The current thickness limit of the HFI technique is about 20,6mm for grades up to X80. It is mainly governed by the necessary forming load, the coil edge formability and above all the optimisation of the power/heat input requirements on the weld seam area. The availability of hot rolled coils in thicknesses up to 25mm has made possible the exploitation of the HFI limits to such thicknesses. Following the successful industrial HFI welding production of 609,6mm (24) × 25mm thick wall pipes at the CPW-Thisvi mill, the current paper deals with the development of the process regarding forming, welding, process automation and NDE inspection techniques for thicknesses up to 25mm. The latter made possible the broadening of the HFI process limits, currently for grades up to X60. Details of the technology used are described along with the investigation of the influence of welding and post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) cycles on the microstructure of the welding zone (WZ) and heat affected zone (HAZ) of the hot-strip micro-alloyed high strength low alloyed (HSLA) steel chosen. Mechanical testing of the pipe body and weld seam was used to characterise their performance. The dimensional tolerances of the pipe products are also described. Results of the study showed properties which were uniform and satisfied API 5L requirements. The above research demonstrates that the HFI technique has a clear potential to provide the energy market with lower cost-options for the construction of heavy wall pipes.

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