Engineers from the research and manufacturing divisions of the Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corporation (WISCO), China, have completed a valuable three-month training and awareness secondment to TWI - returning home with deeper knowledge, and practical experience, across a range of joining, surfacing and related technologies. The time spent with TWI experts, has also demonstrated how, as an Industrial Member of TWI, they can best utilise our resources to add value to their own technology development services and manufacturing operations.
WISCO is a major steel producer in China. The secondment, the first of such duration, was established as a three-month project. Content and activities were tailored to the technical and commercial profile of WISCO, and its continuous development as a solutions provider to a multi sector customer base.
During the programme, engineers Mr Hu Zifan, Mrs Liu Wenyan and Mr Chen Fu learned about advances in materials engineering and joining technology directly relevant to WISCO interests both in production and R&D. Whilst current interests are focussed on production of steel sheet for automotive, pipeline and shipbuilding applications, WISCO is expanding its product lines and capacity to serve a wider range of applications. This represents a major investment which is being supported with the build of a new factory located at Fangchenggang in the province of Guangxi.
A considerable period of time was spent at TWI in Cambridge as well as visiting TWI laboratories in Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Port Talbot. Included amongst WISCO specific interests were topics such as weldability, welding processes and procedures, weld testing (and environment simulation), modelling, inspection, assessment and diagnostics. The programme also incorporated future training opportunities. Of particular note during the visit were the industrial opportunities presented by new machinery and advanced technologies for steel processing, such as, friction stir welding, Surfi-Sculpt electron beam surface modification and laser direct metal deposition.
In expressing enthusiasm for the secondment, Mr Hu commented: 'It has been an amazing experience. We have had insight into every technology at TWI, and have been able to experiment with many different welding procedures while we have been here. It gives us the greatest confidence.'
Mrs Liu added: 'Seeing is believing - we can take knowledge of so many fields, not just welding, back to China, and we know exactly who to contact at TWI for support.'
Mr Chen echoed a general view from our guests when he said: "We have enjoyed meeting so many expert people at TWI, some of whom we also count as our friends"
This technology training secondment has been of mutual benefit to WISCO and TWI. For example TWI has acquired an increased understanding about the range of operations at WISCO, which will allow us to quickly fine tune services to our Member's requirements. A more subtle, but important, advantage of this type of Industrial Membership project will be realised in the personal contacts and networks created between members of staff from both companies. This aspect will encourage flows of ideas, dialogue and information between people, thereby enhancing the overall Membership experience.
For further information please contact Chris Wiseman