Should I Purchase Welded or Seamless Steel Pipe?

The two most popular types of steel pipes on the market are welded and seamless steel pipes. As its name implies, a seamless steel pipe does not have a seam. It is engineered through methods like cold rolling, hot rolling, or cold drawn manufacturing. A welded pipe, on the other hand, is produced using a manufacturing process that results on a seam on the body of the pipe. There are a few different types of welded steel pipe: Electric Resistance Welded (ERW), Spiral Submerged Arc-Welding Pipe (SSAW), and Longitudinal Submerged Arc-Welding Pipe (LSAW). These three different types of welded steel pipe are created using slightly different methods.

Seamless Steel Pipe Production

A seamless steel pipe is manufactured using a billet, which is a cylinder-shaped piece of steel. Heat is applied to a billet, and then it is pierced through its center using a mandrel. Next, the billet is rolled and stretched into a desired size and thickness.

Many seamless steel pipes harden during their manufacturing process and do not need to be treated with heat, while some types do require treatment with heat.

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Welded Steel Pipe Production

Welded pipe is made from a skelp, which is an elongated and coiled steel ribbon. The skelp is cut into a flat sheet of a desired length. Then, the flat sheet is processed through a rolling machine, which forms a cylinder-shaped pipe. In the case of Electric Resistance Welded (ERW) steel pipe, an electrical current of a high frequency is passed between the edges of the flat sheet in order to fuse and melt them together. As opposed to other types of welded steel pipe, ERW pipe results in a weld seam that is barely detectable. Most categories of welded steel pipes are treated with heat after they are manufactured.

Seamless Steel Pipe vs. Welded Steel Pipe

Deciding which steel pipe is right for your project requires you to consider a few different factors. Seamless pipe is often considered the stronger and, in some cases, safer option. Without a seam, a seamless steel pipe can often withstand more pressure without cracking. Additionally, seamless steel pipes are usually lighter in weight than welded steel pipes, which can translate into benefits in areas like transportation.

On the other hand, a criticism of some seamless steel pipes is that their wall thickness is not as uniform or consistent as that of welded steel pipes. The process of rolling and stretching them sometimes results in wall thickness inconsistencies. Additionally, welded steel pipes are more widely manufactured, and they are usually more affordable.

While seamless steel pipe may often be the better choice for high-pressure or high-temperature applications, such as those in the oil and gas and energy sectors, keep in mind that some types of welded steel pipes, especially ERW pipes, are generally considered as strong as seamless steel pipes. When selecting which steel pipe is the right choice for your project, you should consider the temperature and pressure capabilities of individual pipe options and the requirements of your specific project. They are both great options and each offer many unique benefits.

Both seamless and welded steel pipe can be purchased new or used. Steel prices are currently skyrocketing, so purchasing used can save you money in comparison to buying new. Steel pipes are engineered to be strong and durable, and there is a wide selection of high-quality, used steel pipe on the market for you to choose from.

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