Laser Welding System for Nylon 12 Gas Pipe

A new laser welding system for nylon 12 high-pressure gas pipe is said to offer advantages of virtually instant welding in contrast to slower electromagnetic, hot-plate, and solvent bonding approaches.

A new laser welding system for nylon 12 high-pressure gas pipe is said to offer advantages of virtually instant welding in contrast to slower electromagnetic, hot-plate, and solvent bonding approaches. The new method was developed by Ube Industries, Ltd. in Japan (Ube America is in N.Y.C.) for use with its high-molecular-weight Ubesta nylon 12. Ubesta has been used for 20 years in gas piping in Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and Chile. Ube officials note that the gas industry is looking for 60% higher operating pressures, which will require thicker pipe and potentially longer bonding cycles if conventional means are used. Ube developed a transmission laser welding system in which one part to be joined is laser-transparent and the mating part is laser-absorbing to generate heat and melt the polymer at the bond line. Ube is recommending a mobile laser welder that weighs only 15.4 lb and offers twin-axis directional control so that it can perform 3D welds. Laser welding has the further advantage that it is a non-contact method, is unaffected by weather conditions, does not impose thermal damage on the pipe, has no limitation on bond geometry or size, and does not require any metal additives or inserts.