The Welding Institute


  • 17 Mar 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Our Materials Technical Group will be hosting their first online Technical Group of the year, from 9:30am – 1:00pm (UK time) on 4 April 2023.

    The event, which is titled, ‘Aluminium and Aluminium Alloys - Metallurgy, Properties, Fabrication and Applications’ will provide an overview of alloy developments - covering their metallurgy, properties and applications, and providing a strategic insight into the significance of these materials.

    Who Should Attend?

    Engineers, Technicians, Project Managers, Consultants, Metallurgists, Materials Scientists, Researchers and Students

    Speakers and Presentations:

    • Jan Lukaszewski, Technical Manager, ALFED - Understanding and Selecting the Correct Aluminium Alloy
    • Gene Mathers, Consultant - Weldability of Aluminium
    • Mike Gittos, Technology Fellow, TWI Ltd - Aluminium Alloy Weld Metallurgical Case Study
    • Jonathan Martin - Section Manager, TWI Ltd - Friction Stir Welding of Aluminium Alloys


  • 16 Mar 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Mr Vipin George IEng, FCMI, CMgr, CMSS, CQA has achieved a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and has 22 years of experience in oil and gas upstream and EPC.

    Currently as a ‘Solopreneur’ with his SME, ‘VGQAE FZE’ in the UAE, he has a contract with the API (American Petroleum Institute, USA) for “Consulting Services for Auditing for APIQR/Monogram Programs.”

    Vipin joined The Welding Institute as a Professional Member in December 2014 after being certified as CSWIP Welding Quality Control Coordinator. He tells us his journey through engineering and how being a MWeldI Member has aided him in his career!

    Engineering and Career Background 

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    When I was young, I was fascinated by science and mechanical engineering as an evergreen field, and how it can help you adjust to any domain within industry. My background is quality and hence I am more into industry domains such as oil and gas, Industry 4.0 such as SMART manufacturing, and welding. Quality is my passion and I contribute individually and to organisations to make process improvements through my work. Quality in context is a broad domain, and specific areas I have interest in include quality assurance and quality control, welding, coatings and manufacturing. I have been a lifelong learner and therefore any areas where I can flex my mind and contribute to problem solving is of interest.

    What’s one of your biggest career highlights or achievements that you’re most proud of?

    I’m proud of my professional achievements such as being an Incorporated Engineer with the Engineering Council and The Welding Institute, becoming a Certified Quality Auditor with ASQ, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Certified Management System Specialist and a speaker at the Auditor Expo Forum with Exemplar Global USA, and now a Lead Auditor with the American Petroleum Institute USA.

    I believe in continuous professional development and professional membership has boosted my confidence level. From being a shy introvert to gaining such professional recognition in my journey, with God’s amazing grace, it gave me a new persona.

    What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome this?

    There have been many challenges in my 22-year long career; however, I remember one distinct challenge in carrying out weld repair of a cladded dish, which had excessive pitting. The base material was clad bonded with carbon and ferrite steel. Consequently, this made the selection of welding consumable a challenge as well as maintaining the customer requirement of ferrite content. We used advanced NDT techniques such as PAUT and TOFD to identify any cracks after depositing the repaired welds. After conducting trials and iterations, we could finally see that the customer was happy as we overcame the problem through application of engineering codes and best practices.

    Another challenge was that I was tasked with setting up EN 1090-1 and ISO 3834 execution class II certification. The challenge I was posed with was that this company did not have an existing QMS and hence developing QMS and realigning procedures and process to meet EN 1090-1 and ISO 3834 was difficult. I developed a welding quality manual, including welding procedures as per EN 15614 and fabrication process control procedures. My Incorporated Engineering certification helped me to qualify as a Responsible Welding Coordinator as per the criteria set by the notified body as per EN regulations. With the application of engineering codes and standards and aligning QMS processes to meet product conformity, awareness training of employees led to getting the execution class II certification for the company.

    Early Professional Membership

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    TWI is a known training provider for welding and engineering and so I registered with The Welding Institute after attaining the CSWIP Welding Quality coordinator certification. I was looking for further enhancement of my overall portfolio and hence I applied for the incorporated engineer route.

    Professional Registration and Membership

    What is your professional registration title/grade?

