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Engineering Procedure

SAEP-394 8 October 2013


Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents

1 Scope……………………………………..……. 2
2 Conflicts and Deviations………………..……. 2
3 References……………………………..……… 2
4 Definitions……………………………………… 6
5 Material…………………………………………. 6
6 Qualifications of Operators………………..…. 7
7 Butt Fusion Welding of HDPE Pipe……….… 7
8 Preparation and Check List
before Commencing Welding…….…… 10
9 Butt Fusion Welding……………………….... 11
10 Qualification and Quality Control
Testing of Field butt Fusion Welding…. 13
11 Poor Workmanship of Butt Fusion Joint…... 14

Appendix A – Form 1 - Butt Heat


Fusion Joint Record……………………. 16

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018


Page 1 of 16
Primary contact: Mehdi, Mauyed Sahib on +966-13-8809547

Copyright©Saudi Aramco 2013. All rights reserved.


Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

1 Scope

This procedure describes the preparation, butt welding and qualification of HDPE pipes
and fittings to ensure that the welded joint performs equal to or greater than pipe. It is
applicable to mechanical and pressure-activated equipment with electrically powered
heater plates. The procedure is intended for butt fusion jointing PE pipes and fittings
that shall be used for gaseous fuels and all water services including transportation of
potable water. Butt welding following this procedure shall be suitable only for pipes
and fittings from the same wall thickness series and from PE4710 /PE100 only.

2 Conflicts and Deviations

2.1 Any conflicts between this procedure and other applicable Saudi Aramco
Materials System Specifications (SAMSSs), Engineering Standards (SAESs),
Standard Drawings (SASDs), or industry standards, codes, and forms shall be
resolved in writing by the Company or Buyer Representative through the
Manager, Consulting Services Department of Saudi Aramco, Dhahran.

2.2 Direct all requests to deviate from this procedure in writing to the Company or
Buyer Representative, who shall follow internal company procedure SAEP-302
and forward such requests to the Manager, Consulting Services Department of
Saudi Aramco, Dhahran.

3 References

The selection of material and equipment, and the design, construction, maintenance, and
repair of equipment and facilities covered by this specification shall comply with the
latest edition of the references listed below, unless otherwise noted.

3.1 Saudi Aramco References

Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedure


SAEP-302 Instructions for Obtaining a Waiver of a Mandatory
Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirement

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standard


SAES-A-004 General Requirements for Pressure Testing

Saudi Aramco Non-material Requirements Form


NMR-7930 Nonmaterial Requirements

Page 2 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

3.2 Industry Codes and Standards

British Standards
BS 4505 Specification for Flanges and Bolting for Pipes,
Valves and Fittings (Metric Series)
BS 5292 Jointing Materials and Components for Installation
using Water, Low Pressure Steam
BS 6920 Suitability of Non-Metallic Products for Use in
Contact with Water Intended for Human
Consumption with Regard to their Effect on the
Quality of the Water Methods of Test

British Standard European Norm


BS EN 545 DI Pipes, Fittings, Accessories & their Joints for
Water Pipelines – Requirements & Test Methods
BS EN 13067 Plastics Welding Personnel. Qualification Testing of
Welders Thermoplastics Welded Assemblies
BS EN 12007 Gas Infrastructure. Pipelines for Maximum
Operating Pressure up to and including 16 Bar,
General Functional Requirements
BS EN 712 Thermoplastics Piping System – End load – Bearing
Mechanical Joints between Pressure Pipes and
Fittings – Test Method for Resistance to Pull –
out under Constant Longitudinal Force
BS EN 713 Plastics Piping System – Mechanical Joints between
Fittings and Polyolefin Pressure Pipes – Test
Method for Leak Tightness under Internal
Pressure whilst Subjected to Bending
BS EN 715 Thermoplastics Piping Systems – Mechanical and
Cemented Joints between Pressure Pipes and
Fittings – Test Method for Leak Tightness under
Internal Pressure, including End Thrust
BS EN 921 Thermoplastics Pipes – Determination of Resistance
to Internal Pressure at Constant Temperature

