Construction of pipeline infrastructure projects has experienced a large increase over the past years, powered by the rise of demand for natural gases as alternative energy. Pipelines are sometimes built in remote regions and face diverse environmental conditions, so they must have high-strength materials and the best possible quality.

Most projects use induction bends in their structure, because of the advantages they have over other bending methods. To further comprehend the process details, it’s important to understand what induction bending is.

What is induction bending?

The process of induction bending, done at shops like Baines Drilling, is a technique where the metal is locally heated using magnetic induction, making the bending easier, reducing distortions and obtaining a smaller curve radius than when using cold bending.

The parameters utilised in the process must be precise, since the high temperatures and the temperature gradient generated by the heating will affect the microstructure of the material. This may cause the need for further heat treatment.

Induction bending allows significant gains when it comes to both quality and savings, because it reduces the amount of necessary welded elbows. It’s largely used in many industries such as petrochemical, chemical, naval and civil construction.

Induction bends in pipeline construction

In the pipeline construction industry, induction bends, also called “hot bends” are usually preferred over cold bends. Cold bending techniques require a larger area than what is usually available in this cases, since pipelines sometimes are constructed in sites with irregular terrain or with restricted room such as suburbs and metropolitan areas.

It is a common practice that companies use both long-radius elbows and induction bends when constructing pipelines. Induction bends come in standard angles, but can also be custom made to fit projects that require distinct characteristics.

Field analysis can indicate the need for specific bend angles, but sometimes it may not be detected prior to construction due to changes in topography. In order to deal with these unexpected changes, companies usually order “segmentable” induction bends and elbows, that can be cut to fit the requirements of the terrain.

“Segmentable” induction bends are also useful in pipeline repair projects. Due to deterioration and sometimes damage caused by climate changes, corrosion and earthquakes, specific parts sometimes need replacement. In these cases, during the repair, pipelines must be inoperative, so there is no time to order and wait for a particular bend angle. That’s why cutting induction bends and elbows can be the best option available.