IPG founding firm partners with TMK to develop laser technology for pipe manufacturing

TMK, a global manufacturer of tubular products for the oil and gas industry, and IRE-Polus, the founder and a core asset of fibre laser manufacturer IPG Photonics, have agreed to jointly develop laser technology for pipe manufacturing at TMK’s sites.

The firms will improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes for tubular products and parts through laser technology, as well as to explore new applications for these technologies.

The parties intend to implement a number of projects across a range of areas by 2023, including: new high-tech products with improved performance; improvements to manufacturing and repair technology; R&D-intensive solutions; and equipment upgrades.

In particular, the partners plan to use laser welding solutions for tubular products and parts to design a ‘next-generation pipeline’ model of high-strength steel. The programme also aims to harness laser welding technology for casing and stainless steel pipes.

Another collaboration will include the use of laser cladding and hardening to restore the operability of tools, parts and accessories used in pipe manufacturing. The technology will extend equipment service life and improve product performance, such as resistance to corrosion, high temperatures, impact, and abrasion. 

The two companies will also look into using manual laser welding for repairing pipe weld seams and body and for upgrading the existing laboratory laser installations at TMK facilities to create a new laser technology platform.

Sergey Chikalov, first deputy CEO for operations and development at TMK, said: 'TMK is constantly improving its R&D capabilities and continuously driving innovation across its operations. Laser technology is currently cutting edge, and we are the leader among pipe and steel companies in adopting this technology: our Chelyabinsk Pipe Plant was the world’s first manufacturer to develop and operationalise laser welding of longitudinal seams in large-diameter pipe. The cooperation programme signed today with IRE-Polus...will boost TMK’s efforts in this area to bring a new level of technology. The programme will unlock even broader opportunities for TMK to apply these technology solutions across its operations.'

Nikolay Evtikhiev, CEO of IRE-Polus, added: 'Rolling out our fibre lasers and driving innovative new use cases for this technology in real industrial settings to maximise manufacturing efficiency is IPG’s priority. By partnering with TMK, a clear industry leader, we will definitely achieve impactful and tangible results and once again demonstrate that our technology solutions can make all the difference.'