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Improving nuclear decommissioning efficiency for research centre

24 April 2017

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

The Nuclear AMRC in Rotherham will be taking delivery of the turnkey system before the end of 2017. Cyan Tec has experience in integrating high power fibre-delivered lasers in large systems for automated laser welding and cutting.  

Bjoern Kraemer, a laser engineer at the Nuclear AMRC, outlined the reasons Cyan Tec were chosen following an open and competitive tendering process: 

“Cyan Tec provided the best response to the Nuclear AMRC's tender process. They not only addressed all of our requirements in an appropriate manner, they also showed great knowledge and professionalism by presenting their innovative solutions at the right level of detail, and providing a selection of options. Cyan Tec provided a competitive and unique turnkey solution with a comprehensive service package which will satisfy all our demands for a high quality manufacturing solution.”

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. Situated on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire, the Nuclear AMRC 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 welding capabilities of the Nuclear AMRC to support manufacturing process development for key nuclear components. One example is the duplex steel boxes used to store hazardous waste from Sellafield and other decommissioning sites – laser welding can significantly reduce manufacturing times and costs while maintaining a high quality of weld seams. The innovative Cyan Tec welding cell will be used to develop and optimise these welding processes, as part of a programme to save hundreds of millions of pounds over the life of the decommissioning programme.

The system is designed for deep penetration welding for R&D of laser and hybrid laser and arc welding. With the highest power Disk laser in the UK, delivered by fibre optic cable, the system will have a wall-plug efficiency higher than 30 percent, and is fully protected against back reflection which is vital in high power welding of reflective materials.

Integrated with a 6-axis gantry system, the overall cell has the capability of delivering a simultaneous MIG weld for deep penetration hybrid welding with hot wire or cold wire feed. The system includes a large tilt and turn manipulator which can carry components up to 15,000kg and overall the advanced CNC controller is able to interpolate all eight axes simultaneously to weld complex seams with perfect results. Such a system is a challenge for an integrator of automation and CNC systems, but falls easily within the capabilities of Cyan Tec’s team of experienced laser integration engineers. 

With such a high average laser power delivered by fibre optics, and a system capable of steering the beam in all directions, laser safety is extremely important.  Cyan Tec have developed its own safety solution, comprising an active guarding laser safety enclosure of dimensions 10 x 7m and 6m high. The safety system has an actively monitored cavity wall with instant shut-down in the event of any break-through of the outer layer.

Modern motion systems are faster, have higher accuracy and vastly-improved repeatability compared to previous generations. Cyan Tec Systems has experience of integrating robots and CNC systems with lasers from all the major suppliers and can offer expert advice on the most appropriate solution for laser processing. Standard and bespoke systems are offered with a full service from design through manufacture; a large installed base worldwide is supported by a dedicated team of engineers.


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