International Organization for Standardization


ISO 4427 Polyethylene Pipes for Water Supply – Specifications

Page 3 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

ISO 13953 Polyethylene Pipes and Fittings – Determination of


Tensile Strength of Test Piece from Butt Fused
Joint
ISO 13954 Plastics Pipes and Fittings – Peel De-cohesion Test
for Polyethylene (PE) Electro-Fusion Assemblies
of Nominal Outside Diameter greater than or
equal to 90 mm
ISO 13955 Plastics Pipes and Fittings – Crushing De-cohesion
Test for Polyethylene (PE) Electro-Fusion
Assemblies
ISO 13956 Plastics Pipes and Fittings – Pull out De-cohesion
Test for Polyethylene Electro-Fusion Assemblies
ISO 4437 Buried Polyethylene (PE) Pipes for the Supply of
Gaseous Fuels - Metric Series - Specifications
ISO 12176 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Equipment for Fusion
Jointing Polyethylene Systems
ISO 1167 Thermoplastics Pipes, Fittings and Assemblies for
the Conveyance of Fluids - Determination of the
Resistance to Internal Pressure
ISO 4437 Buried Polyethylene (PE) Pipes for the Supply of
Gaseous Fuels - Metric Series - Specifications
ISO 9080 Plastics Piping and Ducting Systems -
Determination of Long Term Hydrostatic
Strength of Thermoplastics Materials in Pipe
Form by Extrapolation
ISO 9623 PE/Metal and PP/Metal Adapter Fittings for Pipes
for Fluids under Pressure - Design Lengths and
Size of Threads - Metric Series
ISO 9624 Thermoplastics Pipes for Fluids under Pressure -
Mating Dimensions of Flange Adapters and
Loose Backing Flanges
ISO 11414 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Preparation of
Polyethylene (PE) Pipe/Pipe or Pipe/Fitting Test
Piece Assemblies by Butt Fusion
ISO 12176 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Equipment for Fusion
Jointing Polyethylene Systems - Part 1: Butt Fusion

Page 4 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

ISO 12162 Thermoplastics Materials for Pipes and Fittings for


Pressure Applications - Classification,
Designation and Design Coefficient
ISO 13477 Thermoplastics Pipes for the Conveyance of Fluids -
Determination of Resistance to Rapid Crack
Propagation (RCP) - Small-scale Steady-State
Test (S4 Test)
ISO 13478 Thermoplastics Pipes for the Conveyance of Fluids -
Determination of Resistance to Rapid Crack
Propagation (RCP) - Full-scale Test (FST)
ISO 13479 Polyolefin Pipes for the Conveyance of Fluids -
Determination of the Resistance to Crack
Propagation - Test Method for Slow Crack
Growth on Notched Pipes (Notch Test)
ISO 13480 Polyethylene Pipes - Resistance to Slow Crack
Growth - Cone Test Method
ISO 13761 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Pressure Reduction
Factors for Polyethylene Pipeline Systems for
Use at Temperatures above 20°C
ISO 14236 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Mechanical-Joint
Compression Fittings for Use with Polyethylene
Pressure Pipes in Water Supply Systems
ISO/TR10358 Plastics Pipes and Fittings - Combined Chemical
Resistance Classification Table
ISO/TR11647 Fusion Compatibility of Polyethylene (PE) Pipes
and Fittings
ISO/TS10839 Polyethylene Pipes and Fittings for the Supply of
Gaseous Fuels - Code of Practice for Design,
Handling and Installation
ISO 21307 Plastic Pipes and Fittings - Butt Fusion Jointing

American Society for Testing and Materials


ASTM F2620 Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of
Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings
ASTM D2657 Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of
Polyolefin Pipe and Fittings

Page 5 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

ASTM D3261 Butt Heat Fusion Polyethylene (PE) Plastic Fittings


for Polyethylene (PE) Plastic Pipe and Tubing

Plastic Pipe Institute


Technical Report-33 Generic Butt Fusion Joining Procedure for
Polyethylene Gas Pipe, 2001
Handbook of Polyethylene Pipe, March 2009

4 Definitions

Fusion pressure and cooling pressure: the pressure (in bar) required to provide, on a
given machine and for a given size and rating of pipe, an interface stress of 0.15 MPa or
0.025 MPa as appropriate. This pressure is a function of the ram dimensions and the
efficiency of the machine.

Drag pressure: the minimum pressure (in bar) required to overcome the sliding
frictional drag of the pipe and the machine. This shall be assessed accurately prior to
making each fusion joint and shall be added to the ram pressure. This operation is
normally carried out automatically when fully automatic fusion machines are used.

