bending unit of the pipe forming station from SMS in detail © SMS Group

Sinopec Shashi Steel Pipe Works has placed an order with the SMS Group for a spiral forming plant with submerged arc and MAG welding (Perfect Arc) for its site in Jingzhou, China.

The aim of the new plant is to be able to form higher material grades and at the same time increase productivity. This goal is achieved by a stable forming process and the Perfect Arcrc technology developed by SMS, which among other things enables energy savings of up to 30 percent.

The new plant will produce spiral pipes for oil and gas applications in the size range from 508 millimeters (20 inches) to 2,032 millimeters (80 inches) in diameter, up to a wall thickness of 25.4 millimeters (1 inch) and 15 meters in length. The spiral pipe mill is capable of producing pipes in both online and offline processes.

The heart of the SMS spiral forming line, the tube forming station © SMS Group
The heart of the SMS spiral forming line, the pipe forming station
© SMS Group

After forming, the pipe can be finish-welded directly on the machine (online) or tack-welded at three to four times higher speeds and later welded on separate finish-welding stands (offline).

Furthermore, the plant is to be integrated into a production planning and management system (Industry 4.0) and provide real-time data from production.Therefore, it has the latest automation technology including the Siemens control technology TIA (Total Integrated Automation).

Thanks to the seamless interaction of all automation components, the software involved and higher-level systems and services, the digitally controlled processes further increase production flexibility.Perfect-Arc welding technology features measurement data recording and evaluation as well as the latest generation of laser line scanners for welding head tracking and welding profile measurement in the system.

Thanks to the latest current source technology with IGBT power electronics (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor), in which the welding current is fully digitally controlled, consistent welding results with reduced heat input are possible.

The Perfect-Arc power source ensures a highly efficient welding process with 90 percent efficiency. In the offline process, Perfect-Arc also ensures automatic adaptation of the welding parameters to the welding/forming speed. State-of-the-art drive and hydraulic systems additionally ensure a high energy efficiency of the plant.

Sinopec SSPW has been operating a longitudinal seam large-diameter pipe mill from SMS since 2002. “This plant has been producing very good tubes of high quality for many years. This experience has had a lasting influence on our decision to invest in a spiral forming line from SMS. We trust in the expertise of SMS and also expect a correspondingly high quality from the new plant,” says Qi Suo, President of Sinopec Shashi Steel Pipe Works. “The expansion of the spiral pipe mill with separate finish welding stands is planned for a later date. This means we are ideally equipped to meet future demand.”

Delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2021. Following installation, commissioning is expected to take place in the middle of the fourth quarter of 2021.