The welders in the domain of pipeline welding enjoy premium wages, among others, because their work demands utter attention and patience to work under challenging conditions. You may be thinking about how to become a pipeline welder.
After graduating, the most problematic thing for anyone is to find a suitable job. If you’re passionate about working in the field, it is better to go into a high-demand profession like welding, especially pipeline welding.
In this post, we will tell you how to enter into a pipeline welding career and the prerequisites of this profession in detail.
An overview of pipeline welding
Pipelines are undoubtedly the vessels of any city. It is so because they supply water, gas, electricity, etc. Wherever the pipes are, there is a need for pipeline welders. So from this, you can see how demanding this profession is. Whether it is an oil well, gas field, or construction site, a pipeline is necessary to bring and deliver raw materials from there.
Pipeline welders, steamfitters, and plumbers follow the same working mode as all of them have to fix or install a pipeline. But they deal with different types of pipes. The plumbers work with pipelines that carry water and sewage. In contrast, stream fitters specialize in pipelines that transport steam. On the other hand, the pipeline welders work on pipelines that supply oil, gas, chemicals, and acid.
The prime job of a pipeline welder is to decide which material to use for welding and its quantity as well. Other than that, they have to regulate the supply of materials. Moreover, they also have to join several pipes by applying different welding techniques to form a proper network. Due to such a versatile skill set, pipeline welders can quickly get a job in the following sectors.
We suggest you start learning from today if you’re eager to pursue a career in pipeline welding. This field is very challenging and requires a high level of expertise. So, take small but consistent steps while acquiring pipeline welding skills.
How to become a pipeline welder/How to enter this field?
Experienced welders suggest that if anyone wants to get into pipeline welding, then start as a helper. You will learn much more than what you learn in a vocational training institute. It doesn’t mean that vocational training and education aren’t necessary. You should complete your technical education first and then gain skills by working as a pipeline welder’s helper.
If you go to an experienced welder and ask him to hire you as his pupil, then the chances are very high he will let you assist him. But he will show your welding skills by performing the welding.
In this way, the established welder will assess your knowledge, and within a few minutes, he will decide whether to hire you or say goodbye. We suggest you never claim that you are an expert, especially when you’re just a welding school graduate.
Fusing pipes on the right spot seems to be simple, but in reality, it requires the expertise of various welding techniques. It also requires you to work under tough circumstances and cramped quarters in tiring postures. Before starting as a welder’s helper, you have to get proper training from a welding school.
Pipeline welder training
Welders of all the domains, including pipeline welders, have a great chance of getting an injury. The bright light that emerges by doing arc welding can have an adverse effect on their eyes and also can make them blind forever. And the harmful gases that emerge while welding are very toxic when inhaled.
As a welder, you need to get safety training before working on the field to ensure your safety. strictly following the safety mechanism and wearing safety equipment reduces the chance of injury even while working on projects in the hardest locations.
Moreover, if you want to excel in pipeline welding, you need to get appropriate training in manual as well as automatic welding. You also have to read welding blueprints symbols correctly.
Patience to handle tough situations
Pipeline welding emphasizes transportation pipelines. And these pipelines can spread over hundreds and even thousands of miles. So, you may have to travel extensively for line repairs. If you’re thinking that field pipeline welding is extremely hard, then I suppose you might be wrong because underwater pipelines are much more difficult.
Welding underwater pipeline
Welders are usually accustomed to working on the ground, so they feel difficulty underwater.
The welders who have to work on an underwater pipeline have to go into the dry chamber of the pipeline, which has the capacity to accommodate three to four persons at a time.
We keep the pressure lower than expected in the pipeline to keep the pressure from growing higher than expected. Fans push air in and then pull it out of the pipeline’s chamber. In such a scenario, welding workers have to finish their work instantly. And they do not have time to think about which tools and materials are suitable for the job.
That’s the reason they must have to be ready for harsh and unwanted situations under the water. The condition becomes extremely worse if the welder needs to weld or fix the pipeline outside it. Because the backbreaking welding task, when combined with icy water at the bottom of the ocean and difficulty in breathing, makes the job very hard.
Underwater pipeline welding pays higher than other welding gigs due to the harsh nature of this job. And this is the reason why new aspirants in this domain of welding prefer to become helpers first to learn skills and safety procedures from the senior welders.
Pipeline welding job description
Typical pipeline welder job descriptions may be disheartening for some newcomers, and it is natural so. Those who are unfamiliar with the precise prerequisites to get the job may get a shock.
A formal job description looks like that:
“We are in search of an expert pipeline welder whose duty will be to fix and maintain pipelines. He/She is able to accomplish per-welding practices, scrutinize materials, maintain equipment, and weld different pieces of pipe as per requirement. In addition, the candidate is willing to work in tough locations and extreme weather conditions.”
If you can read welding blueprints and can make welding, it will be a plus point for you when applying for a job. An educated pipeline welder can read these welding drawings better than an untrained one.
Pipe welder requirements and duties
Common pipeline welding skills
Automatic welding machines do most welding work. Therefore, those welders who have prior experience using welding equipment are more likely to land a job on the very first attempt than the one without knowledge.
Typically there are lots of mechanical equipment on the site, and welders don’t need to know how to use all of them. If welders have prior knowledge of using automated welding machines, the employers still want to train them for 1 to 2 weeks for their satisfaction.
The welder also needs to be an expert in manual welding due to the uncertain nature of the job. Other than that, the welder does not solely have to weld large pipelines with a prominent diameter. There are a lot of small pipelines on site as well, which demands a mix of manual and automated welding.
Some manual welding techniques necessary in pipeline welding
GAS METAL ARC WELDING (GMAW)
It’s a quick and cheap welding technique. This process also involves the formation of an arc between an electrode (consumable) and base metal. GMAW is ideal for the mainline welding strategy. Moreover, welders are required to learn semi-automatic GMAW procedures.
SURFACE TENSION TRANSFER (STT)
Pipeline welders use STT procedure for tie-in welds just like shot circuit, controllable, and waveforms GMAW techniques. For pipeline root beads, this process is also beneficial.
SHIELDED METAL ARC WELDING (SMAW)
In those conditions where automatic welding procedures did not work, welders apply SMAW with Cellulosic Electrodes for mainline and root runs for tie-in welding. Moreover, this process is not appropriate for progressive, uphill, or downhill pipelines.
FLUX-CORED ARC WELDING (FCAW)
This process can be done when a small pipe in the mainline requires a fill and cap weld. Special tie-in welds demand the utilization of gas-powered FCAW semi-automatic procedures. There are also FCAW automated because they are hardly seen doing this job.
SUBMERGED ARC WELDING (SAW)
This process is very handy when a welder needs to make double joints. Double joints are very unusual and can only be accomplished if they are monetarily worthwhile. Only a few welders know how to make this rare type of weld.
As a pipeline welding aspirant, you should complete your studies first and enter welding school. You will learn how to read welding blueprints, welding techniques, and safety measures in welding school. Then get some experience while working as a trainee or helper. After doing that, you will have compelled all the prerequisites for becoming a pipeline welder.