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Orbital Welding: Origins, Advantages, and Use Cases

Orbital Welding, while not a brand new concept, is revolutionary in its ability to increase efficiency and improve workplace safety.

Before diving into the specifics of orbital welding, it’s important to first know its origin.

Origins of Orbital Welding

Navy Veteran Roderick G. Rohrberg is credited as the pioneer of orbital tube welding and the orbital weld head. After concluding his service in the military, Rohrberg worked as an engineer in California at North American Aviation. While there, Rohrberg was a member of the design team that was responsible for creating the North American X-15, a hypersonic rocket-powered experimental aircraft that was developed for the U.S. Air Force and NASA. It was during this experience that Rohrberg came up with the orbital welding concept.

During a design and manufacturing team meeting, Rohrberg’s colleague, test pilot, Scott Crossfield, expressed concerns about leaking fuel and hydraulic fluids that were surrounding the aircraft’s 12,000-pound thrust rocket engine. Scott turned to the room for ideas about how to solve this problem and Rohrberg raised his hand to say, “Why don’t we automatically weld it?” And following that question, the rest is history.

After Rohrberg developed this concept in 1960, he spent the next 55 years of his life devoted to the design, development, and fabrication of tubular welding systems. During this time, he held 34 patents and received countless awards and accolades for his development work. Rohrberg may have passed away in 2013, but his legacy still lives on today.

What is Orbital Welding?

In simple terms, orbital welding involves using a welding tool that rotates 360 degrees around a static workpiece. This rotating tool removes the manual component of traditional welding which also removes the high likelihood of user error. This also allows for repeated welds to be formed much faster, with a high level of precision and consistency, since it is automated, and the set weld parameters can be stored and reused.

What are the Advantages of Orbital Welding?

More and more welders are turning to orbital welding for a wide range of reasons. For starters, orbital welding increases productivity and efficiency with its automated process. Orbital welding also produces a consistent weld quality due to its high level of precision, requires a lower skill level than manual welders, can be performed during a variety of environmental conditions and improves the safety of welders.

When Should Orbital Welding Be Used?

Traditional welding is challenging to achieve high levels of safety and quality. Traditional welders experience limited visibility and restricted access which cause defective welds as the welder has difficulty maintaining control of the materials. One way to minimize this risk is by using orbital welding. Orbital welding streamlines this process through an automated approach.

If your welding pool includes semiconductors or food, dairy, and beverage components, if it involves tubing, or if you have many welds that need to be completed, orbital welding can be helpful. Beyond this, orbital welding is used in a wide range of industries from aerospace to pharmaceuticals, so if an automated process would be beneficial to streamline your approach, then it’s worth a try.

At ARC Services, we are grateful for Rohrberg’s service and are proud to offer innovative solutions through orbital welding. If you want to learn more about our orbital welding offerings, get in touch with us today! We look forward to talking through our innovative welding approach with you.

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