When to use an open head in orbital welding?

The advantages of closed welding heads are obvious. Easy to operate while guaranteeing a high-purity result thanks to the gas protection that surrounds the weld pool and the weld bead in a closed chamber. But a closed welding head does not work for all types of applications. Discover below some examples of applications that require you to use an open welding head!

Open welding heads: Small investment
for outstanding flexibility

Many companies weld a number of different materials with diameters and wall thicknesses ranging from very small to very big. Investing in orbital welding can sometimes be expensive because each configuration requires an individual solution according to the applications and diameters. 

An open welding head is very versatile when it comes to welding a range of different diameters. Unlike with closed welding heads, there is no need to buy a set of clamping jaws for each diameter, which considerably lowers the cost. Moreover, switching between diameters is faster with an open head which can save you a lot of time. Money and time are the main aspects that make companies opt for automated welding with open heads. All things considered, the investment is relatively small while open welding heads are suited for many applications. 


Save money with accessories

In orbital welding, some accessories such as flanges, elbows etc. also need to be welded to straight tube. With closed welding heads we can weld these accessories if they have a long straight part to clamp on without special collets. However, for short accessories a closed head needs special collets… By using the open head, it avoids using special collets because it will clamp on one side of the joint. It will limit the need for extra tooling to achieve your project.

Unlike a closed welding head, an open head does not need to be clamped onto both workpieces. It is sufficient to clamp the open head on one of the elements to be welded, in other words on one side of the joint. 

So if you wish to weld a tube with an accessory, it is certainly possible to mount the head on the tube and to use an accessory without a straight part on the other side. The open head only requires one straight section of approximately 120mm for clamping. This can differ depending on the selected model and the intended use (butt welding, use of filler wire, AVC/OSC).


A forward-looking investment 

For a company that wishes to take the step towards orbital welding without costly investments, it makes sense to opt for an open-head welding system without filler wire. This will give the welder the opportunity to take charge of the equipment step by step.

At a later stage, the orbital TIG welding power supply can easily be equipped with an additional axis for the feeding of filler wire, allowing customers to weld thicker pipes and to meet the often complex specification standards. 



A smooth start

Setting up and operating these open welding heads is fairly easy for an experienced welder. They have the possibility to trace the welding process, to ensure that it is running smoothly (while being properly protected of course) and can step in at any moment to make adjustments if necessary.

This first step towards welding with open heads often leads companies to specialize in certain areas to lower production costs. They respond to more bid solicitations (calls for tender) and can then focus on more specific areas such as so-called "high purity" applications (food and beverage industry, pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, etc.). 

Welding in clean rooms? Check out our tips!


It is often at this point that companies opt for closed heads to complement their equipment. This addition can be done effortlessly, mostly impart to the welders are already accustomed to working with the orbital TIG power supply and therefore require no expensive complementary training.


Check out all our expert’s tips for finding the right power supply for orbital welding in our free guide!


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Écrit par
Alicia Wendland

Marketing Manager