Choosing the Best Narrow Groove TIG Welding Equipment


Undeniably, our technologic age exceeds anything that has gone before. The Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and other revolutionary advances have placed ever-expanding demands on critical industries like energy production facilities. This demand can only be satisfied by secure infrastructures primarily composed of steel pressure vessels, pipes, and tubes. 

Narrow gap welding is often required to secure these assemblies because narrow gap, or narrow groove, welding helps ensure strong joints for thick-walled pipes while reducing the necessary material. While narrow gap welding creates opportunities for cost-effective construction, there are challenges that must be overcome. Often, the solutions to these challenges can be found in the welding process and the equipment used. 

Arc Machines, Inc. (AMI), an industry leader in advanced welding technology and equipment for nearly half a century, has extensive experience supporting the utility industry and other critical industrial operations. The requirements for these applications necessitates that the best narrow groove TIG welding equipment—machines and materials—be utilized.  And AMI delivers. 

The Right Machine for Narrow Groove TIG Welding

Narrow groove welding utilizes thin gaps to join the base material structures, and it is a standard applied in many industrial applications. Narrow groove welding reduces costs, requires less consumable materials, and enables shorter welding times (as compared to wider welds). When high-quality welds are mandated to ensure joint strength for critical applications, TIG welding is used. For example, in steam power plants thick walls are needed that can withstand the elevated stress created by high energy density and internal pressure.

In addition to better weld joint strength, narrow groove TIG welding, or NGT, can be performed onsite as welding can be done in any position. Other methods only allow for welding in the 1G, or flat, position. GMAW or MIG welding is sometimes used; however, these methods are more prone to defects, as is SAW. NGT is clearly the best option, especially for critical industrial applications. However, there are challenges for employing NGT, as described below.

The Challenges of Using NGT for Critical Industry Applications

Weld angle precision is required

For manual NGT of pipes and tubes, the accuracy of the work angle and speed have tight tolerances. These requirements can place a significant strain on a manual welder, especially when multiple positions are involved.

Difficult to rework

Narrow groove welds must be done right the first time. The narrow groove significantly limits accessibility, and bad welds typically result in unusability and/or waste, which drives up the labor and material production costs.

NGT is the best process for welding pipes and tubes in critical industrial environments. However, manual welding is not the best performance method to address the challenges.

The Solution: AMI Orbital TIG Welding Machines

NGT has many advantages, as discussed above. Yet, implementing this welding process is not simple, and it is beyond the expertise of many welders. Even experienced professionals are put to the test when faced with having to weld pipes and tubes from multiple positions. Therefore, orbital welding is the solution for reliably producing the high-quality welds that critical industrial applications require. And the leading source of orbital TIG machines is AMI.

AMI orbital TIG machines are among the most advanced in the industry. Heavy-duty weld heads, such as the one shown on the right, are available to overcome the challenges of narrow groove welding for thick-walled piping and other requirements for industrial facilities. These machines remove the physical burden and add automation and precision for reliable high-quality NGT that include the capabilities listed below.

Orbital weld head clearance
AMI Orbital TIG Machine Capabilities:
  • Programmable
  • Heavy-duty weld heads
  • Multiple power options
  • Safe remote control operation
  • Monitoring and statistics

The right machine is one essential element for providing the best NGT solution. Additionally, you must have the right materials.

The Right Materials for Narrow Groove TIG Welding

To produce the highest quality welds for NGT, not only must you have the right machine, but you also need the right materials. Tungsten electrodes are widely used for industrial welding. This includes, zirconiated tungsten for aluminum piping, thoriated tungsten, versatile lanthanated tungsten, and, increasingly, ceriated tungsten. For critical applications where reliability and weld strength are at a premium, zirconiated is often the preference. And AMI offers the best available.  

The Solution: AMI High Quality Tungsten Electrodes

To fully leverage the capabilities of AMI’s advanced orbital TIG machine, high grade tungsten electrodes, such as those shown above, should be used. These electrodes have the following benefits.

  • High quality
  • Multiple doping options
  • Pre-ground and polished

Get more information on how to choose the best Narrow Groove Tungsten for your project.

Equipped with AMI’s advanced orbital TIG welding machine and high-quality tungsten electrodes, you have everything needed to perform any critical industry NGT project.


Arc Machines, Inc., since its founding by former NASA engineers in 1976, has been an industry leader in producing high-quality and high-tech welding equipment. This includes orbital welding machines and weld heads that make it easy to leverage the advantages of narrow groove TIG welding for critical industry applications. For inquiries regarding products, contact For service inquiries, contact Arc Machines welcomes the opportunity to discuss your specific needs. Contact us to arrange a meeting.