TWI has joined a collaborative R&D project alongside the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) to address fundamental challenges in nuclear manufacturing.
The SIMPLE (Simple Manufacturing Platform Environment) project is supported by £1.35 million of funding and sees TWI joining a consortium of partners including the Advanced Forming Research Centre and AMRC with Boeing as well as the University of Sheffield’s physics department and Peak NDT.
The aim of the project is to develop an integrated welding and monitoring system combining a range of sensors and testing tools with an arc welding head. This will allow for the automated in-process inspection of welds to improve quality and reduce the risk of costly weld failures, which can lead to scrapping or rework.
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.
The SIMPLE project will focus on large components, such as vessel sections and large valve casings, measuring at least two metres.
The project is being funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) managed by Innovate UK. It is also supported by a number of nuclear industry partners, including reactor developers and operators and decommissioning site owners, who will ensure the research is addressing genuine industry challenges.
When complete, the results of the project will be shared with UK industry, including the Fit for Nuclear network of companies from along the supply chain.
You can find out more about the SIMPLE project here, or contact us for more details.