Development trend of titanium tube in China

Background of titanium industry in China and application of titanium tube

Since 1948, when 2T titanium sponge was produced by magnesium reduction method in the United States, human beings have ushered in the era of titanium industry. Although the real industrialization began in the 1950s, titanium materials have been widely concerned by virtue of its light weight, high strength, corrosion resistance, low thermal conductivity, good high temperature resistance, weldability, non magnetism, good biocompatibility and many other excellent characteristics. However, due to its high production The production cost hinders the wide use of titanium in the industrial field. In recent years, with the development of science and technology and the progress of production technology, titanium materials can be processed into various products and applied in many fields. After more than half a century of development, titanium materials have become indispensable materials in aerospace, marine, petrochemical, medical and other industries.

20200210072721 60654 - Development trend of titanium tube in China


Table 1 sales volume of China’s titanium processing materials in different fields in 2013: t

Chemical
Industry
Aerospace
Shipping
Metallurgy Electric Power Medicine Salt Making Oceanographic Engineering Sports Others
Total 21,778 4,666 352 2,631 5,706 538 1,676 880 2,151 91
Proportion (%) 52.77 11.31 0.86 6.38 13.83 1.30 4.06 2.13 5.21 2.15

From the data in Table 1, it can be seen that the chemical industry is still the industry with the largest proportion of titanium consumption market in China [1]. However, with the continuous development of economy, the demand of other industries for titanium materials will also increase.
At present, the petrochemical industry and other industries have higher requirements for the corrosion resistance of materials. Titanium tube is widely used in petrochemical industry and marine engineering due to its good corrosion resistance and processing performance. According to the current situation of titanium and titanium alloy pipe production technology, the major international companies engaged in titanium product production focus on their own technical level and equipment, while the Chinese titanium pipe production enterprises are almost the same. Although China’s welded pipe plants have been put into production and the output of welded pipe has increased year by year, the main domestic pipe production plants still focus on seamless pipe production, and the market application is also based on seamless pipe production mainly.
At present, China’s average annual output of titanium processing materials has reached 50000 tons, of which the demand for titanium tubes is relatively stable.

Production technology and product characteristics of titanium seamless tube in China

Because the properties of pure titanium are similar to those of ordinary steel, the production process of titanium pipe is similar to that of steel pipe to a great extent, and the application of titanium pipe has always been to replace steel pipe. But the application of titanium tube has been restricted by the cost. In recent years, with the change of market and the increase of titanium manufacturers, the price of titanium tube has been gradually reduced, and the economic applicability of titanium tube has been gradually recognized, which makes the application of tube further expanded.
Titanium pipe is mainly divided into seamless pipe and welded pipe. At present, the cold rolling vacuum annealing process is widely used in the production of titanium seamless tube in the market. The tube blank is made from titanium ingot through forging bar blank, and the tube blank is finally made into titanium tube after multiple passes of rolling and annealing process. There are two manufacturing processes in the production of tube blank, one is drilling and extruding, which consumes a lot of titanium and has a uniform wall thickness. Choosing appropriate glass lubricant is the key to the extrusion process, and it needs a large tonnage extruder with a large investment in equipment. The other is the way of oblique rolling and perforating, which is commonly used in the production of steel tube. Titanium is used in this way The metal consumption is small, the thickness tolerance of tube blank is a little large, sometimes the phenomenon of impenetrable is appeared in the process of piercing, and the plug is stuck in the blank, which is a technical problem worth studying in the current production technology.
Although the processing technology of titanium alloy seamless tube is relatively mature, due to the limitations of existing equipment, at present, the titanium tube is mainly made of low strength, low alloyed pure titanium, titanium molybdenum nickel and other low strength titanium tubes, and the processing technology is still mainly cold rolling. For the production of medium and high strength titanium alloy pipes, such as Ti6Al4V pipes, warm rolling technology is needed, that is, induction heating device is installed on the pipe rolling machine. It can be seen that in the future, with the large-scale equipment, the auxiliary equipment is gradually improved, and the technology is constantly optimized, large-scale seamless pipes and some alloy pipes will be mass produced and widely used.
The existing production process of titanium seamless pipe is mature and the product supply is stable, but for the pipe with special requirements, the production of titanium seamless pipe is difficult, such as titanium and titanium alloy thin-walled pipe, ultra long titanium pipe with a length of more than 14m; at the same time, the production of titanium seamless pipe needs more tools and abrasives, and the equipment is complex, resulting in limited production capacity and long production cycle of manufacturers, which can not meet the market demand for thin-walled pipe There is a large demand for ultra long and low cost pipes.