Bead-up pressure: the sum of fusion and drag pressures required to provide, on a
given machine and for a given size and rating of pipe, an interface stress of 0.15 MPa to
form the initial bead on the end of the pipe against the heater plate.

Heat soak pressure: the pressure required to maintain the pipe in contact with the
heater plate. This is normally the drag pressure.

Bead roll over pressure: the pressure required to provided, on a given machine and
for a given size and rating of pipe, an interface stress of 0.15 MPa. This has the same
value as the initial bead-up pressure.

Plate removal time: the maximum time permitted for the opening of the carriage, removal
of the heating plate and closure of the carriage to bring the two hot pipe ends together.

Standard Dimension Ratio (SDR): The ratio of pipe diameter to wall thickness.
An SDR 11 means that the outside diameter - D - of the pipe is eleven times the
thickness - s - of the wall.

5 Material

Pipes and fittings shall be manufactured from virgin PE4710 / PE100 materials
qualified per ASTM D2837 or ISO 9080. PE100 pipe and fittings materials shall also
meet the requirements of ASTM D3350. Pipes and fittings made from PE4710/PE100
material are fusion compatible, regardless of manufacturer. All pipes and fittings shall

Page 6 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

contain effective ultraviolet light stabilizers to eliminate discoloration on site or during


storage. No rework material is permitted in the manufacture of the pipes and fittings.
The base resin of the color master batch shall be compatible with PE100 resin.

HDPE pipe is usually supplied either in 6 m or 12 m lengths or coils of 50 m to 150 m


in length. Consequently, it is necessary to create joints between pipe lengths and when
transferring from one size of pipe to another, connecting branches or for connecting
services to mains.

6 Qualifications of Operators

All operators who conduct heat fusion jointing or inspect joints in HDPE water and gas
piping shall be qualified/certified by a reputable third party laboratory per BS EN 13067
or equivalent.

Each candidate shall meet the minimum experience level of more than five (5) successfully
completed different jobs.

Before commencing installation, at least three joints prepared by qualified operator shall
pass the requirements of the short term validation tests per ASTM D1599; Quick-Burst
Hydro-testing. Any instantaneous or rapid loss of pressure attributed to the joint shall
constitute failure. Further joints shall be prepared and tested until failure occurs outside
the welded zone or passes the minimum required time.

Saudi Aramco Field Project Inspector shall ensure that all butt fusion welding candidates
provide certifications and identifications document before commencing heat fusion
welding.

7 Butt Fusion Welding of HDPE Pipe

HDPE pipe is butt fused together using a fusion welding machine. A clamping device
holds the two and ends which are brought in contact with a heating plate. A melt
pattern is formed around both pipe ends. Once the correct temperature is reached, the
heating plate is quickly removed, and the melt ends are pressed together to provide a
leak proof fusion joint that is as strong as or stronger than the pipe itself. Pipe and
fitting surfaces shall be clean and properly prepared to ensure high quality joint.

Before starting welding, the heater plate must be clean, undamaged and at the correct
surface temperature. For cleaning technique, refer to the equipment manufacturer’s
procedure.

7.1 Butt Fusion Welding Machine

Butt fusion welding of HDPE pipes and fittings shall be conducted using
mechanical, pressure-activated, automatic or manual welding equipment per

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

ISO 12176-1. This procedure will specifically cover manual welding.

The end user/contractor shall request a maintenance schedule from the


manufacturer of the equipment to regularly/periodically maintain the welding
equipment used for jointing HDPE pipe and fittings.

The project engineer shall ensure that the welding equipment to be used on site
has documented periodic maintenance schedule before commencing jointing of
pipe and fittings. Disregard of equipment could result in HDPE joints being
incorrectly welded or operational delays due to equipment frequent breakdown.

Each component of the machine shall conform to relevant national safety


regulations. National standards shall apply for the construction and safety of
electric systems.

Operating instructions, and relevant legal safety requirements and maintenance


schedules, shall be supplied for each butt fusion machine.

7.1.1 Hydraulic Pressure

The interfacial pressure is constant for all pipe sizes and all butt fusion
machines. However, fusion joining gauge pressure settings are
calculated for each butt fusion machine, which is dependent upon the
outside diameter (OD), dimension ratio (DR) and the piston area of the
fusion machine.

The hydraulic fusion joining pressure setting is calculated based on the


interfacial pressure, the pipe dimensions and fusion surface area, the
machine’s effective piston area and frictional resistance including the
pressure needed to overcome external drag resistance and the equipment
to be used. The following equation is usually used.

