LaserPipe project develops compact in-bore laser welding system

LaserPipe, an Innovate UK (Swindon, Wiltshire, England)-funded R&D project, is looking into the feasibility of in-bore pipe welding using industrial high-powered lasers, coupled with snake-arm robotics for hazardous or confined space deployment. Modern industrial sites require regular maintenance to replace or repair deteriorated pipes. A result of the challenging environment, confined space, and limited external access is that external orbital cutting and welding processes are not viable for many applications and, consequently, in-bore remote processing has generated significant interest in recent years.


The LaserPipe project goal was to develop a compact in-bore laser welding system and investigate the procedures for an all-positional laser welding process. The resulting laser welding head was integrated with a snake-arm robot to demonstrate remote locating of weld joint, alignment of laser, and in-bore laser welding. This concept could also be suitable for in-bore laser cutting. The project outcome was a successful demonstration to industry, conclusively proving the feasibility of in-bore laser welding using snake-arm technology for delivery and alignment.

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