The recent TWI welding exhibition saw several OEMs showing their latest technology and products with end users across various industry sectors. The exhibition that took place on 8th March included both exhibits, demonstrations and discussions covering a range of areas:
The current state-of-the-art in arc-welding systems include the development of remote parameter control for site-work with Miller’s Arc Reach systems. ESAB demonstrated rugged inverter based high/power to weight ratio machines (Renegade) including developments in reducing welder input, whilst still maintaining weld quality (Rebel series).
Demonstrations of the manual Fronius TPSi system emphasised high levels of weld pool control, combined with low spatter for their MIG/MAG system. For aluminium welding, BOC showed the potential for DC electrode positive TIG welding, with the application of the ARCLINE PP technology; allowing weld speeds in excess of 350mm/min for 6mm penetration joints. Exhibits included the OTC D-Arc process as an automated MAG solution for deep penetration welding; whilst the EWM Titan XQ system aims to bridge the gap between sheet welding (coldArc) and deep penetration welding (forceArc) with a single system.
Development of ancillary systems continues, with digital camera systems from both Polysoude and Arc-machines Inc. featuring as part of continuing moves towards data capture for monitoring/control of arc-weld quality. Arc-machines also highlighted their new Model 217 WDR orbital welding system for high-integrity welding applications. Continuing the theme of high integrity, Huntingdon Fusion Techniques demonstrated a range of systems relating to purging, including flexible welding enclosures.
Additive manufacture was a key topic of discussion. TWI has on-going arc R&D programmes related to this hot topic. Fronius and OTC Daihen highlighted their systems for wire arc additive manufacture (WAAM) and Renishaw highlighted recent developments with the Ren AM 500Q multi-laser AM system; featuring powder/waste handling systems combined with 4 off 500W lasers.
Cloud/network based systems for production / weld monitoring and control are growing areas of interest to fabricators. BOC (Avanto), ESAB (Weldcloud) and EWM (XNet) offer solutions that incorporate weld process and procedure data aimed at increasing efficiency, traceability and quality through control of WPSs, welder qualifications and process parameters. TWI (Welding Software) have recently updated their already popular welding software suite. Air Products gave an overview of their GasTrak product, aimed at reducing/optimising gas usage.
Welding simulators continue to develop and find increasing application in industry, with Lincoln Electric, Fronius and EWM all offering systems to accelerate welder training in virtual and augmented reality form.
Tony Anderson, Director of Aluminium Welding Technology for ITW North America kicked off several high quality technical presentations with an in-depth guide to aluminium welding. Topics were diverse and included cloud-based quality management, purging and the use of graphene within industry. Mechanisation and automation solutions continue to move into welding fabrication and TPS WeldTech gave an overview of the range of applications and solutions possible.
TWI was also able to offer an insight into its training programmes as well as providing information about its suite of welding and integrity management software packages, including Weldspec, Welding Coordinator, Welderqual, NDTspec, Welding Estimator, RiskWISE, CrackWISE, and IntegriWISE.
Representatives from The Welding Institute were also on hand to speak about the benefits of Professional Membership, while welding engineers were also present to answer any queries. One industrial member took the opportunity to tackle a technical issue with a welding consultant, who made himself available at short notice (Thank you Dr. Howse!).
Networking and feedback
The most positive feedback came from exhibitors, attendees and TWI staff alike – that the day offered a valuable day to meet like-minded people with a common interest in welding, joining, materials and engineering. The only downside for some was that the day went too quickly:
• ‘Networking was the most valuable part of it and learning of new technologies and to discuss current production issues and how to potentially resolve them.’ – Matthew Cooper (Jaguar Land Rover)
• ‘Just by being present benefits our company however we did receive some enquiries for our products and services which we will follow up in due course. Networking was the most valuable aspect of the day.’ – Paul Thompson (EWM UK)
• ‘Talking with the various companies that offered welding training using simulation systems was valuable. The format of the day was very good.’ – Martin Boyd, Rolls-Royce.
• ‘Excellent day on the whole. I was pleased with the whole exhibition.’ – Andy Croft, Caterpillar
For more information, please contact us, and look out for the ‘Save the date’ e-mail for another event in May 2019 – which promises to be bigger, and hopefully even better.