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Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre
The Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre specialises in fundamental, strategic and applied research in the area of advanced fusion joining processes and high deposition rate additive built structures.
We work very closely with our industrial clients and have achieved a significant research impact in many key industrial sectors such as onshore and offshore pipeline manufacturing. The research impact of the Centre was recognised in the 2010-2011 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's 'Research Performance and Economic Impact' report.
Established in 1961, the recently refurbished Centre is situated on an area of 700 m2 and houses a variety of laser and arc welding facilities with a large scale material handling facility. Welding facilities are mostly equipped with robots to enable automated welding. The laboratory also uses state-of-the-art quantitative analysis facilities to characterise and model weld processes necessary for fundamental analysis. More detailed information about our facilities is available below.
The Centre is predominantly an applied research organisation and offers a number of ways for industry to participate and collaborate. This spans from the sponsoring of an individual Masters thesis project to collaborating through a large rolling technology programme. You can work with us in a number of ways:
- Sponsoring of Masters projects - generally this ranges between two to four months.
- PhD studentship - PhD students (fully sponsored by an industry) can be an employee of the sponsoring industry in which case he or she will be able to effectively transfer the knowledge generated. Alternatively a PhD student can be sponsored through the Doctoral Training Centre.
- Research Fellowship - This is generally through employment of a suitable person for an industry sponsored project. The research fellowship can be full or part-time.
- Participation in our rolling technology development programme on high deposition rate metal additive manufacture.
- Supporting a project as part of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser Based Production Processes.
- Specific research consultancy.
The Centre has many stakeholders from UK and EU Government bodies, industrial clients and power source manufacturers to suppliers and developers of filler wires, shielding gases. We have worked with organisations including DSTL, EPSRC and TSB as well as industrial partners from various sectors:
- Aerospace (Airbus, ARA, Bombardier)
- Aero-engines (Rolls-Royce)
- Defence (Lockheed Martin, BAE)
- Nuclear (AWE)
- Onshore and offshore pipeline manufacturers (Subsea7, BP, Heerema Marine Contractors)
- Shipbuilding (BAE surface ship)
- Small and medium enterprises (Attica components in medical sector)
- Welding power source manufacturers (Air Liquide, Fronius, TPS, Lincoln).
Laser welding - The Centre is equipped with a large high power continuous wave Nd-YAG fiber laser of 8 kW peak power. The laser is delivered through an optical fibre to a laser head mounted on a 7-axes robot which is located in a large chamber with type IV safety features. The laser can be focussed at distances varying from 100-500 mm and the minimum spot size is 0.67 mm.
Laser characterisation equipment - The beam profiler is used to measure the laser intensity and beam profile. This laser is used for research into laser-metal interaction, laser-arc hybrid welding for high productive processes and dissimilar alloy welding where the spatial resolution and dimension of weld pool formation is controlled through controlled laser irradiation.
Other lasers include a 9 kW peak power pulsed laser with average energy of 300 J, a 20 W fiber laser for cutting and drilling application and a pulsed Nd-YAG laser used for drilling applications. These are used for different applications varying from fundamental research of laser welding mode under different incumbent pressure, to micro welding of medical parts.
High Value Engineering Research Facility (HiVE) - This facility is created for industrial scale additive manufacturing using wire and arc based technology. This facility has a large working envelope of 4m × 3m × 1m and is be equipped with machining and rolling facility to produce near net shape components and also to re-engineer microstructural features to improve structural soundness.
Other facilities include:
- Arc welding facility with state-of-the-art variant of GTAW (TOPTIG, inter-pulsed TIG), GMAW (Cold Metal Transfer, Cold Arc) and Plasma arc welding power sources eg. force arc manufactured by the leading power source manufacturers e.g. Fronius, EWM, Lincoln.
- Five welding robots and a variety of advanced motion systems, gas mixers, etc.
- Instrumenting and imaging facility necessary to understand the physics of a process and also has facilities like gas mixing, glove box, specialised chambers and enclosures for performing welding under different atmospheric conditions.
- Two hyperbaric facilities one of which can reach up to 250 bar of pressure simulating the condition of 2.5 km under seawater. The other can achieve up to 40 bar (and can also create vacuum in the order of 10-2 bar). This chamber is equipped with laser welding accessories to perform fundamental study of laser behaviour under different incumbent pressure.
Courses offered by this Centre are listed below. You can also view our related courses in Manufacturing.
Application of rolling and laser processing to modify the residual stress state and metallurgical characteristics of multi-pass welds
Multi-pass weld results into a non-uniform metallurgical structure and variable distribution of residual field through the thickness and across the weldMore
Finite elements analysis of localised rolling to reduce residual stress and distortion in GMA welded S355 steel plates
Localised rolling is a group of techniques that can reduce the final distortion, and manage the residual stress caused by welding, reducing production time and costsMore
Interaction and melting behaviour of powder with lasers for additive manufacturing and cladding
This project aims to develop an understanding of laser powder interactions using fundamental material interaction parameters.More
Joining of dissimilar materials and alloys for advanced structural and engineering applications
Understand the mechanism of formation of brittle intermetallic compounds during welding of different dissimilar alloy combinations and application of weld metal engineering to avoid themMore
Laser assisted arc welding process for dry hyperbaric deep water application
This work explores the use of a laser to provide additional heat to hyperbaric GMAW in order to lower the weld cooling rate and reduce susceptibility to hydrogen assisted cracking.More
Process development and microstructure control in Ti-6AI-4V additive manufacture
This project involves the development of a process model and rolling methods for Tungsten Inert Gas wire+arc additive manufacture of Ti-6Al-4VMore
Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS)
This prestigious (EPSRC) studentship will provide a tax free bursary at the standard prevailing rate for Engineering Doctorate (plus fees) as determined by EPSRC*More