    I am an Incorporated Engineer (IEng).

    When and why did you choose to become professionally registered?

    I became an Incorporated Engineer on the 29 January 2015.

    The Engineering Council is a widely known professional body and, since I was a CSWIP Welding Quality Control coordinator, I thought the next step in my career would be professional recognition and that’s how I got in touch with The Welding Institute.

    How has Professional Registration with the Engineering Council supported you in your career?

    Professional registration always helps you to distinctively standout and has consequently helped me on my next qualification as a Chartered Manager. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) ensures continual improvement and now I’m also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

    How has Professional Membership as MWeldI supported you in your career?

    My professional membership helped me to become a Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC) with my previous employers and I also met their Notified Bodies’ RWC criteria, even though I was not an IWE/IWT.

    Current Membership

    What membership benefits do you use the most and find the most helpful and why?

    The job knowledge and weld-search sections are useful as well as the webinars.

    Future (Membership and Career)

    What are your engineering aspirations?

    My current aspiration is to be a subject matter expert in quality. I would like to learn new concepts in plastic piping inspection/composites, which is widely used in the oil and gas industry these days, however, less guidelines are available on how this can be achieved. With Industry 4.0 and 5.0 and The Welding Institute’s 100 years of experience in the welding industry, it can help shape the future generation.

    Would you recommend Membership with The Welding Institute and why?

    Membership with The Institute as a professional is useful to enhance your knowledge as you have access to the library. My Incorporated Engineer certification has helped me on my CPD to achieve other industry accolades and I am still learning.

    What advice would you give or what would you say to your younger self beginning your career in engineering?

    Invest yourself in enhancing your knowledge by joining such membership bodies where you have access to case studies, membership newsletters/magazines and journals, and volunteering opportunities, which will broaden your existing skills and experience.

  • 9 Mar 2023 10:30 AM | Anonymous

    In celebration of The Welding Institute’s 100 year anniversary, we interviewed TWI Technology Fellow Eur Ing Charles Schneider MA CEng FInstNDT MWeldI to find out more about his appointment as a TWI Technology Fellow, in 2015, and how his Membership, since 2007, with The Welding Institute has supported his career.

    Engineering and Career Background

    Achieving an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Oxford University in 1984, Eur Ing Charles Schneider MA CEng FInstNDT MWeldI later joined TWI in 1997 and currently works in the Non-destructive Evaluation (NDE) Group with his main responsibilities including:

    • Assessment of NDE reliability
    • Inspection qualification / performance demonstration
    • NDE input to Engineering Critical Assessment (e.g. for BS 7910)
    • Statistical analysis (across TWI)

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    I originally joined the Central Electricity Generating Board because I wanted to use my mathematical skills to solve practical problems. During my 11 years with the power industry, I very much focussed on the development and application of theoretical models of ultrasonic testing, mostly for the nuclear sector. Joining TWI brought me into contact with other inspection methods and with other engineering disciplines, e.g. structural assessment and welding engineering. This naturally led me to apply my skills more broadly, e.g:

    • Developing statistical models for the reliability of other NDE methods
    • Developing TWI’s Best Practice Guide on the statistical analysis of fatigue data
    • Providing advice on NDE input to structural assessment
    • Inspection qualification
    • Use of statistical methods to extrapolate corrosion mapping data both in time and to uninspected regions of large plant items

    Early Professional Membership

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    My manager at TWI recommended that I become a Professional Member during my annual appraisal. I was already a Professional Member of an Institute in my specialist area, but I felt that becoming a Professional Member of The Welding Institute would further strengthen my CV and would allow me to network with welding professionals.

    Tell us a bit about the process of becoming a Member of The Welding Institute:

    When I became a Professional Member, my career was already well-established and I was already CEng registered. The application was therefore relatively straightforward, simply based on the application form, an extended CV, training report, organogram and a list of my publications (authenticated as necessary).

    Professional Registration

    Are you professionally registered?


    • Chartered Engineer (CEng) – 2003
    • European Engineer (EurIng) – 2004

    What was the process of achieving Professional Registration like and why did you choose to become professionally registered?

    Again, my manager at TWI recommended that I become professionally registered during an annual appraisal. I also felt that this would strengthen my CV and widen the range of TWI contract work that I could undertake.

