A: First, you should do a visual inspection of your steel pipe. The mill stencils these specifications on the side of the pipe where you can read if it’s ERW or seamless. We also provide our customers with mill test reports that will state whether or not the pipe is seamless or welded.
If you’ve read our blogs before, then you know we talk a lot about steel pipe. In fact, we often sound repetitive in discussing the many different variations of steel used and what their advantages are. No matter if it’s A106 seamless steel pipe or A53 which can be seamless or welded—steel pipe is a proven material.
In the PVF industry, steel pipe is a critical component of just about any industrial application. Offshore oil rigs, chemical plants, food processing facilities, and many other industries use steel pipe quite often. They offer many benefits no matter the task they’re given to handle despite any limitations which all materials have to some extent.
In our business, steel pipe is most often used in systems that distribute fluids or gases. Despite the oil and gas sector being one of our largest types of clients, we offer PVF for all industries. When it comes to pipe, steel pipe, no matter the variation, has become the number one choice for different industrial applications nationwide.
This is likely due to the many advantages that steel pipe has over materials such as copper, PVC, and HDPE.
Why Is Steel Pipe The #1 Choice In PVF?
While there are an abundant amount of reasons to choose steel pipe over other materials, there are five major reasons that secure its spot at the top.
Steel pipe is the toughest pipe material out there and can take just about any amount of abuse you can throw at it. All of steel’s other qualities aside, the strength alone makes it more favorable for most applications. It allows it to endure vibrations, impact, and extreme pressure levels. Unlike metals such as cast iron, steel has a bit of flex and will bend instead of snap when put under stress.
Easy To Install
Steel pipes can be manufactured to custom heights, strengths, and widths to accommodate the most rigid specifications of any project. They can even be modified on-site, which makes for easy installation. Once installed, any mods or maintenance that needs to be done can be performed easily and quickly.
Steel pipe can handle larger capacities due to the strong materials it is made from. In comparison to PVC for example, steel pipe can handle larger capacities with no pressure, unlike PVC of HDPE which could burst. It also is structurally strong and that is a major advantage.
Minimal Impact On The Environment
Steel is a very effective way to conserve the environment. Steel can be renewed and recycled with ease as well as being repurposed. All of this without losing its durability or level of quality. Over 70% of the steel used in North America is recycled for re-use annually.
Why Does It Matter What Steel Pipe You Use?
Just as there are a variety of pipes within a class of material such as plastic or iron, steel pipe also comes in different variations. Technology is always expanding in the PVF industry and one of the most popular developments is seamless steel pipe.
While traditional steel pipe is welded, it does come with a vulnerable spot, as all ERW pipe has a weak spot on the weld. That weak spot can be the catalyst for a pipe bursting if it’s not matched with the right application. When it comes to pipe, a decision must be made between welded and seamless pipe. However, the decision is not so cut and dry as it is influenced by many factors.
For one, there are a lot of regulations regarding welded pipes and their usage. These regulations often focus on what substance will be transported through the pipe and pressure levels. Therefore, it’s crucial to know about the alternative—seamless pipe.
ERW Vs. Seamless: What’s The Difference?
Seamless pipe is formed from a solid steel cylinder that is heated till it is pliable. Then a tool called a mandrel is forced through the center. The cylinder then gets rolled and stretched until it is formed to the specified thickness and diameter.
However, welded pipe works a bit differently as it starts as a flat sheet of steel that’s molded into a pipe shape. The two sides of the sheet are welded together, often through a high-frequency electrical current. Although the seams in the electric welded pipe are barely visible, it technically still has a seam.
Advantages of Seamless
Even though the seam may not be visible, ERW pipe is more prone to failure, particularly along the weld. Even though advancements in welding tech have led to barely visible welds, welded pipe’s maximum pressure rating is still 20% less than seamless pipe. Seamless pipe is simply stronger and more adept in many different applications. Additionally, since there is no seam, seamless pipes do not need weld integrity inspections.
While you can sub seamless pipe for welded pipe, you can’t sub welded for seamless. Strict regulations prohibit that due to the safety hazard.
One of the most important advantages of seamless over ERW is its corrosion resistance. There are far fewer issues with impurities and defects regarding malleability. However, these issues usually occur in ERW pipes and are quite common.
Advantages of ERW
While the seamless pipe does seem to have a clear overall advantage over ERW pipe, ERW does have some things going for it. For example, it’s less expensive and can be produced much quicker for last-minute jobs.
Whether you choose seamless or ERW steel pipe for your project depends on several factors. It’s not always just a black and white answer—you have to consider many criteria. Although, whether you go seamless or ERW—steel pipe of either variety will give you an advantage in most applications.
Advantages By Industry
Steel holds major advantages and benefits compared to pipes of other materials. However, there are also many specific industries where steel offers a huge upgrade. The advantages of steel we’ve already covered play a major role in why these applications favor steel:
Water – Since steel pipe is both resistant to corrosion and rust, it’s the obvious frontrunner for water distribution in municipalities. It lasts for decades due to its strength and durability protecting it against underground pressure, vibration, and shock.
Construction – Most commercial construction and contractors favor steel pipe for foundation construction and framing. But additionally, they use it for handrails, scaffolding, fence posts, exhaust pipes, and more.
Utilities – Steel pipe is used as a protective encasement for underground utility lines. Utilities such as gas, electricity, fiber-optic internet, and more.
Sewage – Sewage is mostly comprised of wastewater plus some sludge and solids. Steel pipe is ideal because of its corrosion resistance, specifically galvanized corrugated steel. The contoured ripples in corrugated steel pipe enhance its ability to endure extreme pressure levels common in sewage systems.
Whether ERW Or Seamless—Get Yours From TPC!
It doesn’t matter what application you’re needing steel pipe for. It doesn’t make a difference if you need ERW or seamless. When you need quality pipe you can depend on and you need it fast—Call TPC.
We stock a huge inventory in our expansive warehouse strategically located to get your PVF components to you fast.
Contact us today and let us help you supply you with the high-quality PVF supplies you need.