Stainless steel tubing is one of the most versatile metal alloy materials used in manufacturing and fabrication. The two common types of tubing are seamless and welded. Deciding between welded vs. seamless tubing primarily depends on the application requirements of the product. In choosing between the two, keep in mind that first, the tubing must be compliant with your project specifications and that secondly, it must meet the conditions for which the tubing will ultimately be used.
Seamless Tubing Manufacturing
The method of manufacturing welded and seamless tubing is evident in their names alone. Seamless tubes are as defined they do not have a welded seam. The tubing is manufactured through an extrusion process where the tube is drawn from a solid stainless steel billet and extruded into a hollow form. The billets are first heated and then formed into oblong circular molds that are hollowed in a piercing mill. While hot, the molds are drawn through a mandrel rod and elongated. The mandrel milling process increases the molds length by twenty times to form a seamless tube shape. Tubing is further shaped through pilgering, a cold rolling process, or cold drawing.
Welded Tubing Manufacturing
A welded stainless steel tube is produced through roll forming strips or sheets of stainless steel into a tube shape and then welding the seam longitudinally. Welded tubing can be accomplished either by hot forming and cold forming processes. Of the two, cold forming results in smoother finishes and tighter tolerances. However, each method creates a durable, strong, steel tube that resists corrosion. The seam can be left beaded or it can be further worked by cold rolling and forging methods. The welded tube can also be drawn similar to seamless tubing to produce a finer weld seam with better surface finishes and tighter tolerances.
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