    My career was already well-established when I applied for Professional Registration, so I followed a ‘mature candidate’ route, which was relatively straightforward, i.e. application form and interview. The interview process helped me understand the Engineering Council competences and what type of evidence is needed to demonstrate them. This insight helped me later in my career when, in turn, I became a mentor for other CEng applicants.

    Current Membership

    How has professional membership/registration helped you throughout your career?

    Some tender processes require CEng or equivalent. It also helps in demonstrating professional credibility, e.g. it can help in securing contract work as an expert witness in litigation cases.

    What are your core involvements with The Welding Institute, what do they entail and why do you undertake them?

    • I often attend Branch meetings, Technical Group meetings and technical webinars
    • I have delivered presentations at various Welding Institute events, e.g. at Structural Integrity, Offshore Oil and Gas, Pressure and Process Plant, and Welding Processes Technical Group meetings
    • I have published several technical papers in TWI’s Bulletin journal
    • I am a registered mentor with IMechE’s Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS)
    • I have been a mentor to a number of TWI staff, either through MPDS or more informally, e.g. as agreed through TWI’s appraisal system

    What membership benefits do you use the most and find the most helpful and why?

    Branch meetings, Technical Group meetings and technical webinars provide opportunities for professional networking with people outside my own specialism who I might not otherwise meet. These events also help in gaining a broader appreciation of different technical areas.

    TWI Technology Fellowship

    As a TWI Technology Fellow, you were selected by TWI’s Executive Team due to you having “made significant impact through technical excellence, expertise and knowledge transfer, and commitment to the development and coaching of colleagues.”

    How do you think your TWI Technology Fellowship and Professional Membership of The Welding Institute have aided one another?

    Professional Membership status is one of the criteria used by TWI when selecting Technology Fellows.

    TWI expects Technology Fellows to demonstrate commitment to their own continued professional development – one of the ways I do this is through involvement in Professional Membership activities, e.g. Branch meetings, Technical Group meetings, technical webinars.

    TWI also expects Technology Fellows to demonstrate commitment to, and track record in, the development and coaching of colleagues working in their area of expertise – one of the ways I do this is to encourage and support my mentees in applying for Professional Membership of The Welding Institute and Professional Registration (CEng).

    Future (Membership and Career)

    What are your engineering aspirations?

    • An important focus for me now is to pass on my knowledge and experience to others as I approach retirement, e.g. through on-the-job coaching/mentoring
    • Advise on strategy for inspection/qualification issues for new nuclear build
    • Persuade ASME to allow eddy current array testing in lieu of existing methods for surface examination, thereby reducing inspection time/cost for new nuclear build
    • Provide improved inputs on inspection reliability for TWI’s probabilistic assessments of structural integrity

    Would you recommend Membership with The Welding Institute?

    Yes, based on all the reasons highlighted before.

    What advice would you give or what would you say to your younger self beginning your career in engineering?

    • Seek out opportunities to exchange ideas with engineers you haven’t met before or those outside your immediate team; new ideas often result from meeting new people
    • Similarly, seek out cross-disciplinary projects; most customers place value on a holistic approach (one-stop shop)

  • 7 Mar 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Our Polymers and Composites Technical Group will be hosting their first online Technical Group event of the year, from 9:30am – 12:30pm (UK time) on the 30 March 2023.

    The event, which is titled, ‘Polymers and Composites in Oil and Gas and Energy Transition Applications’ will explore the diverse range of applications that use polymers and composites and why these special materials are selected. It will provide insight into the range of fluids and the harsh environments in which they must endure and perform reliably.

    The webinar will also touch on some recent developments, and how polymers and composites can play a role as we transition from traditional oil and gas to a cleaner hydrogen economy.

    Who Should Attend?

    Anyone who is interested in learning about how and why polymers and composites are used in oil, gas and energy transition applications.

