Metal tubing is one of the most important components in many metal and steel fabrication processes and numerous applications, but not all tubing is created equal. There are a couple different types of metal tubing found on the market today, and even these broad categories also contain smaller sub-categories based on the way they’re made – and which of these you choose may have a great impact on the qualities of your metal and its ideal applications.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re happy to offer a variety of steel products, including steel tubing in several shapes, sizes and variations. One of the two major types of steel tube is known as welded tube – why is metal tubing important to begin with, and how does welded metal tubing compare with the other major type? We’ll go over all that here, plus some basics on how welded tubing is manufactured and some of the reasons why different welding formats are often used within this process.
As we noted above, metal tubing is a vital component of many metal and steel fabrication processes and common structural applications. Tubing is known for its ability to maintain high strength despite coming in a low weight, plus is generally more affordable than solid metal stock – meaning it’s the preferred option for many structures.
There are two specific types of metal or steel tube: Welded and seamless tube, which we’ll go over briefly below before digging further into the specifics of welded tubing.
As its name indicates, welded tube is created through the connection of one end of metal sheet or plate to the other. These ends are welded together using one of several different welding formats (more on this in a bit) – which is chosen will depend on several factors, from the actual metal involved to the thickness and a few others.
Seamless tube, on the other hand, involves no welding at all. Rather, there are a few different processes that might be used to manufacture it, including rotary piercing and several others.
Welded tube tends to be the more affordable of the two, as manufacturing costs are generally lower, in large part because it takes less time than for seamless tube. Seamless tube, on the other hand, is more expensive but may offer several specific benefits, including the lack of a welded seam. Choosing between them comes down to a few factors, with both cost and desired application chief among them.
Our next several sections will dig into some specifics on welded tube, how it’s made, and why a few different welding processes are often used for this need.
Here’s the general process for manufacturing welded tube on a professional scale:
As we noted above, there isn’t a single weld type that’s used for welded tube manufacturing – rather, there are at least six different variations that may be used. The most common such welding process is known as high-frequency welding, which uses the following process:
This form of welding is frequently used because of its cost-efficiency, plus how long it’s been around for – it’s an industry standard. It’s also good with issues of poor fit-up, and its continuous manufacturing method allows it to be done even for large bulk projects without wasting time.
However, there are several other processes that may be used. Here are a few, plus a few words in some cases on why they’re generally chosen:
For more on welded steel and metal tube, or to learn about any of our steel products or steel services, speak to the staff at Wasatch Steel today.