Production process and product characteristics of titanium welded pipe in China

Based on the shortcomings of the above-mentioned titanium seamless pipe, titanium welded pipe came into being. At present, the international large-scale titanium welded pipe companies include Japanese steel company and Kobe Steel Company, French valtimet company, Russian vsmpo company, etc. In the mid-1980s, Baoji Nonferrous Metal processing plant introduced titanium welded pipe production line from the United States. From then on, it ended the history that China could not produce titanium welded pipe. The main factor restricting the development of titanium welded pipe in China is the poor production technology of titanium strip. Until 2005, initiated by BaoTi Co., Ltd., supported by French valtimet company and supplied by American timet company, the three companies jointly funded the establishment of Xi’an BaoTi Meite Farino Welded Pipe Co., Ltd. and established two fully automatic welded pipe production lines with estimated advanced level. The company has become a leading domestic titanium welded pipe enterprise. In recent years, with the development of China’s electric power industry, there will be 2000 MW all titanium condenser unit put into operation every year. The all titanium condenser needs to be installed with 25.4 mm x 0.5 mm and 25.4 mm x 0.7 mm titanium tubes. This part of titanium tubes basically uses titanium welded tubes. In the face of a large number of market demands, it is urgent to solve the technical problems in the production of titanium coils in China.
As a relatively unique titanium pipe product, the production process of titanium welded pipe is formed by cold-rolled titanium coil supporting the pipe shape and welding with tungsten inert gas protection. Due to its excellent corrosion resistance to seawater, titanium welded pipes have gradually replaced stainless steel and copper alloy pipes as the preferred materials for condensers and heat exchangers since the products were put into the market. Therefore, titanium welded pipes are widely used in coastal power stations, seawater desalination, sea oil and other condensers and heat exchangers that need seawater as the cooling medium. Compared with the titanium seamless pipe, the titanium welded pipe can be used to manufacture the pipe with thinner wall thickness, which can reach 0.3mm-0.5mm, while the minimum wall thickness of the titanium seamless pipe is about 0.9mm; at the same time, the titanium welded pipe has high utilization rate of raw materials, high production efficiency and good economic benefits.
In developed countries, welded pipe in condenser and condenser of Binhai power station and nuclear power station gradually replaces titanium thin-walled seamless pipe. There are many studies on the comparison of expansion performance, pressure resistance performance and fatigue resistance performance between titanium welded pipe and seamless pipe. The results show that the current welding quality of welded pipe can meet the harsh use environment [2,3]. Due to the low yield, long production cycle and high cost of seamless pipe, while the production process of pure titanium welded pipe is short, the production cost is low and the production efficiency is high, vigorously developing welded pipe is a development trend.
It can be seen from table 2 that titanium is more resistant to seawater corrosion than any other metal, i.e. zero corrosion, which is inferior to that of all other metals. At the same time, titanium has the best resistance to water impact corrosion, and the water speed is not limited. Therefore, titanium tube coolers are particularly suitable for power plants that want to use seawater for direct cooling.
Table 2 Comparison of seawater corrosion resistance of different metals

Metal

Total Immersion Corrosion Rate(mm/Year)

Corrosion Rate of Immersion Zone(mm/Year)

Impact Corrosion Resistance

Average

Maximum

Average

Maximum

 

Cu

0.04

0.08

0.02

0.18

Inferior

90Cu10Zn

0.04

0.05

0.03

 

Not Good

70Cu30Zn

0.05

0.1

 

 

Preferably

22Zn2Al0.02As

0.02

0.18

 

 

Good

7%Al2%Si

0.03

0.08

0.01

0.05

Good

BFe30-1-1

0.008

0.03

0.05

0.3

Excellent

Ti

0

0

0

0

Excellent

With the stable supply of titanium tape, the cost of titanium welded pipe is further reduced and the competition is more fierce. Some data show that since 2008, the expansion of titanium sponge production capacity has accelerated the construction of China’s titanium belt production line. Stimulated by the rapid change of titanium belt material supply situation and the expectation of China’s nuclear power construction plan, a strong investment boom of titanium welded pipe production line has been set off in Mainland China since 2008. According to incomplete statistics, more than 50 production lines have been built in succession, with a capacity of more than 12000 tons. Customs data show that China imported 3032 tons of titanium welded pipe in 2010, but with the outbreak of the financial crisis and the Fukushima nuclear accident, the welded pipe market entered a cold winter [4]. In 2011, China imported only 2300 tons of welded pipes [5]. At present, the quality of domestic titanium welded pipe needs to be improved, and the market prospect is broad. It can be predicted that the cost advantage of titanium welded pipe will promote the replacement of titanium welded pipe in the future.

