TWI (The Welding Institute) is one of Europe’s largest independent research and technology organisations. TWI has been based at Abington near Cambridge since 1946, and has offices worldwide, including a Technology Centre in South Yorkshire (Rotherham). TWI provides industry with technical support in joining, coating and associated technologies, including additive manufacture, through information, advice and technology transfer; consultancy and project support; contract R&D; and training, qualification and personal membership. It is the only single source of expertise in every aspect of joining technology for engineering materials.
TWI is internationally renowned for bringing together multidisciplinary teams to implement established or advanced joining technology or to solve problems arising at any stage - from initial design, materials selection, production and quality assurance, through to service and repair. Over 500 skilled staffs are dedicated to helping industry apply all forms of joining technology safely and efficiently. Some 3500 companies and organisations - representing virtually all sectors of manufacturing industry from over 50 countries around the globe - benefit from TWI services.
TWI has been at the forefront of the development and application of lasers for materials processing since the invention of such lasers in the late 1960s. Indeed, TWI actually carried out pioneering work regarding the fast axial flow C02 laser and produced the world’s first gas assisted laser cut. Projects on laser ALM have been carried out by TWI since the early 1990s using a variety of laser systems. In 2004 TWI acquired a bespoke Trumpf laser Direct Metal Deposition (DMD) system, and work in this area has grown significantly since. Other equipment additions include a 7kW fibre laser, two robot-based processing cells capable of laser ALM, welding, cutting etc, and a Huffman laser cladding/ALM system based on a 2.5kW C02 laser. TWI has recently purchased two laser powder bed ALM systems that are world-class including vacuum, pre-heat and small spot capabilities with the potential for the creation of high quality, intricate parts in high specification alloys.
TWI has carried out dozens of collaborative programmes in the field of laser processing including laser ALM. Current projects of note include; ‘Integrated Wing’ the large EADS UK led programme to which TWI is contributing the laser ALM creation of landing gear; ‘DAMASCUS’, again led by EADS regarding the laser consolidation process developed by Accufusion; and the ‘FANTASIA’ Framework 7 project led by Fraunhofer ILT on laser ALM for repair and part manufacture