    Speakers and Presentations:

    • Phil Berry, General Manager - Market Development, Future Pipe Industries (FPi) - 'Scale and diversity of composite pipes'
    • Dr Abderrazak Traïdia, Science Specialist and R&D Programme Lead, Aramco - 'Success and barriers to polymers and composites in O&G applications'
    • Dr Ramin Moslemian, Principal Consultant, Energy Systems, Offshore Infrastructures, DNV - 'Polymers and composites in the hydrogen economy'
    • Dr Bernadette Craster, Technology Fellow, TWI Ltd - 'The harsh environments that polymers and composites can endure'


  • 2 Mar 2023 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    As part of the 100 years anniversary celebrations, we are revisiting parts of our century long history – including an artefact from the early days of the Institute!

    71 years ago, in 1952, former wartime Minister for Food, Lord Woolton opened a new Fatigue Testing Laboratory at TWI’s Abington site.

    Lord Woolton used a ceremonial gavel to open the laboratory and it was this distinctive piece of history that was returned to The Welding Institute by David Natzler, who was passed the small wooden hammer by his friend.

    David’s father, Pierre Natzler, had been involved in welding all his life and had relations with The Welding Institute. Therefore, David kindly decided to honour his father by bequeathing the gavel to The Institute.

    The gavel includes an inscription on a silver plate which reads, “British Welding Research Association Used by the Rt Hon Lord Woolton P.C. C.H. to open the Fatigue Testing Laboratory at Abington – 23rd June 1952.

    A Unique Build

    The fatigue laboratory was built specifically to house a large Lösenhausen fatigue machine, with a 5 ton crane being brought in to help with the installation. The 200 tonne machine was the largest fatigue machine in the world at the time. While the Lösenhausen machine was remarkable for the period, the laboratory structure itself was also ground-breaking.

    The fatigue laboratory was one of the first buildings globally to be built using Plastic Design Theory, which was developed in the 1940s.

    Plastic Design Theory was a original approach to the design of steel-framed structures following research carried out under Cambridge University’s leadership. Professor John Baker carried out the research via a British Welding Research Association Committee on the Load Carrying Capacity of Frame Structures. This led to a 1948 amendment to BS 449, related to ‘The Use of Structural Steel in Building.’ Plastic Design Theory allowed design loads in steel framed structures to be more accurately calculated, and consequently permitted the use of smaller sections for beams and columns, leading to a more economical use of steel. As a result of this, the fracture laboratory was claimed to be 50% lighter than an equivalent conventional structure.

    While the Lösenhausen machine was certainly the catalyst behind the build of the new facility, the laboratory also housed other prominent pieces of equipment, including the ‘Jacks Rig,’ which was built by former TWI Chief Executive Bevan Braithwaite and is still in use today!

    Fatigue Laboratory Work

    The Lösenhausen machine was used frequently on a number of projects in the decades following, including for a programme testing the fatigue properties of joint designs, which led to an innovative new design standard. Leading to aid fatigue based failure in engineering components and structures. 

    The End of an Era

    Fatigue Lab Switch OffAfter 61 years of service, the fatigue laboratory was demolished in 2013, image to the right is of the laboratory being switched off, to make way for the building of new facilities at TWI’s headquarters near Cambridge. While the Jacks Rig was moved into the newly built engineering hall, the Lösenhausen machine was eventually taken out of service and replaced with newer rigs to perform industrial fatigue tests. 

    However, with the return of the gavel that was used to open the original fatigue laboratory, there remains a strong bond to the heritage of The Welding Institute and demonstrates the foundations of the work carried out on fatigue research and expertise.

  • 23 Feb 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Over our 100 year history, The Welding Institute has evolved from a small institution uniting 20 acetylene welders with electric arc welding engineers to now being the leading engineering institution supporting welding and joining professionals.

    A landmark in our history was our appointment as a Professional Engineering Institution, licenced by the Engineering Council. We wanted to take this opportunity to explore our unique relationship with the Engineering Council and, additionally, the importance of this milestone.

    What is the Engineering Council?

    As the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession, the Engineering Council holds national registers for over 228,00 engineers and technicians.

    The internationally recognised standards of professional competence and ethics that govern the award and retention of these titles are set and maintained by the Engineering Council, ensuring employers, government and wider society, both nationally and internationally, can be confident in the knowledge, experience and commitments of those holding professional registration titles.

    What is The Welding Institute’s relationship with the Engineering Council?