Hydraulic Pressure Setting = 0.785 x (OD2 – ID2 ) x IP + Drag Factor


Piston Area
Where:
OD = Outside Diameter (inch)
ID = Inside Diameter (inch)
IP = Interfacial Pressure required (60-90 psi)
PA = Piston Cross Sectional Area (inch2)
Drag Factor = Hydraulic gage pressure required to move the pipe
and carriage/clamp. 30 psi is generally accepted as a
minimum.

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

7.1.2 Heating Plate

Heating plate surfaces shall be between 205°C – 232°C (400°F – 450°F).


The temperature on both sides of the heating plate shall be measured using
a digital thermometer or thermocouple with an appropriate surface probe.
The maximum temperature difference between any two points on the
heating plate fusion surfaces shall not exceed 10°C (50°F) for welding
equipment covering pipe diameters smaller than 18”, or 20°C (68°F) for
larger diameters welding machine.

Incorrect heating temperature can result in failure prone fusion joints.


Heater plate surface temperature shall therefore, be periodically checked
with a pyrometer, to accordingly make necessary adjustments. The
thermometer on heaters indicates internal temperature, and should be used
as a reference only.

The pipe and fittings shall not stick to the surfaces of the heating plate to
avoid excessive cleaning and damage to the heating plate. This is
usually attained by coating the surfaces with colored PTFE (PolyTetra
FluoroEthylene). Colored PTFE is used to easily see and remove HDPE
pieces stuck to the heating plate surfaces.

Release agent of any type shall not be used at any time to avoid
contamination of the joint and its potential failure.

7.1.3 Trimming Tool

The trimming tool shall be easily mounted and secured within the frame
of the butt fusion jointing machine to produce accurately matched faces.
The trimming blades of the planer shall be sharp, contamination and
defect free cutting edges to provide continuous and uniform thickness.

The trimming blades are sharp and can cut. No attempt shall be made to
remove shavings while it is running. Switch off and remove the
trimming tool from the welding machine before attempting any
maintenance or adjustment.

7.1.4 Auxiliary Equipment

The following equipment shall be made available on site:


a) Digital thermometer or thermocouple with surface probe to check
heater plate temperature.
b) Timer
c) Spirit level to ensure machine is level

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

d) Pipe cutter
e) Marker pen for marking beads
f) Bead gauge
g) Saw and saw guide
h) Pipe end cover
i) Clean clothes, preferably of cotton, shall be used to clean and wipe
the pipes before trimming and welding. If contamination cannot be
removed this way, wash the pipe with water and a clean cotton
cloth. If contamination is attributed to oil, 90% or greater
concentration of isopropyl alcohol shall be used on the cotton cloth
to wipe the ends of pipe or fittings to clean contamination.

7.2 Generator

The on-site generator is required to supply power to the heater plate, trimmer and
hydraulic pump. It shall be selected per the butt fusion machine manufacturer to
suit the butt fusion welding machine capacity and heater plate rating.

8 Preparation and Check List before Commencing Welding

8.1 The welding area shall be protected from high humidity and windy weather
conditions. At least a tent should be made available to provide shelter during
welding.

8.2 Pipe and fittings including fusion area shall be free from cuts, gouges, deep
scratches, impurities, embedded grit or other defects. Loose contamination shall
be removed by wiping the pipe ends with a lint-free cloth on both inner and
outer surfaces. Damaged pipe and fittings shall not be used.

8.3 Remove excessive necking down at pipe ends or toe-in that could result in weld
misalignment.

8.4 All required tools and equipment are clean and in proper working order.

8.5 When joining coiled pipe, it will be necessary to allow pipe to equalize to the
temperature of its surroundings. Allow pulled-in pipes to relax for several hours
to recover from tensile stresses.

8.6 Before commencing welding, allowance shall be made for the trimming and
melting sequences to ensure correct lengths after welding.

8.7 Pipes must be correctly aligned before making connections. Accurate alignment
could be achieved by ensuring markings on pipes are in line.

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

8.8 Aligned pipe ends should then be brought into contact with the trimming planer
tool until continuous shavings are cut from each end. Loose shavings should be
removed from the welding machine and inside the pipes. Following trimming of
both ends, the pipes shall be checked again for alignment and adjustments made
before commencing welding.

