Shielded Active Gas Forge Welding is a high speed welding method for joining inter alia steel pipeline and casing. The process consists of a heating step, in which the bevels of the sections to be joined are heated locally to temperatures exceeding 1000 °C, and a subsequent forging step in which joining takes place by the application of a high axial force. In order to make possible cost-effective welding qualification and research a small scale forge welding machine has been developed. Down-scaling of the forge welding process should be carefully assessed in order to establish the limits of the process. In this paper two aspects of the forge welding process have been studied in detail by the use of finite element modeling and experiments: a) coupled thermal and electromagnetic modeling of heating and b) coupled thermo-mechanical modeling of forging. Special attention is given to the study of the limits of buckling of the pipe wall during forging. A high thermal gradient in the axial direction in the pipe wall facilitates local plastic deformation during forging and proper fusion of welds. For elongated temperature fields buckling is more likely to occur since the effective stiffness of the wall section is reduced. The limits of buckling depend on the wall thickness and diameter of section to be joined. While the forge welding process works very well for virtually all types of full scale pipeline and casing sections, buckling has been observed when joining very thin-walled small scale pipes. For welding of stainless steel small scale pipes local heating proves challenging. These challenges may be overcome by innovative welding machine design, and by carefully assessing welding process limitations. Certain physical limitations must still be considered.

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