Creating complete solutions: a look at Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric welding equipment and consumables have been used on pipeline projects for nearly 100 years.

Lincoln Electric welding equipment and consumables have been used on pipeline projects for nearly 100 years.

Established in 1895, Lincoln Electric is a global manufacturer and the market leader of high-quality welding, cutting and joining products. Here, Pipelines International looks at the company whose passion for the industry has helped complete many successful pipeline projects.

Lincoln Electric is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, fume extraction equipment and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. The company also has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, Lincoln Electric has a worldwide network of manufacturing, distribution, sales and technical support covering more than 160 countries.

The company has an enduring passion for the development and application of its technologies which allows it to create complete solutions that make customers more productive and successful.

Director of Global Marketing & Product Development Steve Sumner says “Lincoln provides industry-specific welding solutions to a variety of vertical market segments, including pipeline, pipe mill, offshore, power generation, processing industries, shipbuilding, heavy equipment manufacturing, maintenance and repair, and structural steel bridge and building construction – all focused on reducing total cost and improving quality.”

Working on the pipelines

Lincoln Electric products have been utilised on countless pipeline projects throughout the years.

“Lincoln Electric equipment, consumables, process innovations and application solutions have been used on thousands of major pipeline projects around the world. Several well-known projects, such as the Alaska Pipeline and the West-East China Project (WEPP 1 & WEPP II), Langled Underwater Pipeline (largest ever under water), and the BTC project have all used Lincoln Electric products,” Mr Sumner says.

In addition, the company offers a wide array of products and application solutions specifically engineered and designed to address the welding challenges faced by pipeline construction and maintenance contractors. The company also provides welding training to pipeline contractors focused on productivity improvements, safety, quality and efficiency.

One of the main changes in operations over the last ten years for the company has been its international growth – with expanded operations and manufacturing into countries such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.

The company also has a focus on specialised consumables for high-strength and other alloyed materials through the acquisition of companies like Techalloy and Weartech, as well as increased capabilities in the area of systems automation with the recent additions of Arc Products and Wayne Trail.

Training and safety

Employees at Lincoln Electric have intense training to make sure they are up-to-date with technologies and practices in the industry.

Mr Sumner says that the technical sales and support staff are immersed in an intensive training programme for the first six to nine months of employment. The company also provides regular, ongoing technical training focused on both existing and emerging welding technologies, applications and processes.

“Welder safety is always of utmost importance. Lincoln Electric is on the leading edge when it comes to the development of new equipment, fume removal systems, personal protective gear, processes and procedures aimed at keeping the operator and the entire work environment safe. The key to improving safety, however, lies in education. While the products and technology available today are better than ever, they are only effective when used properly,” Mr Sumner says.

What the future holds

When asked about what transmission projects the company has planned to be working on over the next two years, Mr Sumner said they will be involved in Keystone, South Stream, Nabucco, TANAP and the Shah Deniz project (Phase 2).

The company will also continue its extensive activities in research and development for the transmission pipeline industry. These include solutions for welding modern high-yield pipe steels, such as new consumables development for high-strength materials and strain-based design.

“The company is working on developing new and updated welding processes and waveform technology for improved pipeline integrity at faster welding speeds and refining solutions to support the move toward mechanised/automated processes and new, cutting-edge processes such as hybrid laser welding,” Mr Sumner says.

One of the challenges Lincoln Electric foresees for the future is the implementation of more stringent requirements for weld strength, toughness and mechanical properties resulting from the move toward higher-strength materials, mechanised processes and even hybrid laser applications.

“With strain-based design and higher strength steels, we will see an increased use of engineering critical assessment (ECA), where weld quality defect sizing will play a major role in contractor repair rates with effects on pipeline construction costs. Another big challenge is the diminishing availability of skilled workers able to perform pipeline welding,” Mr Sumner says, “which is why Lincoln provides such extensive training for the industry.”

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