8.9 The Saudi Aramco Field Project Inspector shall ensure that the
qualified/certified welder has a printed list of the correct welding parameters for
the machine and pipes to be welded provided by the pipe and fittings
manufacturer.

8.10 Heating plate surfaces shall be clean, undamaged and at the correct fusion
temperature.

9 Butt Fusion Welding

Welding operator shall use all the necessary Personal Safety Equipment including a
hard, protective boots, gloves to protect hands from heater burns and sharp blades and
protective Eye Glasses.

9.1 Set up Conditions

Before commencing welding, the welding sequence, heating and cooling times
and fusion pressures should be written down for each pipe diameter using Form 1
in Appendix A, for quick reference during the welding cycle. However, some
machines have all the welding parameters on them to refer to.

9.2 Manual Butt Fusion Welding Procedure

After setting up all the welding parameters provided by the pipe and fittings
manufacturer, the following procedure shall be adopted:
● Clean the inside and outside of pipe or fitting and place in the clamps with
the ends against the trimming tool.
● Align by clamping the pipe or fitting ends with the stamped markings at the
top and in line. This is to obtain the best match in diameter. Also, pipes
jointed with the markings at the top help identification when the pipes are in
trench.
● Tighten the pipe/fitting clamps gradually to grip and re-round the pipes.
Pipe or fitting ends should protrude past the clamps enough so that trimming
will be complete. Bring the ends together and align as necessary.
● Start trimming both surfaces until there is minimal distance between the
fixed and movable clamps. Keep the shaving tool turning whilst opening the

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

clamps to avoid steps on the trimmed surfaces.


● Remove loose shavings from the welding machine and pipe or fitting ends.
● Align, close the clamps and check that there is no visible gap between the
trimmed ends. The maximum permitted outside diameter mismatch is
between 2.0 mm for sizes up to 800 mm. Re-trim if it is above this limit.
● Cover the free ends of the pipe or fitting to prevent cooling of the heating
plate by internal draughts.
● Remove the heater plate from its protective cover. Check that it is clean and
up to temperature before commencing welding.
● Place the heating plate between the pipe and or fitting ends and then move
the ends against the heating plate under pressure to ensure full contact.
The initial contact, hydraulic, pressure should be applied for very short time
and then lowered to the drag pressure only at the first site of melt formation
around the pipe or fitting ends.
● Hold the ends against the heating tool until beads of the melted HDPE form
against the heating plate. When the heat soak time is completed, and the proper
melt bead is formed, quickly open the clamps, separate the ends and remove the
heating tool. The melt bead may significantly curls away from the heating
plate. This is a clear indication of applying high pressure during heating.
● Immediately close the clamps (within 8 to 10 seconds of removing the
heating plate) and bring the melted surfaces together at the previously
determined pressure.
● Maintain the required pressure for the minimum pre-determined cooling time.
● Pressures required at this stage, for different sizes and pressure ratings, shall
be provided by the welding machine manufacturer or the HDPE pipe and
fittings manufacturer.
● After this time the joint assembly can be removed from the welding
machine. Soon after ensuring that the joint is almost at ambient temperature,
it shall be examined for uniformity, size and cleanliness. Bead size is
dependent upon the size of the pipe and/or fitting and their pressure ratings.
These sizes shall be provided by the HDPE pipe and fitting manufacturer.
However, the size differential between two single beads on pipe to pipe shall
not exceed 10% of the combined bead width and 20% for pipe to fitting and
fitting to fitting.
● Saudi Aramco Field Project Inspector shall supervise the inspection and
randomly measure at least 3 external beads, removed using suitable de-

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

beading tool, for each size of pipe in line with BS EN 12007. The beads and
joint shall be numbered/coded using permanent marker pen.

Below is a typical example of acceptable and uniform size of single beads.

Figure 2 - Typical Accepted Joint with Uniform Beads

9.3 Butt Fusion Welding of Pipes and fittings with Different Wall Thickness

Butt Fusion welding between pipes and fittings shall be conducted provided that
all components have the same outside diameter with minimum wall thickness
that shall not be more than 25%.

10 Qualification and Quality Control Testing of Field butt Fusion Welding

Before proceeding with welding and at any change of pipe size or weather conditions,
trial joints shall be made to ensure that all machine settings and welding procedure
result in quality weld for the site conditions.

