Thursday, April 19, 2018

News: TWI's vision for Simple nuclear project


TWI is working alongside the Nuclear AMRC and other partners on a system for the automated in-process inspection of welds on critical components for the nuclear sector.

Supported by £1.35m of funding, the project, called Simple (single manufacturing platform environment), aims to integrate a range of manufacturing operations onto a single machining platform.

TWI is one of the world's foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in solving problems in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies.

The Cambridge organisation has a Technology Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham where experts provide technical support in joining and technologies such as material science, structural integrity, NDT, surfacing, electronic packaging and cutting.

Also with state of the art facilities on the AMP, the £25m Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative with industry, The University of Sheffield and The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, and is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.


The Nuclear AMRC is leading the research consortium including two of its sister centres within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the Advanced Forming Research Centre and AMRC with Boeing, as well as the University of Sheffield physics department, TWI and Peak NDT.

Partners are developing an integrated welding and monitoring system which combines a range of sensors and testing tools with an automated arc welding head. This will allow automated in-process inspection of welds, improving quality and reducing the risk of weld failure leading to costly scrapping or rework.

Further development could then integrate this tool with a comprehensive selection of machining, cladding and inspection heads on a single large manufacturing platform. By combining conventional and advanced techniques onto a single platform, the project aims to achieve cost and time savings of at least 50 per cent for a range of complex fabrications.

A spokesperson for TWI said: "TWI will work on developing vision systems based on HDR camera technology and neural networks for real time monitoring and assessment of arc welds.

"The project seeks to see time and cost savings of at least 50% for a range of complex fabrications. This will be achieved by pulling together a selection of machining, cladding and inspection heads on a single manufacturing platform to monitor welds and ensure that any problems are picked up and can be addressed in real time."

Simple will focus on large components measuring at least two metres such as pressure vessel sections, large valve casings and decommissioning waste containers.

The project is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy (BEIS) through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) managed by Innovate UK.

TWI website
Nuclear AMRC website

Images: Nuclear AMRC


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