    As a professional engineering institution, The Welding Institute was granted licence from the Engineering Council in 1996 to assess candidates for inclusion on the national register of professional engineers and technicians, including the titles:

    Engineering Technician (EngTech) 

    Incorporated Engineer (IEng) 

    Chartered Engineer (CEng)

    With currently over 42.5% of our Members being professionally registered, The Welding Institute continues to work closely with the Engineering Council through professional registration and is licenced to carry out the process for accreditation and approval of educational programmes.

    A key element of the Engineering Council’s role as the regulator for the UK engineering profession is to set and maintain the standards for professional registration. This includes setting the criteria that education programmes must meet to become ‘accredited’ or ‘approved.’ Prospective students, employers and society have the assurance that accredited or approved programmes meet the standards set by the engineering profession.

    Benefits of Professional Registration and Membership with The Welding Institute

    Professional Recognition: professional registration evidences to others that you are competent due to the skills that you have demonstrated to the Engineering Council and, in turn, can lead to professional recognition from peers including employers, employees and clients.

    International recognition: your professional registration status is an internationally recognised title.

    Exposure to career opportunities: our membership benefits, that you gain access to through professional registration, can help you to progress within your career. For example, with our new exclusive Jobsite, which provides access to around 550 trusted companies offering relevant jobs in the welding, joining and allied technologies industries.

    Build new networks: by becoming professionally registered, you join a growing community, enabling you to become connected with peers and colleagues and other likeminded professionals.

    Industry Influence: as a professionally registered engineer or technician, you will be - or will be beginning to - take on responsibilities that support the development of other professionals. The knowledge and experience you gain from this can help you to gain greater influence within your industry.

    Don’t just take our word for it – hear from our Members how it’s supported them:

    “The fact that my experience is peer-reviewed speaks volumes. Not having a full bachelor’s degree could automatically make me exempt from some job roles. However, having IEng status shows that I can still work at that level using my experience.” - Carl Lavis IEng MWeldI IWS/EWS

    "I believe it is important to be acknowledged by my peers; mainly for recognition of competence, commitment and evidence of expertise" - Jade White BSc BEng (Hons) CEng MWeldI EWE/IWE

    Considering Professional Membership and Registration?

    If you’re interested in learning more about professional membership and registration, or beginning your journey to become professionally registered, find out more or speak to our membership team!

  • 16 Feb 2023 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Although TWI Ltd and The Welding Institute are separate entities, there remains a level of cross-over between the two organisations, as demonstrated by Fellow CEng Alan Gifford, who related the story of how he, as a Professional Member, was influential in bringing non-destructive testing needs to the attention of TWI Ltd.

    As part of our centenary celebrations, The Institute reached out to Alan, who was working for Internal Combustion Ltd at the time of this tale, to take up the story for us here:

    "In the mid-1960s we (International Combustion Ltd) had accepted a contract to supply a 140 ton boiler drum in 4.5 inch (110mm) thick low alloy steel for an overseas client who, in turn, had appointed a British inspection body to oversee the manufacture and testing.

    We had, as an error of judgement, also unfortunately accepted a 100% ultrasonic testing procedure of the seams to an exacting ultra-high sensitivity scan.

    The circumferential welds were made by submerged arc welding, with pre-heat of 100°C minimum.

    When the ultrasonic testing was performed under the surveillance of a very diligent inspector, numerous very small inclusions were found.

    The repair of these ‘flaws’ was by excavating a groove up to 4” (100mm) deep, preheating and then hand welding to execute the repair.

    This was a very costly, technically unnecessary and time consuming operation.

    In addition, the drum was occupying an already planned, big area of shop floor space.

    We appealed to the client for a relaxation of the standard but, as we later found out, he did not require the drum due a change of programme.

    Whilst this was in hand we came across a similar reflector in a welded test plate associated with one of the seams.

    By careful cutting and machining we managed to expose the fault - it was a very small slag inclusion (maybe 1.5mm across the section) and about 80mm from the outer surface and it would have required a big excavation.

    I showed the section to my directors to try and explain the numerus repairs, ‘What does the BWRA Institute think?’ I was asked.

    So a meeting was set up with Doctor Richard Weck, who was the boss there at that time.

    A colleague and I soon headed to Cambridge and duly explained our problem.

