What is orbital welding?

Welding glasses.

Orbital welding is a method of joining two objects together under a high level of heat. In traditional welding, users manually rotate the arc, or heat source, around objects. With an orbital welder, the arc automatically rotates 360 degrees around objects to create a smooth, even joint. This process results in very clean welds with little room for user error.

Welders should wear hard hats and gloves for protection.

To use orbital welding techniques, workers need special equipment, including a power supply and control system. A special orbital welding head connects to the power supply using flexible tubes or plumbing. These heads feature a built-in clamp that locks around the object being welded, as well as a built-in motor to rotate the electrode around the object. This electrode remains hidden inside the head during the entire orbital welding procedure.

Orbital welding is the act of joining two objects together by overheating them.

This process usually requires a non-consumable electrode, which means that the electrode itself does not melt to create the weld. Instead, the electrode produces enough heat to melt the edges of the metal object together, forming a permanent bond. In this type of application, the welder relies on tungsten inert gas (TIG) instead of a standard welding rod. Orbital welding projects that require a consumable electrode typically utilize a wire feeder to supply metal wire to the welding arc.

One of the main advantages of this type of welding is that it eliminates much of the risk of human error to produce a consistent, high quality weld. Once the welding head is locked around the object, the electrode is automatically guided through the process. While it can be difficult for humans to maintain a uniform distance when welding around an object, these welding heads move the electrode around the object in a constant circular pattern. With no consumable electrode required on most projects, orbital welding also results in a very clean, spatter-free bond.

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The clean bond created by orbital welding equipment makes this technique very popular in cleanroom applications. This includes food processing, lab work, and even nuclear welding projects. Orbital techniques can also be used when welding standard pipes in homes or businesses.

Welders who wish to utilize this technique should carry a large selection of welding heads to accommodate objects of varying sizes. Orbital techniques can only be applied when the right size welding head is available to fit around each object. This can require substantial upfront investment from companies in order to secure a large section of welding head sizes.

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