First 10 Questions about K-TIG

1. Will K-TIG work on my application?

K-TIG (keyhole TIG) is a variant of GTAW, and delivers exceptional productivity across a wide range of applications. It easily handles longitudinal and circumferential welds on pipes, plates, spooling, vessels, tanks and many other applications. K-TIG does not require edge bevelling, and requires only a simple square butt joint. No root gap is required. K-TIG can also be used to weld into all standard edge preparations.

Materials

K-TIG is a precision process and is best suited for corrosion resistant materials and some higher end carbon steels. Check out more information on K-TIG materials here.

Material Thicknesses

K-TIG ideal thickness ranges are:

  • Titanium up to 5/8 inch (16mm) thickness
  • Stainless steel up to 1/2 inch (13mm) thickness
  • Nickel alloys & super alloys up to 1/2 inch (13mm) thickness
  • High quality carbon steel up to 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness 

If it’s thinner (1mm or 2mm), K-TIG welds in TIG (melt-in) mode. In this mode, welding speed will typically be 2x to 3x that of conventional TIG/GTAW and will be single pass, however this isn’t considered a keyhole weld.

If it’s thicker - Prepare your materials with a thick landing, and K-TIG will perform a full penetration root pass followed by a filler pass. The filler passes can be performed by K-TIG or by another welding process.

Joints

K-TIG is ideally suited to longitudinal, circumferential and corner joints. It only requires a square butt preparation, no bevelling is required when welding within K-TIG’s normal thickness ranges.

 

2. What are K-TIG's limitations?

Like all systems K-TIG has some limitations. Here they are, plain and simple:

Positions

The K-TIG system welds effortlessly in 1G and 2G welding positions. It’s not intended for orbital (5G/6G) applications.

Materials

Copper and aluminium cannot be welded with K-TIG. Likewise low grade, high sulphur carbon steels are generally not suitable.

Pipe Diameters

K-TIG can readily weld pipe diameters down to 3 inches. The tie-in on pipes with diameters smaller than 3 inches become challenging as the weld is completed within seconds and the tie-in (joining the beginning and end of the weld) must be performed over very hot material. Essentially K-TIG is too fast for very small diameter pipes.

  

3. Who else is using K-TIG?

We’re proud to say, the K-TIG technology has been adopted by some of the world's most advanced and innovative fabricators. Our customers range from multinationals like GE to industry specialists such as Bilfinger and Aibel.

We activity partner with the world’s pre-eminent advanced manufacturing development centres such as the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) in the UK, the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) in Australia and GE Global Research Centre in the US.

What is it like to be a K-TIG customer? Check out some case studies here.

The K-TIG controller ensures repeatability & conformity to our weld certifications. Even an inexperienced operator can simply select which program to use, and it will weld exactly how you expect it to.
Brett Jago, Production Supervisor, Bilfinger

 

4. What do I need to make the system work?

A K-TIG welding system is delivered as a fully integrated welding cell comprised of the K-TIG 1000 controller, torch, power supply, water cooler, wire feeder and torch mount with compensating slide.

The only additional requirement is some form of automation to provide consistent torch travel speed - this can be almostalmost any kind of welding automation including rotators, positioners, turntables, seamers, carriages, robots, column and booms and many others.  During commissioning, the K-TIG controller will be integrated with your automation equipment.

 

5. How much will I save?

Customers with applications in K-TIG’s ideal thickness range and materials can reduce their welding costs by in excess of 90%.

Switching from GTAW to K-TIG

Relative to conventional TIG/GTAW welding, productivity gains and overall savings of more than 70% are typical, and savings in excess of 90% are common.

Switching from Plasma to K-TIG

Relative to Plasma Arc Welding (PAW), productivity gains of more than 50% are typical.

How are the savings achieved?

Incredibly fast welding times result in dramatic reductions in gas and power usage. Large single pass welds significantly reduce, or eliminate, grinding and reworking. Often edge bevelling is eliminated in favour of simple square butt preparations.