    Dr Weck said that TWI did not deal with non-destructive testing as it was the role of the NDT specialists.

    I said NDE was an integral part of manufacture and then produced the polished and etched section and asked him to comment on it.

    His bushy eyebrows twitched and he studied it for maybe couple of minutes and said, ‘That looks a very good weld.’

    I then said but that is a reject and pointed out the inclusion.

    I cannot recall his exact words, but they were not very complementary, and then he sent for a young Tim Jessop who, as I recall, was the most NDE-minded person there and said to him, ‘Can you really find defects as small as that?’

    Tim said something like, ‘Yes, at high sensitivity, I suppose’

    ‘Then we must know more about NDE here’ doctor Weck replied.

    Thereafter, NDE testing of welds was on the agenda at TWI.

    But, as far as our client was concerned, no relaxation was offered, since he did not want the drum to be delivered.

    So we had to do all this work, which did nothing to improve the product.

    I, for one, was more than happy when we were finally able to ship the drum and I kept that section for many years but eventually lost it.”

    - Alan F Gifford CEng, FWeldI

    So, while the work may not have helped International Combustion Ltd with their client at the time, it was influential in progressing NDT at TWI Ltd, creating an important part of the business ever since!

  • 13 Feb 2023 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    For those in the European Commission’s consultation, the EWF (European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting) and IIW (International Institute of Welding) would like to ask its members, partners, and experts to give their input on the effect of new Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) for workers exposed to harmful elements, including welding fumes. Your input will be valuable in shaping the consultation’s outcome. If you are a member, partner, or expert of EWF and IIW, please consider participating in the survey and contributing towards the consultation process.

    A questionnaire is available on the survey webpage for companies to fulfil – this will aid assessing the actions to follow for you and your industry. On the same webpage, there is a letter to support from the European Commission, alongside the privacy policy.

    Complete the survey here

    The deadline for completing the questionnaire is Friday 3rd March 2023.

    You can contact EWF or IIW for any requests or clarification needed on the subject.

  • 9 Feb 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Recent research into The Welding Institute has unearthed some previously unidentified, yet interesting connections between the D-Day landings, the Institute, and the start of what became the entire modern offshore oil and gas industry.


    To set the scene, we need to go back to 1942 when The Welding Institute was known as The Institute of Welding (see our ‘Celebrating 100 Years of The Welding Institute’ article for more details on how the Institute developed over the years) and plans were beginning for what would become ‘Operation Overlord,’ the Allied military operation that began on 6 June 1944 (D-Day) and led to the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.

    D-Day itself saw 160,000 troops crossing the English Channel and landing on the beaches of Normandy, soon to be followed by more Allied troops and vehicles in the following days and weeks. In order to maintain the momentum of the invasion following the first landing, it was necessary to keep forces supplied with fuel for their vehicles.

    Supply and Demand?

    Coastal tankers could have been used, but they can be delayed by poor weather, are exposed to attack from the air, and need to be offloaded onshore into vulnerable storage tanks.

    As the British War Office estimated lubricants, oil and petrol would account for over 60% of the weight of supplies needed by the expeditionary forces, subsea pipelines were seen as the best solution.

    At this point in the 1940s, submarine pipelines had been used by ports and over short distances, but they had never before been deployed in the tidal conditions and over the distances required to span the English Channel. To add to the challenge, the entire pipeline needed to be deployed in a single night so as to reduce the possibility of enemy or tidal interference as the pipes were laid.

    Creating and deploying these pipelines quickly and effectively was the challenge to be met by Operation PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean or Pipeline Underwater Transportation of Oil).

    An engineer visiting the Petroleum Warfare Department at the time proposed the use of a single, continuous length of armoured pipeline that was similar to a subsea communications cable with the core and insulation removed, yet able to withstand high internal pressures. The use of additional lines would increase capacity and it was felt using high pressures would allow for different types of fuel to be carried.

    ‘Hais’ and ‘Hamel’

    Operation PLUTO led to the creation of two different pipeline designs, ‘Hais’ and ‘Hamel,’ named for their inventors.

