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High Strength Steel tubes with enhanced weldability for the crane sector

To respond to the requirements of crane manufacturers, Tenaris has developed a comprehensive and tailored technical solution in the following fields of application: Lattice boom crawler cranes Harbour mobile cranes Offshore & marine cranes All-terrain mobile telescopic cranes Tenaris is able to provide seamless tubes in quench and temper condition with tensile strength higher than 1000 Mpa having excellent toughness at low temperatures. Additionally in spite of their greater strength, these materials have an excellent weldability, due to an optimized steel design and manufacturing process.

Improved Weldability
Weldability is a key factor for the tubes used in such stressed structures, as the service performance of the structure and in particular the welded joint relies essentially on the mechanical properties of the tube, the Heat Affected Zone of the tube (HAZ) and the weld metal. From the tube point of view, the critical region is the HAZ, where its properties depend primarily of the chemical composition and microstructure of the tube and of course on welding conditions/parameters. Another important aspect that should not be neglected is cost and productivity of the welding. Steel tubes have to be welded using different welding techniques and the widest possible process parameters window (heat input, pre-heating temperature, inter-pass temperature among others) while maintaining the required mechanical properties in the heat affected zone of the tube therefore these factors are taken into account in tube design. To obtain a successful product it is important to determine and improve the material behaviour when welded. Tenaris is performing an extensive research program to characterize its base material using different welding technologies and parameters.

Tenaris is able to provide seamless tubes in quench and temper condition with tensile strength higher than 1000 Mpa having excellent toughness at low temperatures.

The crawler cranes market is currently facing the need for a new generation of cranes with higher lifting capacity, compact dimensions and reduced dead weight to maintain ease in transportation. The trend is linked to several factors: Larger and heavier pre-assembled components for power generation, industrial and plant construction and transport infrastructure (bridges, roads), which make more economical to lift a large component than assembling the part in situ. The increase in installed capacity of wind power. In Europe for instance, according to EWEAs baseline scenarios

2008, the installed capacity of wind power is going from 57 Mw to 300 Gw including offshore by 2030. This means that already erected onshore wind farms will undergo a process of repowering with much larger turbine design and therefore cranes development. The same scenario is noticed in the USA, where huge wind farms are erected. According to AWEA currently 35 MW are installed, by 2016 about 16 GW and 2030 about 300 GW are expected. Containerization, which makes the Harbour Mobile Cranes ideal for its flexibility in handling.

Laboratory tests are performed at the Tenaris R&D centers in Italy, Argentina and Mexico.

The investigation is being carried out either directly in our R&D facilities or through collaboration with external R&D Institutes. In particular: at Tenaris Siderca in Argentina , a thermal model is used to determine temperature time cycles for different weld geometries, welding techniques and process parameters; several positions in the HAZ are also

considered. After that, the welding thermal cycles are applied on samples of different steels to evaluate microstructural transformations in the HAZ during the actual welding process. An equipment that allows to simulate thermo and thermo-mechanical cycles on specimens (Gleeble 3500) is used to perform these studies.

at TenarisTamsa R&D centre and at the Italian Welding Institute, were carrying out the engineering of the welding procedure; at TenarisDalmine R&D centre were carrying out the micro-structural analysis of the thermally treated zone.

At TenarisSiderca, we use a model to determine the temperature time cycle for different weld geometry, welding technique and parameters.

The welding facility at TenarisTamsa.

ATenaris has a unique R&D center in Italy that performs micro-structural analysis of the thermally treated zone.


As a result, Tenaris has developed special steels and manufacturing process for each grade and tube dimension range avoiding increasing cost in alloying element that can have also a negative effect in weldability due to an increase in carbon equivalent. (Table 1)


WT mm Up to 10 mm > 10 mm Up to 10 mm > 10 mm Up to 10 mm > 10 mm Up to 10 mm > 10 mm

Graph above shows the comparison between a Gleeble simulation and experimental values for the thermal evolution in a multipass welding cycle. Graph below shows the comparison between experimental and theoretical results for the hardness in different points of the HAZ.

Weldability (Typical CEV and PCM values in %) CEV PCM 0,46 0,22 0,48 0,24 0,48 0,24 0,52 0,26 0,52 0,26 0,62 0,32 0,53 0,27 0,62 0,32

(1) 690 means minimum yield strength


Exceeding the norms

International standards like ISO EN 15614-1 (specifications and qualifications of welding procedures for metallic materials welding procedure tests) and ISO TR 15608 (welding guidelines for metallic materials - grouping system) standards estabilish that for materials with yield strenght between 690 and 890, the maximum required hardeness in the HAZ is 450 vickers. Thanks to its relatively low Ceq present in its steel grades, Tenaris is able to obtain the maximum 450 vickers for grades that are greater than 890, also when not specified by the above norms, as it can be seen in graph 1. Based on customers requirements, we can provide technical support in the definition of welding parameters in order to maintain tube characteristics and/or laboratory testing to perform metallurgical characterization of the welded joint to facilitate the customers welding procedure qualification process.

Thanks to the recent investment of about 68 million in the medium diameter pipe mill to widen the rotary furnace, Tenaris was able to increase the maximum weight of its pipes, therefore increasing its product range.

Tube manufacturing process

The right properties are achieved thanks to a tight control of every production phase: from definition of the steel to the steel works, rolling mill and heat treatment up to the final product. This allows us to obtain a tailored product that responds to the customers needs. High performance continuous mandrel mill and expander process with heat treatment and finishing lines dedicated to a specific tube size range, integrating with each other permit us to achieve an external diameter up to 711 mm and wall thickness up to 50 mm. Thanks to the recent investment of about 70 million euros for the revamping of the medium (FTM) and large diameter (Expander) pipe mills, including the finishing lines, with the objective of increasing the maximum weight of the pipes that can be processed, the customer can benefit from an extended product range in terms of longer pipes and higher wall thicknesses. This translates into reduced welding time, a crucial issue as it impacts on the total time of installation and costs of operation.

Tenaris can obtain max 450 vickers for steel grades greater than 890, also when not specified by ISO EN 15614-1 and ISO TR 15608 standards.
(Graph 1)

Heat treatment is performed in different facilities depending on tube dimension in order to guarantee homogeneous mechanical properties either in its cross section (circumferential and through wall) and along its length (Graph 2). For thicker wall tubes, the cooling phase from the austenitizing temperature is performed in efficient water tank, therefore high hardenability is not needed, allowing the use of steels with low level of carbon equivalent. Additionally as a standard practice, Tenaris performs an adequate combination of ultrasound and electromagnetic inspections depending on the WT or OD. These tests are performed to guarantee the high quality of our material, despite the standards sometimes do not specify this requirement.
For high wall thickness, the cooling phase is performed in water tanks, allowing the use of steel with low Ceq.

MANUFACTURING DATA Mechanical properties for pipe grade TS 890 with wall thickness = 20-40 mm. All impact test were performed at 40 C

(Graph 2)

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