Development prospect of other titanium tubes

Production and development of large diameter hot extrusion titanium alloy pipe

With the development of economy, the pace of oil and gas drilling and production is accelerated, and the demand for large-diameter titanium alloy tube hot extrusion tubes used in oil wells, geothermal and natural gas well pipelines is also increasing. At present, the United States uses (48-610) mmx26mmx2600mm Ti6Al4V Ru alloy pipes as geothermal and offshore drilling pipelines. The 650mmx (22-25) mmx350000mm ultra long ti3al2.5v-ru alloy pipes produced by RMI company of the United States are used for subsea oil production. The standpipe of drilling support platform in Norway’s North sea uses 600mmx25mmx15000 mm Ti6Al4V Eli alloy pipe; Russian companies will produce alloy pipes containing Pd, Ru and Ti6Al4V alloy pipes for oil exploitation [6]. China is basically blank in the production of large-diameter hot extrusion titanium alloy tubes, and has lost market share.
At present, large-scale titanium alloy tubes are produced by hot extrusion method in foreign countries, with mature technology. The key lies in whether there are large-scale extruders and efficient lubricants. Companies in the United States and Russia are equipped with 20000T extruders, while the extruders of Renault company in the United States are 27000t, and the production of large-diameter titanium alloy extrusion tubes in the United States ranks the leading level in the world. At present, China has been able to manufacture 10000t extruder, which creates conditions for the production of titanium alloy extrusion tube with larger diameter. Efficient lubricant can effectively reduce die loss, improve product quality, and further reduce the production cost of pipe products.
Titanium suppliers should strengthen the contact with offshore equipment manufacturers, further promote the application and development of titanium heat exchangers, pipes, valves, fasteners and other products in offshore oil exploitation, ships and desalination; on the other hand, further reduce costs, solve technical difficulties and continuously launch new products through innovation and technological upgrading.
Basically, China has not carried out systematic research on marine engineering, and there is a big gap between China and developed countries.

Production and development of titanium tube

In the world, the research and development process of titanium tubes is relatively slow. Only American companies use extrusion and drawing methods to produce titanium tubes of square, rectangle, triangle, ellipse and other shapes, becoming the only company in the world to produce titanium tubes. Due to the characteristics of titanium alloy forming at room temperature, such as significant anisotropy, large deformation resistance, poor plasticity, limited elongation, difficult forming and significant rebound [7-8], the bending process of titanium material is very complex, which limits the development of titanium tube. At present, the application of titanium tube is not wide enough and the consumption is not much, but in the field of construction, sports and special engineering, the market potential is large. China should also increase the research and development of titanium tube technology.

Conclusion

On the one hand, with the technical transformation and upgrading of titanium sponge plant, the efficiency is further improved, and the cost of titanium sponge will also be reduced, which directly leads to the cost reduction of titanium processing materials, and promotes the market application of titanium materials. On the other hand, with the further improvement of the residual titanium recovery production line, the cost of titanium materials will also be reduced. Compared with other materials, the price of titanium pipes will be more competitive.
In the production of titanium pipe, the pipe mill of the manufacturer is gradually upgraded, and the specification of titanium pipe will be further expanded. Titanium tube size accuracy and product quality will be further improved, and more characteristic products will be produced to meet the needs of different industries. At the same time, at present, the concentration of titanium industry is not high, so manufacturers should gradually carry out equipment transformation and upgrading based on the existing equipment, actively seek cooperation, expand product specifications and develop new products by using large-scale equipment through cooperation with large-scale steel plants.

In terms of titanium welded pipe, with the establishment of titanium strip production line, the improvement of titanium strip production process and the steady improvement of strip product quality, the production cost of titanium welded pipe itself will be reduced and the price will be stable; with the improvement of titanium tube welding quality, the market share of titanium welded pipe will be further expanded and the use of titanium seamless pipe will be gradually replaced.

Source: China Titanium Tube Manufacturer – Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited (www.steeljrv.com)

(Yaang Pipe Industry is a leading manufacturer and supplier of nickel alloy and stainless steel products, including Super Duplex Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings, Stainless Steel Pipe. Yaang products are widely used in Shipbuilding, Nuclear power, Marine engineering, Petroleum, Chemical, Mining, Sewage treatment, Natural gas and Pressure vessels and other industries.)

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Reference:

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  • [2] Liu Yinqi, Jia Xiangya, Cao Heng, Ma Hongjian, Zhang Dongdong, Meng Na. Performance Research of thin-walled pure titanium welded pipe [J]. Material development and application, 2013 (4): 1-5
  • [3] Jia Xiangya, Li Deyu, Liu Yinqi. Study on the application performance of welded titanium pipe instead of seamless titanium pipe [J]. Material development and application, 2014 (8): 40-42
  • [4] Li Changjiang. Analysis of the development status of China’s titanium welded pipe industry [J]. Progress of titanium industry, 2013 (1): 5-7
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  • [7]Richard W Davies, Mohammad A Khaleel, William C Kinsel,et al.Anisotropic yield locus evolution during cold pilge ring of titanium alloy tubing [ J]. Journal of Engineering Materials and Technology, 2002 .124(2):125-134
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development trend of titanium tube in china - Development trend of titanium tube in China
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Development trend of titanium tube in China
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Titanium tube is widely used in petrochemical industry and marine engineering due to its good corrosion resistance and processing performance.
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