Novarc Technologies


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Robotic Pipe Welding Solutions for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair

With a team of dedicated experts and innovators, Novarc constantly pushes the boundaries of technology and works to address and resolve the most pressing welding automation challenges.

207- 267 West Esplanade,
North Vancouver,
V7M 1A5,
British Columbia,

Novarc Technologies is a full-stack robotics powerhouse that prides itself on specialising in the design and manufacturing of collaborative robots (cobots) and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered machine vision solutions tailored for autonomous welding. The company’s Spool Welding Robot (SWR™) holds the distinction of being the world’s pioneer in pipe welding applications.

With a team of dedicated experts and innovators, Novarc constantly pushes the boundaries of technology and works to address and resolve the most pressing welding automation challenges, ensuring customers experience not only improved production rates, but also an enhanced bottom line.

Spool Welding Robot for shipbuilding

The Spool Welding Robot is a welding cobot designed specifically for pipes, small pressure vessels, and other types of roll welding. It is transforming the way ships are constructed, providing unparalleled precision, efficiency, and cost savings.

Three Spool Welding Robots in action at a fabrication shop
Operator welding with the Spool Welding Robot
The Spool Welding Robot in action
The Spool Welding Robot overview

The SWR™ is designed for carbon/low alloy (P1) and stainless steel (P8) alloys and can weld from 2”-60” diameter pipes and pressure vessels. With its compact 4’x4’ base, the SWR™ offers the smallest industry footprint, fitting seamlessly into most shops. Combined with its ability to integrate with up to five positioners, it ensures maximum welding productivity.

In shipbuilding, where safety is paramount, the SWR™ stands out as a prime example of using technology for worker protection. As a collaborative robot, it keeps human welders away from harmful fumes, UV light, and intense heat.

By leveraging the SWR™, customers are not just adapting, but are setting new industry benchmarks, including:

  • Improved productivity: customers are achieving an up to 12x increase in pipe welding productivity.
  • X-ray quality welds: The SWR™ lowers the repair rates to less than 1%, compared to the industry average of 3%-5%.
  • Competitive edge: customers have been able to increase the margin on their existing projects and shorten their project timeframes.
  • Addressing workforce gaps: The SWR provides a solution to the ongoing welder shortage, supporting steady operations.

Welding efficiency and productivity

The Spool Welding Robot is designed for optimal efficiency. Traditional welding methods are labour-intensive and time-consuming, resulting in extended project timelines. In contrast, the SWR™ can weld non-stop from root to cap and work around the clock, without breaks or fatigue. This continuous operation significantly accelerates the pipe welding productivity in shipbuilding and ship repair. With the SWR™, fabrication shops are seeing an increase of between 3x-5x in productivity with carbon steel, and an up to 12x productivity increase with stainless steel pipes.

Precision and quality welding for shipbuilding

Pipe welding demands a high level of precision, and even the smallest error can have significant consequences. The SWR™ is designed to tackle this challenge head-on. With its advanced vision system, it ensures that welds are executed with pinpoint accuracy, minimising the possibility of human error. This level of precision is vital not only for structural integrity but also for reducing rework and costly repairs. Quality assurance and quality control managers will be pleased to know that the SWR meets key quality test requirements, such as radiography tests, and the Charpy Impact test, as well as the hardness, bend, and tensile tests, and more. The SWR welds to ASME B31.1, ASME B31.3, EN 13445, and EN 13480 standards. Shops that use the SWR consistently hit a repair rate of under 1% while some shops achieve repair rates of 0%.

Shipbuilding cost savings

The SWR™ is the epitome of long-term investment returns. Its deployment results in tangible savings, be it reduced labour costs, minimised rework, or expedited project completion. All these factors combine to present a compelling financial case for shipyards to make the switch.

The remarkable efficiency of the Spool Welding Robot is demonstrated here in a real-world case study from Novarc Technologies:

Case study: transforming shipyard operations

In collaboration with leading shipyard Seaspan Vancouver Drydock, the implementation of the SWR™ led to an impressive 400% surge in productivity. The Vancouver Drydock, post-SWR™ integration, consistently delivered X-Ray quality welds.

Vancouver Drydock vice-president and general manager Paul Hebson encapsulates the transformative power of SWR™: “We have shown more than half a dozen of our customers around the machine. It’s a powerful message to our clients that we are investing in a piece of technology that’s going to make the work we do for them less expensive, higher quality, and take fewer hours. People really respect businesses that invest in their business rather than do other things with the cash they generate.”

This case study is just one example of how the Spool Welding Robot can transform shipyard operations and deliver tangible results.

In a domain where precision, efficiency, and safety are paramount, the Novarc Spool Welding Robot stands tall as a beacon of transformative technology. As the shipbuilding industry evolves, the SWR™ emerges as not just an invaluable tool, but a strategic advantage for forward-thinking shipyards.

For more information, please visit the Novarc website.

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Novarc Technologies
207- 267 West Esplanade
North Vancouver
V7M 1A5
British Columbia

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