The Importance of Good Weld Preparation
Beveling is one of the most important preparation processes in any welding application and one which can create restrictive bottlenecks and slow productivity. Poor edge preparation leads to improper joint fit-ups and ultimately to poor weld quality. Weld edge prep consistency and accuracy helps to reduce excessive welding and eliminates consumable wastage, heat input, and extra man-hours. By using a KBM® mechanized plate beveling machine from GULLCO® companies can increase productivity, reduce material handling, and improve weld quality. All while eliminating the heat effected zones caused by flame cutting or grinding and improving welder safety. When you combine these benefits with the fact that beveling with the sheering process of the KBM® and eliminating the load noise and sparks of alternative processes it is no wonder so many companies are adopting mechanized beveling processes. This has been greatly outlined in the Weld.com video, Man vs Machine – Plate Beveling below
The importance of accurate plate edge preparation can be well understood when we look at some of the most important heavy fabrication industries such as Ship Building, Tank Welding, and Energy Production.
The fabrication of windmill towers must address the large material handling needs of producing the shells while maximizing the consistency of the edge consistency to ensure the fit-up of one section to the next when assembling in the field. Some wind towers reach heights of 100m or more which require beveled edges of up to 1500m or more per tower. Fast, accurate, consistent, and economical processes are required for companies to remain on time and on budget, and with speeds of up to 3m per minute with no material distortion the KBM® series of plate edge bevelers have been implemented in companies worldwide to give them the edge they need to meet these high industry demands.
Many applications use the oxy-fuel beveling process for cutting carbon steel plates. The equipment is low cost and can be used manually or can be mechanized but this process comes with a variety of disadvantages.
The disadvantages of using the fuel cutting process range from low speeds, high thermal input, inaccuracies in the bevel angle leading to excessive weld deposition and consumable consumption, and ultimately rework. Significant man-hours, cost of gases, and other grinding consumables are some of the downsides to the fuel cutting process which are reduced or eliminated when using the cold shear process of the KBM® plate beveler.
Due to their portability, maneuverability, and high operating speeds the KBM® greatly reduces material handling costs as they are capable of being brought to the workpiece and models are available for bevelling both the top and underside of the plate without the need to rotate or flip the material. Various materials like carbon steels, alloyed steels, stainless steels, high tensile steels, aluminum can be very successfully beveled using these machines. Mechanical beveling being a non-thermal process has an important metallurgical advantage of not creating a heat-affected zone (HAZ) and not causing thermal distortion.
Some of the other distinct advantages of the mechanized shear beveling process are:
- Noise pollution, and vibration-free operation
- Reduced material handling cost and machine portability
- Spring-loaded undercarriage allows the machine to run on an inconsistent or undulating floor or navigate the curve in long plates.
- Easy and quick adjustment of the root face and bevel angle
- Simple operation and low skill ceiling required
- The top and bottom of the plates can be beveled simultaneously by using two machines in tandem.