    The Hais solution used an existing undersea telegraph cable design to create a 2-inch pipe made from extruded lead. The lead was surrounded by a layer of asphalt and paper that had been impregnated with vinylite resin. This layer was covered in steel tape, followed by a layer of jute tape and asphalt impregnated paper, before a final protective layer of 50 galvanised steel wires and a camouflaged canvas cover. Several tests were carried out on the Hais pipe and it was decided to increase the diameter to 3-inches, thereby doubling the amount of petrol that could be pumped compared to the 2-inch pipe. This pipe could be coiled in the hull of a pipe-laying ship ready for deployment, but because lead was in short supply, an alternative pipe was sought that used cheaper and more readily-available materials.

    The chief engineer of the Burmah Oil Company, Bernard J. Ellis, proposed the use of mild steel to create an alternative, flexible 3.5-inch diameter pipe and teamed up with the Iraq Petroleum Company’s chief engineer, H. A. Hammick, to create the ‘Hamel’ pipe.

    Unlike the Hais pipe, the Hamel pipe was too stiff to be coiled up and deployed by ship, so, instead, it was wound around a buoyant steel drum (so it would not twist along the longitudinal axis) called a ‘Conundrum’ (or ‘Conun’).

    It is this conundrum-deployed Hamel pipe that has ties to the Institute of Welding, as it was joined using flash butt welding, with Stewarts and Lloyds supplying 40-foot (12 metre) lengths of pipe and designing, constructing and operating two factories at Tilbury to weld them into 4,000 foot (1,200 metre) long segments.

    Research Expertise and The Institute of Welding

    The creation of the Hamel pipe has its roots in research work undertaken by a committee of The Institute of Welding started in 1938. This research assessed flash butt welding, electric arc welding and oxy-acetylene welding as methods for joining pipes, and was reported in a paper on ‘Pressure Pipe Welding’ mentioned in the Institute’s quarterly transactions in 1941. This was quickly followed by two more papers that became the important underpinning work upon which the Hamel pipe solution was built.

    But this was not just a fortunate coincidence, as the Institute of Welding acknowledged Stewarts and Lloyds in relation to work to develop flash butt welding. Both flash butt welding and oxy-acetylene welding can also clearly be seen in a film from the time about the development of the Hamel pipe, with both techniques researched having been assessed for pipe welding by the Institute.

    It is clear that The Institute of Welding was involved in the core of early development work (nowadays covered by Technology Readiness Levels 3-6), with this important research enabling Stewarts and Lloyds to manufacture Operation PLUTO’s Hamel pipelines.

    Operation PLUTO Pumping Stations

    Camouflaged pumping stations were established at Sandown on the Isle of Wight and at Dungeness on the Kent coast. These pumping stations were disguised as seaside villas and cottages, old forts and amusement parks, while lorry drivers were told to call from public phone boxes to receive their delivery instructions.

    At the other end of the pipelines, the Sandown pipe was to be connected to the port at Cherbourg and Dungeness was to be connected to the port at Ambleteuse (later changed to Boulogne). Maintaining the Walt Disney theme of Operation PLUTO, the Sandown pipeline was codenamed ‘Bambi’ and the Dungeness pipeline, ‘Dumbo.’ Meanwhile, a fake oil dock was built across 3 acres at Dover, codenamed Operation Fortitude and even ‘inspected’ by King George VI, and the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower as well as ground forces commander, General Sir Bernard Montgomery.

    Deployment and Operation

    The deployment of Bambi began on 12 August 1944, with the Hais pipe being deployed first, followed by a Hamel pipe on 27 August. However, both of these first attempts suffered failures. Finally, on 22 September, a Hais pipe was successfully deployed, delivering 56,000 imperial gallons (250,000 litres) per day. On 29 September the Hamel pipe solution was successfully installed, but an increase in pressure from 50 to 70 bar on 3 October caused both pipelines to fail – Hais due to a faulty coupling and Hamel due to a sharp edge on the ocean floor. Bambi was cancelled the next day, having delivered just 935,000 imperial gallons (4,250,000 litres) of fuel.

