K-TIG’s big break into nuclear submarine welding field


Rapid welding technology manufacturer K-TIG’s welding processes have been selected as a potential alternative to conventional gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) of pipe joints for the US nuclear submarine construction programme.

K-TIG’s Keyhole TIG / GTAW welding technology, originally developed by CSIRO, has been selected for trials by the US’s prime contractor and lead design yard for the Virginia class attack submarines General Dynamics Electric Boat.

The US company has been awarded a project to develop alternative welding technologies by the US Department of Defense Navy Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program.

The project – Next Generation Autogenous Welding Process and Equipment Development – will develop a keyhole technique as an alternative to conventional GTAW pipe joints.

K-TIG Managing Director Adrian Smith said: “This project complements our current US Navy National Shipbuilding Research Program project to demonstrate the suitability of K-TIG technology for the repair and sustainment of US Warships which was previously announced in December, 2022.

“We are extremely excited to be working with General Dynamics Electric Boat and ManTech to demonstrate the benefits of K-TIG technology and its application to the naval and defence sectors.”

The study will examine the K-TIG process which allows for the completion of a pipe joint in a single pass.

“This process eliminates the use of, consumable insert rings and reduces bevel prep requirements.

“This process will decrease the amount of machining time, filler wire consumption, and welding time, while maintaining weld quality.

“Therefore with this new process, pipe welding labour hours at Electric Boat will be reduced and first-time quality will be increased.”

K-TIG staff will develop keyhole welding process and parameters and undertake initial prototype welding.

“If accepted by General Dynamics Electric Boat (they) will purchase an initial K-TIG system and develop welding procedures required to meet US Navy standards.”

Picture: General Dynamics Electric Boat/Virginia class submarine

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