PEMA technology facilitating adaptation to green transformation

Energy and material efficient technologies : PEMA technology facilitating adaptation to green transformation

Instead of a global trend, the green transition and energy self-sufficiency is becoming the new normal. Companies, individuals, and nations are in search of better and more sustainable ways to generate energy. As a result, many different sectors have launched R&D and innovation initiatives for sustainable solutions. Pemamek contributes to the change and helps its customers to adapt to the transformation by providing energy and material-efficient technologies and solutions.

The recent global turbulences have boosted the urge to become energy self-sufficient. As an example, the EU has taken a fast-track approach to become more independent in renewable energy. Currently, the most preferred sustainable energy resources are wind and solar power, hydropower and nuclear energy, and biogas.
Amid the rapid transformations, the demand for modern technology has increased. Hence, Pemamek has developed energy and material-efficient technologies to contribute to the green transition, and above all, to enable an easy adaptation for its customers. The core strength of working with Pemamek is that the PEMA solutions and services help customers start from the very early phases of the projects by layout engineering, capacity calculations, and machinery selection. PEMA technology and solutions represent high-quality, the robust Finnish manufacturing.

Technological innovations to generate power

Power-to-X (P2X) is a technological breakthrough where materials to produce fuels, such as hydrogen, ammonia, or methane can be produced from the surplus power for example from solar or wind power.

“The challenge many countries are facing is the energy storage. It is a global issue. Wind and solar power are produced sometimes even more than can be used. This is visible for example in the electricity production and consumption statistics. The challenge is how to store this energy and how to use it later, during those times it’s not generated,” tells Joonas Arola, Director of Power Generation Sales & Development at Pemamek.

Both hydrogen and synthetic natural gas are stored in thick tanks and because of the flammable nature of the substances, the manufacturing quality of the tanks must be flawless. The challenge in producing hydrogen tanks is that there are challenging welds and large variations in groove geometries. Often the weld grooves are made too big and therefore there are unnecessary welds resulting in bad quality, inefficiency, and excess use of raw material.
PEMA welding automation solution for producing hydrogen tanks consists of a milling machine and a long stick-out welding process with single or multiple welding heads. The in-house designed software tool, WeldControl 500, for programming and controlling the process makes the welding process both adaptive and automated saving time and resources.

A modern way to approach thick materials is using semi-narrow gap grooves and long-stick-out SAW process combined with PEMA WeödControl 500 software.

LSO (Long-stick out), asymmetric vs. semi-narrow

The right technology can enable energy and material-efficient production. A challenge in wind tower production is that to produce big wind towers two to three smaller plates need to be joined together to create one large plate. To complete the process multiple welding passes are needed. With a traditional asymmetric x-bevel, the cross-section area is twice as big compared to a modern semi-narrow bevel. This means that also welding time increases and more filling material is needed.

A solution is to weld with narrow or semi-narrow grooves which save both time, resources, and energy and result in high quality and safety. The long-stick-out process by Pemamek is suitable for heavy tubular production, such as offshore wind towers and foundations. It radically increases the deposition rate compared to the tandem process, also the wire feed speed increases due to longer stick-out and pre-heated wire.

The growing role of offshore wind energy

Offshore wind energy is constantly growing globally. For example, Europe has the potential to realize up to 3,400 TWh of offshore wind energy in 2030. Also, on the coasts of the United States and Canada, there is a tremendous opportunity for the monopile and floating fabricators. The year 2020 was the second-highest year for Offshore Wind installations globally. The global focus and investment in implementing clean energy policies and technologies are inevitable.

The trend is towards bigger monopile foundations, larger wind towers, and floating wind farms. Soon monopiles with 15 m diameters and 120 m lengths will be a reality and most of them are built far out to the seashore. It can be a challenge to find the right design, material, and methods to produce the heavy giants. To keep up with the pace, Pemamek’s automated multi-layer welding technologies help to significantly increase manufacturing productivity.

“With new technology being developed it is possible to put the towers far from the shore but at the same time, it also requires a lot from the structures, the welders, and the equipment. The foundations for floating structures are similar to the technical structures that are used in submarines, shipbuilding, oil rigs, and wind tower manufacturing. By combining different PEMA welding automation solutions it’s possible to build these huge structures with the preciseness that is needed,” tells Juhani Tuomola, Wind Energy Application Engineer at Pemamek.

PEMA WeldControl 500 software system has been created to control automated multi-pass welding and adaptive filling functions. The aim is that the operator becomes more of an observer. This results in multiple welds that can be performed simultaneously, and everything is controlled from one station with one software.

“One of the most efficient ways to weld with the PEMA platform and multiple joints simultaneously is with a tandem long stick-out process combined with PEMA Weldcontrol 500 software. PEMA technology and software go hand in hand with heavy material handling solutions such as roller beds and assembly stations. Thanks to the integrated solutions, the improvements in the production are significant and high quality and high performance are guaranteed,” tells Tuomola

What is the role of nuclear power?

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A controversial and extremely debated area is nuclear energy. It represents a low-carbon energy source since CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants over their life cycle are comparable to those from renewable energy sources. However, nuclear power has other environmental impacts, for example, radioactive waste disposal and the consequences of a nuclear accident, which makes it debatable.

“Nuclear power has had its ups and downs but now it is clear that this type of steady energy source is needed to stabilize the grid in the era of CO2 friendly but a bit unsteady energy production. There are a lot of discussions going on globally and the public opinion in many countries is becoming pro-nuclear again,” says Arola.

As a solution for the safety issues regarding nuclear power, the market has brought us the SMRs which indicate small modular reactors. The advantage of smaller nuclear power plants is their natural safety – no electrical supplies or pumps are required to cool the reactor following an incident. Natural convection and gravity coolant feed take care of that.

Pemamek has worked together with leading manufacturers for decades and has wide experience in the engineering of manufacturing facilities and single solutions. Thick steel is widely used across power generation industries, such as wind energy and process sectors.

Pemamek has a full welding solution package, including machinery, control system, and welding process, that are designed specifically for manufacturers that work with narrow gaps in thick materials. Even preheating systems can be integrated into the solution.  The core idea is that automated welding boosts production efficiency, minimizes defect rate, and improves heat-control management.

“We have been working together with nuclear component manufacturers for a long time and developed solutions to improve the production of our customers. Now we see that the demand for these types of solutions is increasing. One good example is the robotized SAW welding project for nuclear reactor nozzles we delivered a few years ago. We are also open to discussing new manufacturing methods in the very early stages of the projects in order to develop the best and most feasible manufacturing concept together”, Arola summarizes.

Learn more about PEMA Nozzle welding station.

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