EIP Metals Limited, the largest UK-owned manufacturer of precision rolled copper-based alloys, supplies the electronic and electrical industries with strip-as-coil or on-traverse wound reels. The latter is achieved by joining individual coils to provide more economical feeding of high-speed presses. These joints must have strength, ductility and dimensions that will enable the strip to pass easily through the client's processes.
Although EIP have been offering this service for many years, an increase in demand coupled with significant changes in size and gauge requirements, prompted the company to request a Product and Process Review, under the UK government sponsored Joining Forces programme.
TWI's experience of joining thin materials was used to demonstrate approaches to jig and fixture design, especially in setting up new TIG and brazing facilities. The reviewer noted that the quality requirement was high and that small changes in the joining operation would be unacceptable; therefore automating the process would be an advantage.
Recommendations were also made on details of jig design, automated equipment requirements, and possible vendors who could produce and refurbish equipment. The review report discussed the process operations sequence and recommended tasks needed to enable the required joint quality to be achieved.
Plasma welding technology was also of interest to EIP which wants to increase the speed, accuracy and finish of the joined strip to meet market demands for quality and customer service.
Tony Tripp of EIP Metals said 'The company has benefited directly from TWI's involvement and can now provide an improved service to meet our customers' growing requirement for material supplied on heavy-weight drums.'