Sheffield Forgemasters leads landmark project

Posted on 11 Jan 2020 and read 888 times
Sheffield Forgemasters leads landmark projectEngineering specialist Sheffield Forgemasters is to lead a consortium of partners in its largest-ever R&D project, with an overall project value of £10.5 million.

The company will explore industrialisation of electron beam welding (EBW) in civil nuclear assemblies, with the potential to integrate welding into the manufacturing process, offering material improvements and vast reductions in manufacturing time and cost.

The company has been awarded £8 million by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to lead the project.

Jesus Talamantes-Silva, Sheffield Forgemasters research, design and technology director (, said: “This is a landmark project for the UK, building on three years of work that we completed in partnership with Innovate UK to refine the basic science of electron beam welding in nuclear applications.

“It is our largest research project to date, launched in August (2019) and running until March 2021.

"The implications of accelerating this technology for civil nuclear power are significant, but it could also benefit other sectors, including defence, offshore and petrochemical.”

The company will install an electron beam welder capable of welding 3m-diameter cylinders under localised vacuum and without traditional welding preparation, offering narrower welds than traditional methods plus the ability to weld as part of the manufacturing process, before heat treatment.

It will then manufacture a civil nuclear component to demonstrate a full-size (4.3m high x 3m in diameter) pressure vessel for a small modular reactor; it will also produce several steel alloy grades suitable for civil fission and fusion nuclear applications.

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