Thu, 12 August, 2021
The ability to weld thick section efficiently is critical to drive widespread deployment of cost-effective solutions to meet low-carbon energy needs. Thick section local vacuum electron beam welding is considered a key enabling technology in the serialised fabrication of micro modular reactors (MMR) and other large tubular structures.
TWI, CVE and Cammell Laird have collaboratively developed production equipment and methods which have been demonstrated in the fabrication of the UK’s first full-size MMR vessel segment. Supported by Innovate UK, EBManPower has demonstrated a low cost and rapid manufacturing solution of thick section vessels for nuclear and other industries, using existing UK logistical and manufacturing capabilities. EBManPower focussed on using the Ebflow system, deployed at the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead, to demonstrate the viability of cost-effective MMR fabrication.
Electron beam welding has been used for the nuclear and aerospace industries for decades. This is the first time that a commercially available local vacuum EB system has been deployed in an industrial environment.
- Simplified both the manufacturing and qualification processes;
- Devised a near-net build approach, enabling large cost savings on materials through the use of rolled plates, suitable for nuclear and other vessel or tubular structures;
- Demonstrated a feasible manufacturing technique which is up to 95% faster than other welding methods, with no consumables, filler or fumes;
- Significantly reduced health risks, labour and inspection costs of such fabrications, whilst offering much higher productivity.
TWI recently hosted an event to showcase these outputs at our Cambridge HQ, which included a site visit to CVE to view the Ebflow system.
As numbers for the physical event had to be kept to a minimum due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, attendees across the globe were invited to join via livestream, with over 20 countries joining on the day.
This project has received funding from Innovate UK, under grant agreement 3534/104220.