TWI Industrial Member Report Summary 1041/2013
By Chris Punshon
This project aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of exploiting the huge productivity potential of single pass electron beam by applying the process without a vacuum chamber, made possible through the use of a locally generated vacuum. Reducing cost in heavy fabrication of structural steel and avoidance of distortion are key drivers in areas such as off shore wind and power generation. This project aimed to demonstrate the development and effective deployment of a prototype high power reduced pressure EB system for fabrication of thick section structural steels. The benefits of applying the laser welding process in a local vacuum environment have also shown to be significant and the use of this process with local vacuum has also been considered in the project.
The key industry drivers are reduced fabrication costs for large structures through improvements in welding productivity and accuracy.
- Improved local vacuum head manufactured and tested
- High quality single pass welds produced in C-Mn steel of up to 80mm thickness.
- Welding of tubular structures demonstrated with huge potential savings in welding time compared to conventional welding practice
- Laser welding penetration doubled and weld integrity improved by use of local vacuum system
- Significant benefits in local vacuum EB and laser welding identified