Steinmüller Africa’s specialised explosive welding benefits industries across South Africa

Explosive welding presents optimal fabrication, maintenance and repair solutions for high-pressure vessels. With an almost naked-to-the-eye explosive process, this weld occurs at a speed of more than 8000 m/s and forms a permanent bond that delivers a host of benefits in comparison to other welding methods. Steinmüller Africa has offered explosive welding since 2012 and is the only company licenced and qualified to perform this, both on-site or off-site, for customers in the power generation, petrochemical, steel, paper, pulp and sugar and nuclear industries.

Explosive welding from Steinmüller Africa is a time-saving and cost-efficient method in comparison to other welding methods, as: 

  • Any combination of metals can be welded together, despite their dissimilarities.
  • The detonation is completed within milliseconds, reducing welding time. 
  • During the detonation, the oxides between the metal layers are removed, resulting in a weld that has a true metallurgical bond.
  • It requires one weld where conventional welding requires two.
  • The bond does not require post-weld heat treatment.
  • Welds are unaffected by thermal cycling which is crucial for high-pressure equipment.
  • It prevents 99% of leakages, reducing the need for repair and maintenance. 

Steinmüller Africa is currently the only company who performs tube to tube-sheet explosive welding and explosive tube plugging. Explosive tube plugging is a more specialised type of explosive welding, this is when a specialised plug is inserted in a tubesheet or header-type and then explosively welded to form a permanent plug for that tube. Steinmüller Africa also offers 24-hour standby services for explosive tube plugging.

Explosive welding and explosive tube plugging are most suitable for high-pressure machinery (e,g, shell, tube, header- and tubesheet-type heat exchangers) to accommodate the high pressures they withhold and prevent cracks that may lead to downtime, injuries or even death. 

Steinmüller’s explosive welding services are increasingly in demand for the maintenance of high-pressure heat exchangers at power stations, where equipment with extensive tube structures requires plugging or welding during refurbishments. “Steinmüller is the exclusive explosive welding provider for several power stations as we are the only licensed and qualified company to perform explosive welding for the power generation sector,” says FriedrichSchwim, Senior Welding Engineer, Steinmüller Africa. 

With a 30 000mfacility in Pretoria, one-of-a-kind specialised machinery and a fully-fledged engineering team, Steinmüller Africa offers customers comprehensive service. The company continues to be at the forefront of this technology and is currently developing two new welding processes and four new welding machines that will be launched in the foreseeable future.


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