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J4IC: Awards Shortlist for New Friction Stir Welding System

Thu, 24 November, 2022

The partners behind an ambitious project to develop a new, low-cost, friction stir welding (FSW) system, for use in manufacturing in the shipping and marine industries, have been shortlisted in The Engineer’s Collaborate To Innovate Awards 2022 in the Modular Assembly System category.

Entitled RESURGAM: Robotic Survey, Repair and Agile Manufacture – the project is the result of a UK-European collaboration by consortium partners Aislamientos Termicos De Galicia SA, Asociacion Cluster Del Naval Gallego, Element Six (UK) Limited, Engitec Systems International Limited, the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting, Forth Engineering (Cumbria) Ltd, Ned-Project SP Z OO, Stirweld, Technische Universiteit Delft, Turkiye Gemi Insa Sanayicileri Birligi Dernegi, the University of Lancaster and TWI Ltd, who are strategic partners in the Joining 4.0 Innovation Centre, and the University of Limerick. Between them, the consortium members represent nine different countries.

Designed for the FSW of steel structures underwater in the fabrication and repair of ships, the new RESURGAM system is enabled by robotic equipment, processes and qualification routes, and backed by secure, digital, Industry 4.0 infrastructure and techniques. In particular, it can be retrofitted to manufacturers’ existing CNC machines, that utilise a computerised manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code control the movement of production equipment, making it a cost effective solution with the potential to facilitate rapid, coordinated and distributed modular manufacture of ships and watercraft throughout Europe.

The Joining 4.0 Innovation Centre (J4IC)’s role on the project was the build of a novel digital platform that incorporates different tools for machine learning, design, information sharing support and more, aimed at connecting the European shipbuilding community and promoting collaborative production engineering. In addition, the Centre was also responsible for creating control mechanisms for the FSW ‘bot’ which was developed by consortium partner Fourth Engineering.

RESURGAM was successful in securing public funding from the European Commission's Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No. 101007005, as a result of a competitive bid compiled under the leadership of J4IC Director Prof Darren Williams.

Speaking on behalf of TWI and the University of Lancaster, Dr Farhan Santo at TWI, who led the J4IC’s technical work on the project, said “We believe this project has the capacity to transform the way ships hulls are repaired because it will facilitate responsive, remote repair at sea, anywhere in the world. So in the future, it will be able to generate major advantages in terms of safety, time management and budget.” Adding “We are delighted that RESURGAM has been shortlisted for these Awards, which reflects the collaborative knowledge, skills, experience and efforts of the consortium partners.”

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