Underwater stud welding is not a new technology, but its application possibilities have recently been expanded by a remarkable research project. Under the name "IGF 19.210 BG", the Fraunhofer Institute for Large Structures in Production Engineering IGP in Rostock and the Institute of Materials Science IW at Leibniz Universität Hannover carried out a groundbreaking research work.
The aim was to make underwater stud welding more efficient and reliable, even under semi-wet conditions. The result of the research project is a new type of shielding device that creates a localized habitat for welding under quasi-atmospheric conditions.
At the SCHWEISSEN & SCHNEIDEN trade fair in September 2023, we at KÖCO were able to experience live what this can look like. Here, a PD type threaded stud with the dimensions M16x50 made of steel (material 4.8) was welded in a horizontal position (PA) with the KÖCO Inverter 1805i.
The challenges of underwater stud welding
Normally, stud welding requires a dry atmosphere, as moisture can significantly impair the welding quality. In underwater environments, this fact is a challenge. The solution to this are hydrophobized ceramic rings. These specially treated rings are water-repellent and effectively keep moisture out during the welding process.
It is crucial to ensure that the ceramic ring is not exposed to moisture for long periods of time to guarantee a successful stud weld. Prior to the welding process, the welding area itself must be dried to achieve optimum results.
Background to the research project
It clearly demonstrates how research and innovation can push the boundaries of what is possible and open new avenues in industrial stud welding.
The impressive shielding prototype and hydrophobized ceramic rings developed for the research project is not intended for sale and is unlikely to be commercially available.
Its main role is to demonstrate the extended application possibilities of underwater welding and illustrates that underwater welding is not limited to conventional methods, but also enables niche applications such as stud welding.
Applications for underwater stud welding
The Dutch company "DCN Diving", which also carried out the underwater stud welding demonstration at SCHWEISSEN & SCHNEIDEN 2023, specialized in diving work for industrial purposes in open waters. Its expertise combined with the innovations from the research project promise an exciting future for underwater stud welding and similar applications; the process presented opens new perspectives for industries that use underwater welding in their work processes.