inconel pipe

Only a few materials perform well in extreme manufacturing conditions. Inconel is one of those extraordinary materials. Although slightly more expensive, Inconel is a preferred material across wide-ranging industries that include nuclear, aerospace, power generation, and chemical processing plants. With high-quality welds, Inconel pipe can prevent leaks and provide corrosion resistance.

Orbital gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) enables manufacturers to achieve the highest possible weld quality for Inconel. And for strict weld specifications that superalloys such as Inconel require, orbital GTAW offers the precision control necessary to ensure clean, consistent, and high-quality welds.

Inconel Pipe Welding Considerations

Understanding the properties and specifications of Inconel is key to selecting a welding process for the alloy. Inconel is a superalloy with a high degree of nickel and chromium composition. It is widely known for its performance in high-temperature applications and excellent tensile strength across a wide range of temperatures. Inconel also possesses corrosion and oxidation-resistant properties. Any exposure to heat only creates a passive protecting layer of oxides, helping the material retain its anti-corrosive properties.

Despite Inconel’s extraordinary properties, welding processes like GTAW can be used. However, given the high heat tolerance, there is an increased possibility of cracking. Likewise, contamination or a poorly defined weld pool can make the material appear grainy or dark-colored. These characteristics may point to potential defects like porosity. 

Because Inconel pipes are used in critical aerospace, nuclear, and automotive applications, weld quality is a top priority. Compared to other welding processes like FCAW (flux-cored arc welding), SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), or GMAW (gas metal arc welding), GTAW can provide control and consistency in welding to yield unparalleled results.

Conditions for Inconel Welding with Orbital GTAW

In Inconel welding, gas coverage and surface preparation play important roles. To ensure clean and contamination-free welds, argon or helium shielding is critical on the face and behind the weld. Sensing oxygen from the weld is also important for the prevention of issues like porosity. Additionally, careful weld preparation can help ensure high-quality results while welding Inconel pipes—with J-prep offering a reliable option for consistent and well-penetrated welds. 

Orbital GTAW supports ideal conditions for Inconel welding. When welding Inconel pipes for critical manufacturing applications, orbital GTAW excels at control, consistency, and coverage. 

  • Control: An automated weld process allows operators to control weld parameters, which is important for critical metals like Inconel. Quality results can be achieved and manual welding process errors eliminated. 
  • Consistency: Weld consistency enables deeper weld penetration, especially in narrow gap welding for thick-walled pipes and tubes. Consistent and reliable welding around the pipe circumference in a single pass is possible with orbital GTAW.
  • Coverage: Excellent gas coverage reduces the chances of porosity and inclusions, while root protection is achievable with oxygen sensors. 

For the orbital GTAW process, filler metal usage should be noted. Above, we discussed the issue of cracking in Inconel; the solution can be found in the form of Inconel 625 filler metal.

Meeting Industry Standards for Critical Inconel Pipe

Welding nickel-chromium alloys like Inconel pipes and tubes requires industries to follow standards outlined in specifications like ASTM B705-17 and ASTM B444. An automated welding process like orbital GTAW reduces the chances of welding errors while increasing weld quality and productivity. By meeting high-quality standards in welding with orbital GTAW, industries can ensure the safe operation of their critical applications.

Arc Machines, Inc. provides orbital GTAW solutions for critical Inconel pipe and tube welding across wide-ranging industries. For inquiries regarding products, contact For service inquiries, contact Contact us to arrange a meeting.

Engineering Department | Arc Machines, Inc.

The first engineers at Arc Machines were also part of NASA’s Apollo program, and we continue to hold our staff to those that level of drive and quality. Not only do we produce the best welding machines on the market, but we can also build customized machinery—tailored to your operation.

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