    Dumbo was more successful, with a Hais line deployed and beginning operation on 26 October 1944, where it remained in operation until the end of the war. The Hamel pipe was adapted with the Hais solution added at each end and the pipeline was extended to reach Calais by November so as to take advantage of better railway connections there. By December, nine 3-inch and two 2-inch Hamel pipelines along with four 3-inch and two 2-inch Hais pipelines had been laid, providing 1,300 tons of petrol per day. As was expected, the Hamel pipelines required some repairs during service but the Hais pipelines did not break during service, although plans to increase the pressure to carry aviation spirit as well were scrapped. Dumbo’s 17 pipelines were finally shut down on 7 August 1945, having carried 180 million imperial gallons (820 million litres) of petrol.

    In total, Operation PLUTO successfully delivered around 8% of petroleum products from the UK to the Allied forces in North West Europe at an estimated cost of £4,428,000.

    85% of the pipeline was salvaged and scrapped between September 1946 and October 1949, the value of the recovered lead and steel (not to mention 75,000 imperial gallons of fuel still in the pipelines) exceeded the cost of recovery at an estimated value of £400,000.


    There has been some debate among historians as to the value of Operation PLUTO for the war effort, especially the less-than-successful Bambi pipeline.

    However, the impact of the work undertaken for the operation can be felt reverberating down the decades since, not least with the establishment of pipe welding, pipe coiling and large scale subsea pipeline laying.

    These core technologies, developed in part due to the work of The Institute of Welding, enabled offshore oil and gas exploitation, which became a cornerstone of the work of the Institute and TWI in the 1960s and 70s.

    While the focus of those involved in Operation PLUTO was to help win World War II, they could not have possibly have known that there innovative work would lead to future peacetime applications that progressed the oil and gas industry over the coming years.

    This video, produced by Stewarts and Lloyds at the time, clearly shows the testing and production of the Hamel pipeline solution that the Institute was influential in developing.

  • 2 Feb 2023 10:30 AM | Anonymous

    As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Welding Institute, we spoke with some of our Professional Members about their career memories, uncovering some interesting stories that we want to share with you as part of our centenary celebrations.

    We received a message from long-standing friend and Member of the Institute, Fellow CEng Alan Gifford, who went on to tell us the story of what could be the world’s first-ever welded pressure vessel - as well as kindly donating a unique replica of this piece of engineering history to The Welding Institute!

    Here, Alan tells us the story in his own words:

    “We all take welding, especially of pressure vessels, almost for granted, but there had to be a first one to be welded and pressure tested.

    “Back in 1961, I was welding engineer at International Combustion Ltd (ICL), one of the UK’s seven boilermakers, and they were licensees of the multinational American company Combustion Engineering (CE) with its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. CE, as indeed was ICL.

    “CE’s main boiler plant was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and it was deemed desirable that I went asap to learn how they had such a massive output of both boilers and super heaters.

    “On my visit to their laboratories I went past a small cylindrical pressure vessel mounted on a steel plinth. From memory it was about 5’0” long and 30” in diameter with two semi ellipsoid ends. I enquired what it was and was told it was the first all-welded pressure vessel ever made. Corbin Chapman, the then chief metallurgist at CE, gave me, as a memento, a very small replica of the vessel mounted on a wooden base. There was a plaque attached which reads:


    First All Welded Boiler Drum

    Tested May 2, 1930

    CE Combustion Engineering

    Energy Systems Worldwide

    “I retained this as a desk ornament through the next 45 years whilst I followed a variety of welding associated roles in the company until I retired in 1993 and it came home with me, still sitting on my desk. As I now approach 94, I felt it needed to be preserved and so sought more information on the item. Throughout my career I have maintained contact with one of the welding engineers who I met on that first visit – J C Campbell. I emailed him and asked if he knew any more about the manufacture of the vessel.

    “He responded to say, ‘It was on display when I started at CE in 1950 and was hand stick welded by a guy called Amaziah Jones Moses –who went on to become VP/GM of the Chattanooga plant. It was hydro tested to failure. The welds did not fail but the manway cover on one of the ends leaked first - at well over the calculated pressure,’ adding, ‘you have made my day full of nostalgia!’ I believe it was done under ASME observation, but not approved by them at that time.

    So, as The Welding Institute celebrates its 100th year of life, it seemed right and proper that I should donate there - otherwise it would probably be in a dustbin when I am no longer the keeper!”

The Welding Institute

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