Moreover, at the discretion of the project engineer and during all the welding stages, a
randomly selected butt joint (or a number of joints) can be destructively tested in order
to assess joint quality and give confidence in the quality of the pipeline being laid.
Cut samples taken from the weld shall be subjected to tensile tests in accordance with
ISO 13953. The failure shall be ductile rather than brittle and meet a minimum tensile
strength of 20 MPa.

10.1 Test Specimen

For pipe sizes of 6 in. (150 mm) or less, joints shall be made to form a specimen
length between the end closures not less than five times the outside diameter of
the pipe, but in no case less than 12 in. (300 mm). For larger sizes, the
minimum length including the joint shall be not less than three times the outside
diameter, but in no case less than 30 in. (760 mm). Unless otherwise stated, five
specimens shall be tested for each size.

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Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

The joints shall be left to cool for no less than 60 minutes before conducting the
following qualification tests.

10.2 Visual Test

Visually inspect each completed joint against a known reference sample.


The entire heat fusion welded area shall show no cracks, voids, contamination,
non-uniform beads size or misalignment. The beads shall show no evidence of
splitting. If the bead is seen to split at any point then the joint shall be rejected
and the butt fusion equipment is thoroughly cleaned, examined and new welding
parameters are set. New trial joints shall be made until visually acceptable.

10.3 Short-Time Hydraulic Pressure Test

At least 3 joints that passed the visual test shall be subjected to short time
hydraulic pressure test per ASTM D1599, Procedure B. The contractor shall
conduct this test at premises of the pipe and fittings manufacturer.
The test shall be specifically conducted to assess the integrity of each joint at a
temperature of 23, ±2°C. To determine that the joint complies with a minimum
burst requirement, the minimum allowable time to failure is 60 seconds
however, the time to failure may be extended beyond 60 seconds yielding a
more conservative result. If one of the joint failed the test, the qualification and
quality control testing shall be repeated after re adjusting the welding
parameters, until all the three joints pass the test.

11 Poor Workmanship of Butt Fusion Joint

Except for third party damage, butt fusion joint is as strong as the pipe and almost all
failed joints are attributed to poor workmanship. The major threat to HDPE pipeline
integrity other than third party damage is poor fusion jointing. Axial or bending
stresses caused by thermal expansion or contraction, or ground movement will increase
the risk of failure of poor joints.

Table 1 below shows typical defective joints due to poor workmanship.

Page 14 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

Table 1 - Showing Some of the Typical Defects Due to Poor Workmanship

# Condition of Butt Fusion Joint Cause of Failure


1- Large double bead Excessive heating and/or high jointing pressure
Different bead size around the welded Miss alignment highly oval pipe and/ or
2-
pipes defective heating tool
3- Small beads size Short heating time and/or low jointing pressure
4- Orange peel bead surface Moisture or hydrocarbon contamination
5- Poorly rolled over bead Low heating and insufficient jointing pressure
6- Square bead Pressure application during heating
7- Flat top bead High jointing pressure and/or excessive heating
Presence of stresses at joint due to low jointing
8- Stress crack growth at the joint pressure or contamination which acts as a
stress concentrate
High joining pressure, insufficient heating
9- V-groove between the beads is too deep
and/or activation of pressure during heating

Defects within the welded joint arising from poor installation practice will act as stress
raisers and initiation sites for stress crack growth. Joint subjected to internal pressure,
severe misalignment and bending will results in propagation of the stress crack leading
to premature failure and leakage of the transported fluid. Premature joint failure due to
these installation practices is common.

Revision Summary
8 October 2013 New Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedure.

Page 15 of 16
Document Responsibility: Non-Metallic Standards Committee SAEP-394
Issue Date: 8 October 2013 Field Butt Fusion Welding and Qualification of
Next Planned Update: 8 October 2018 Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings for Water and Gas Services

Appendix A
Form 1 - Butt Heat Fusion Joint Record

Machine type :
Serial No. :
Time : Date :
Joint number :
Job No. : Operator Full Name and Certification No.:
Pipe or pipe and fitting size and manufacturer´s Name:
Joint cycle :
Actual Permissible
Butt Fusion Welding Parameters Units
Value Values
Bead pressure ( no drag )
Joint pressure ( no drag ) Bar
Drag Bar
Heater temperature °C
Bead-up pressure Bar
Initial bead size mm
Heat soak time sec.
Heat soak pressure Bar
Dwell time (change-over time) sec.
Fusion pressure Bar

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