Cyan Tec to deliver laser welding system to Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre

Cyan Tec Systems has been selected to build a custom laser welding system for the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

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Cyan Tec Systems (Loughborough, Leicestershire, England), which integrates high-power fiber lasers in large systems for automated laser welding and cutting, has been selected to design and build a custom laser welding system for the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC; Rotherham, West Yorkshire, England), one of seven High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centers funded by Innovate UK. The Nuclear AMRC will receive the system before the end of 2017.

The Nuclear AMRC helps UK manufacturers win work in the civil nuclear sector, and assists them in the development of new technical capabilities and processes. The research facility offers an array of state-of-the-art equipment for machining and fabrication, supported by in-house engineers and researchers, all of which are made available to manufacturers to use in collaborative R&D projects.

Cyan Tec's advanced laser cell will further enhance the Nuclear AMRC's welding capabilities to support manufacturing process development for key nuclear components. One example is the duplex steel boxes used to store hazardous waste from decommissioning sites, as laser welding can significantly reduce manufacturing times and costs while maintaining a high quality of weld seams. The welding cell will be used to develop and optimize these welding processes as part of a program to save hundreds of millions of pounds over the life of the decommissioning program.

The system is designed for deep-penetration welding. With the highest-power disk laser in the UK, delivered by fiber-optic cable, the system has a wall-plug efficiency higher than 30% and is fully protected against back-reflection, which is vital in high-power welding of reflective materials.

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Cyan Tec's advanced laser welding system design configuration.

Integrated with a six-axis gantry system, the overall cell has the capability of delivering a simultaneous metal inert gas (MIG) weld for deep-penetration hybrid welding with hot- or cold-wire feed. The system includes a large tilt and turn manipulator that can carry components up to 15 tons, and its advanced CNC controller can interpolate all eight axes simultaneously to weld complex seams.

With such a high average laser power delivered by fiber optics and a system capable of steering the beam in all directions, laser safety is extremely important. So, the company has developed its own safety solution that comprises an active guarding laser safety enclosure measuring 10 × 7m and 6m high. The safety system has an actively monitored cavity wall with instant shutdown in the event of any break-through of the outer layer.

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