K-TIG can calculate your savings and productivity gains, offering:

  • Welding time comparison
  • Wire consumption comparison
  • Grinding time comparison
  • Gas consumption comparison
  • Productivity comparison

On request, K-TIG will generate a K-TIG Savings Assessment at no cost for potential customers with applications which are within K-TIG’s normal thickness ranges

  • Titanium up to 5/8 inch (16mm) thickness
  • Stainless steel up to 1/2 inch (13mm) thickness
  • Nickel alloys & super alloys up to 1/2 inch (13mm) thickness
  • High quality carbon steel up to 1/4 inch (6mm) thickness 

Customers with applications in corrosion resistant materials in an ideal thickness range generally save in excess of 90% relative to their current welding costs

Request a K-TIG Savings Assessment to calculate the specific savings on your application.

Download a case study to review examples of customer savings.

K-TIG’s ability to virtually eliminate wire consumables has had a dramatic impact on the cost of each weld.
Brett Jago, Production Supervisor, Bilfinger

6. Will K-TIG meet code requirements?

K-TIG is a GTAW variant, not a new welding process. K-TIG is code permissible in any application in which TIG/GTAW is allowable.

ASME

K-TIG is one of a large number of GTAW modes/variants as defined by ASME.

ASME doesn’t distinguish between GTAW and it’s variants (ASME under ASME QW-256 (Essential, Supplementary Essential and Non-Essential Variables for GTAW)). GTAW and its variants are all considered the same process under ASME.

Autogenous Welding

Autogenous welding is an acceptable industry welding mode for many applications and can be qualified to rules of ASME Section IX, QW-256 for K-GTAW. Welding Procedure Specifications can be qualified for KTIG welds both with and without the addition of a wire consumable.

Wire can be added to any K-TIG weld. Typically the amount of wire added is nominal, 1-10% of what would normally be used for a conventional melt-in GTAW weld.

 

7. How difficult is K-TIG to use? 

Procedure development for a K-TIG weld typically takes hours, not days or weeks. The Keyhole TIG process is simple and can be used in broad operating windows.

Repeatability

K-TIG welds are extremely consistent. Once the procedure has been established, it can be saved to the controller. That ensures high quality, repeatable welds that are fully compliant with an approved procedure. K-TIG welding eliminates variations in weld speed, quality, and welder fatigue.

 

8. What are the running costs?

The running costs of K-TIG welding systems are extremely low. K-TIG’s high speed welding significantly reduces arc-on costs, like gas and power, and system consumables are negligible.

Consumables

There is no requirement for filler material with the K-TIG system. If wire is desirable, usually 1-10% of previous wire volume will be used.

K-TIG electrodes aren’t consumed in the weld pool. In most applications electrode life is extremely long. Sharpening at the commencement of each shift is usually adequate. A single packet of 5 K-TIG electrodes will last most fabricators 6 months or more.

Carbon Footprint

K-TIG consumes as little as 1/20th of the gas and power consumed by conventional TIG/GTAW for the same weld, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of our customers.

 

With only one pass involved in most applications, there’s greatly reduced gas consumption. We’ve seen gas reductions of up to 96%.
Attila Szabo, Principal Joining Engineer, GE

 

9. Can I use my own equipment?

If the travel speed is consistent, your existing welding automation equipment can generally be used (and integrated) with the K-TIG system.

Integration

During commissioning, the K-TIG controller can be integrated with your automation equipment. The K-TIG system can be integrated very simply, or extensively so the entire welding sequence is reduced to a push-button solution. 

Welding Machine

It is necessary to use the K-TIG power unit due to the high level of integration which is required between the controller and the power unit.  It is not possible to connect the K-TIG controller to other power supplies.

 

10. Can K-TIG provide an ROI for my applications?

K-TIG can provide a detailed ROI (Return on Investment) assessment for your specific application - we call these our Weld Savings Assessment.  In general terms, the ROI on a K-TIG system can be as little as several months due to the dramatic cost reductions. 

If you are a fabricator welding corrosion resistant materials, K-TIG will review your application and provide you with a Weld Savings Assessment, at no cost. These assessments are compiled individually by our team and will be emailed to you personally. Our team will be available to you for any follow-up questions you may have regarding your assessment.

See the K-TIG Savings Assessment.

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