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Kemppi’s welding technology has helped STX’s shipyard in Turku, Finland to build a cruise liner for Royal Caribbean International.

The ‘Oasis of the Seas’ weighs 225,000 gross tons and has 16 decks rising 72m above sea level.

It is 360m long with a 66m beam and can carry 5,400 passengers.

Its sister ship ‘Allure of the Seas’ is due for delivery towards the end of 2010.

Each vessel is built using more than 2,400km of weld seams and requires more than one million kilograms of filler material.

Around 2,000 x-rays use ultra-sound technology to inspect more than 8.5km of butt welds, while penetrant solution and magnetic particle testing was also carried out on these welds.

Using modular construction, STX can build on a large scale, starting with block fabrication of the hull, where welding plays a major role.

Blocks are welded together to form larger sections, weighing from 400 – 600 tonnes with some measuring 22 x 32 x 13m.

The ship is made up of 181 sections, which are hoisted into the dry dock and welded together with their respective tubing, bulkheads and decks connected.

Each section comprises different materials, material thicknesses and involves a number of welding processes, including MIG/MAG, submerged arc, (TIG and MMA) welding as well as laser welding and cutting on plate and pipe work fabricated from C-Mn steels, aluminium, stainless steels and duplex.

In the early stages of production, welding is mainly automated, but as work progresses it becomes more manual.

Every welder had to pass stringent competence examinations to meet SFS-EN 287 specification as well as other applicable standards.

STX sets high welding standards and does not allow any errors in any of the welds, because it cannot have a weld fail during the vessel’s operational duties.

Throughout the build, it monitors all the welding processes used; weld seams have to demonstrate absolute strength and resiliency in different situations.

Once operational, the ship’s structure will experience continuous dynamic loads.

Fitweld 300, used in the welding of both vessels, is a lightweight, compact, robust MIG/MAG inverter welder specifically designed for shipbuilding and heavy fabrication to replace traditional MMA tack welding techniques.

MIG/MAG tack welding is faster and more efficient.

It produces higher quality welds, requires less input power and has a lighter power source.

Supersnake GT02S is a sub feeder that extends the reach of standard Euro MIG welding guns by up to 30m.

It provides distance wire feeding in difficult-to-access welding jobs, especially in shipbuilding, as it removes the need to carry around heavy-wire feed units.

Supersnake can be used with both FastMig Synergic and FastMig pulse-welding systems utilising Wise and Match welding software packages.

These include menus for root and thin plate welding, auto power regulation, arc-length recognition and additional base curves and panel-function options.

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