Stainless steel tubing is one of the most versatile metal alloy materials used in manufacturing and fabrication. The two common types of tubing are seamless and welded. Deciding between welded vs. seamless tubing primarily depends on the application requirements of the product. In choosing between the two keep in mind that first the tubing must be compliant with your project specifications and that secondly, it must meet the conditions for which the tubing will ultimately be used.
Seamless Tubing Manufacturing
Welded Tubing Manufacturing
Choosing Between Welded and SeamlessThere are benefits and drawbacks in choosing welded vs. seamless tubing.
Seamless TubingBy definition seamless tubes are completely homogenous tubes, the properties of which give seamless tubing more strength, superior corrosion resistance, and the ability to withstand higher pressure than welded tubes. This makes them more suitable in critical applications in harsh environments, but it comes with a price.
StrongerSuperior corrosion resistanceHigher pressure resistanceApplications
Oil and gas control linesChemical injection linesBelow sea safety valvesChemical processing plant steam and heat trace bundlesFluid and gas transferWelded TubingWelded tubing is generally less expensive than seamless tubing due to the simpler manufacturing process in creating welded tubing. It is also readily available, like seamless tubing, in long continuous lengths. Standard sizes can be produced with similar lead times for both welded and seamless tubing. Seamless tubing costs can be offset in smaller manufacturing runs if less quantity is required. Otherwise, though custom sized seamless tubing can be produced and delivered more quickly, it is more costly.
Cost-efficientReadily available in long lengthsFast lead timesApplications
Architectural applicationsHypodermic needlesAutomotive industryFood and beverage industryMarine industryPharmaceutical industryCosts of Welded vs SeamlessCosts of seamless and welded tubing are also related to such properties as strength and durability. Welded tubing’s easier manufacturing process can produce larger diameter tubing with thinner wall sizes for less. Such properties are more difficult to produce in seamless tubing. On the other hand, heavy walls can be achieved more easily with seamless tubing. Seamless tubing is often preferred for heavy wall tubing applications that require or can withstand high pressure or perform in extreme environments.
A number of factors combine to make stainless steel tubing an excellent choice for structural applications in industries ranging from automotive and aerospace to medical and marine. If you’re still unsure which tubing is best for your application, as a point of reference, though seamless tubing can be substituted for welded tubing, welded tubing can never be substituted for seamless tubing.