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home > pmps > autumn 2003 > new orbital welding documentation method improves accuracy for inspections and leads to lower cost per weld
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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

New Orbital Welding Documentation Method Improves Accuracy for Inspections and Leads to Lower Cost per Weld

Orbital tube welding is the recommended method of fabrication for bioprocessing equipment. It has not changed significantly since the 1960s when it was introduced into the aerospace industry. Operators still use the gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process and orbit or rotate an electrode around a fixtured weld joint with a predetermined set of weld parameters programmed into the power supply (1). While the orbital welding process itself has remained largely unchanged, advancements in welding system technology have greatly improved weld documentation. For example, today's orbital welding equipment utilises microprocessor technology that provides interface capabilities, enabling data to be transferred to other computers for analysing and customising reports that document quality, cost of welds and other critical information. These types of advancements address increasing requirements for bioprocessing systems.

Weld documentation provides full traceability for all materials and procedures used for construction and maintenance of bioprocessing systems. Such documentation must provide the necessary verification that each weld meets the weld acceptance criteria as defined by the weld specification. In the event of a problem with a system, such as contamination, the documentation provides a means to go back and review each welded connection as part of the effort to track down and find the source.


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By Ernie Benway, Welder Training Specialist, Swagelok Company

Ernest A Benway is a Welder Training Specialist with Swagelok Company and is a member of the ASME Bioprocessing Equipment Committee, serving on its main committee. He also chairs the subcommittee on general requirements and editorial review.

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