From this step the tube goes through the straightener. This process completes the hot working of the tube. The tube (referred to as a mother tube) after finishing and inspection, becomes a finished product. Ever since it became possible to manufacture strip and plate, people have constantly tried to bend the material and connect its edges in order to manufacture tube and pipe. This led to the development of the oldest welding process, that of forge-welding, which goes back over 150 years.
In 1825, the British ironware merchant James Whitehouse was granted a patent for the manufacture of welded pipe. The process consisted of forging individual metal plates over a mandrel to produce an open-seam pipe, and then heating the mating edges of the open seam and welding them by pressing them together mechanically in a draw bench. The technology evolved to the point where strip could be formed and welded in one pass in a welding furnace. The development of this butt-welding concept culminated in 1931 in the Fretz-Moon process devised by J. Welding lines employing this process are still operating successfully today in the manufacture of tube up to outside diameters of approx. Aside from this hot pressure welding technique, in which the strip is heated in a furnace to welding temperature, several other processes were devised by the American E. Thomson between the years 1886 and 1890 enabling metals to be electrically welded. The basis for this was the property discovered by James P. Joule whereby passing an electric current through a conductor causes it to heat up due to its electrical resistance. In 1898, the Standard Tool Company, USA, was granted a patent covering the application of electric resistance welding for tube and pipe manufacture.
The production of electric resistance welded tube and pipe received a considerable boost in the United States, and much later in Germany, following the establishment of continuous hot strip rolling mills for the production of the bulk starting material necessary for large-scale manufacture. During the Second World War, an argon arc welding process was invented - again in the United States - which enabled the efficient welding of magnesium in aircraft construction. As a consequence of this development, various gas-shielded welding processes were developed, predominantly for the production of stainless steel tube.Following the far-reaching developments which have occurred in the energy sector in the last 30 years, and the resultant construction of large-capacity long-distance pipelines, the submerged-arc welding process has gained a position of pre-eminence for the welding of line pipe of diameters upward of approx. Steel strip in coil, which has been slit into the required width from wide strip, is shaped by a series of forming rolls into a multiple length shell. The longitudinal edges are continously joined by high frequency resistance/induction welding. The weld of multiple length shell is then head treated electrically, sized and cut to specified lengths by a flying cut-off machine. The cut pipe is straightened and squared at both ends. These operations are followed by ultrasonic inspection or hydrostatic testing. Steel pipes are long, hollow tubes that are used for a variety of purposes. They are produced by two distinct methods which result in either a welded or seamless pipe. In both methods, raw steel is first cast into a more workable starting form. It is then made into a pipe by stretching the steel out into a seamless tube or forcing the edges together and sealing them with a weld. The first methods for producing steel pipe were introduced in the early 1800s, and they have steadily evolved into the modern processes we use today. Each year, millions of tons of steel pipe are produced. Its versatility makes it the most often used product produced by the steel industry. Since they are strong, they are used underground for transporting water and gas throughout cities and towns. They are also employed in construction to protect electrical wires. While steel pipes are strong, they can also be lightweight. This makes them perfect for use in bicycle frame manufacture. Other places they find utility is in automobiles, refrigeration units, heating and plumbing systems, flagpoles, street lamps, and medicine to name a few. Perhaps the first use was by ancient agriculturalists who diverted water from streams and rivers into their fields. Archeological evidence suggests that the Chinese used reed pipe for transporting water to desired locations as early as 2000 B.C. Clay tubes that were used by other ancient civilizations have been discovered. In tropical countries, bamboo tubes were used to transport water.
Colonial Americans used wood for a similar purpose. In 1652, the first waterworks was made in Boston using hollow logs. Development of the modern day welded steel pipe can be traced back to the early 1800s. In 1815, William Murdock invented a coal burning lamp system. To fit the entire city of London with these lights, Murdock joined together the barrels from discarded muskets. He used this continuous pipeline to transport the coal gas.
When his lighting system proved successful a greater demand was created for long metal tubes. To produce enough tubes to meet this demand, a variety of inventors set to work on developing new pipe making processes. An early notable method for producing metal tubes quickly and inexpensively was patented by James Russell in 1824.