Industrialisation of Ebflow for Pressure Vessel Manufacture

Press Release
Fabrication of Micro Modular Reactors (MMR)

The ability to weld thick sections efficiently is critical to drive widespread deployment of cost-effective solutions to meet low-carbon energy needs. Thick section local vacuum electron beam welding is considered a key enabling technology in the serialised fabrication of micro modular reactors (MMR) and other large tubular structures.

CVE, TWI, and Cammell Laird have been working collaboratively for over three years to produce the UK’s first full-size MMR vessel segment.

Supported by Innovate UK, the EBManPower project has demonstrated a low cost and rapid manufacturing solution of thick section vessels for nuclear and other industries, using existing UK logistical and manufacturing capabilities. EBManPower focussed on using CVE’s Ebflow system, deployed at the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead, to demonstrate the viability of cost-effective MMR fabrication.

Electron beam welding has been used for the nuclear and aerospace industries for decades. This is the first time that a commercially available local vacuum EB system has been deployed in an industrial environment.

The EBManPower Project

EBManPower has:

  • Simplified both the manufacturing and qualification processes
  • Devised a near-net build approach, enabling large cost savings on materials through the use of rolled plates, suitable for nuclear and other vessel or tubular structures
  • Demonstrated a feasible manufacturing technique which is up to 95% faster than other welding methods, with no consumables, filler or fumes.
  • Significantly reduced health risks, labour and inspection costs of such fabrications, whilst offering much higher productivity.

This project has received funding from Innovate UK, grant agreement: 3534/104220. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

Demonstration Day

There will be a demonstration day held at TWI Ltd (10:00-14:30), followed by an optional visit to Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (14:30-17:00) to view the Ebflow system, on the 20th July 2021.

A maximum of 25 physically attending visitors can be accommodated at TWI. For those unable to attend, a live stream of the presentations will be offered.

The full agenda is as follows:

  • 10:00 – 12:30: Technical presentations
  • 12:30 – 14:00: Lunch and demonstrator viewing
  • 14:00 – 14:30: Presentation and closing remarks
  • 14:30 – 15:00: Travel to CVE (transport not provided)
  • 15:00 – 17:00: Equipment showcasing at CVE

 

Please register for the event on TWI’s website by following this link.

Chris Punshon Joins CVE as Head of New Energy Applications

Press Release
New Appointment

CVE is excited to announce the appointment of Chris Punshon as the Head of New Energy Applications at our head office in Cambridge.

Chris brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from the energy, power and renewables industries, which will be utilised to build on CVE’s existing zero-carbon project portfolio.

Chris’ career in engineering began in 1983, after graduating from the University of Sheffield with an honours degree in Metallurgy B.Met (hons). He then joined TWI Ltd, one of the foremost independent research and technology organisations where he worked for 38 years, starting as a Project Leader and leaving as Industry Group Manager Power and New Energy.

Towards Net-Zero Emissions

During his career, he has directed many ground-breaking research and development projects relating to welding and joining, material properties, and other advanced technologies; in collaboration with a wide range of clients and partners throughout key industries such as oil and gas, renewable energy and power generation.

With growing numbers of countries committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, new energy applications have never been more important.

As such, Chris’ role will focus on further commercialisation of Ebflow within applications such as offshore wind, pressure vessels (small- and micro-modular reactors SMR and MMRs), as well as hydrogen encapsulation and transportation.

Ebflow is a local vacuum power beam welding technology that brings all the advantages of electron beam and laser welding (productivity, repeatability, accuracy), to the fabrication of large structures of unlimited size, achieving high joint completion rates. Therefore, Chris will be at the forefront of developing its adoption within zero-carbon, new energy applications.

Engineering and Innovation

Chris is also a Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Professional Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (MIMMM), as well as a Fellow of The Welding Institute (FWeldI) – a testament to his experience, reputation, and contribution to the community of welding, joining, and allied technologies.

CVE would like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris to the organisation as we look forward to continuing CVE’s commitment to engineering and innovation together.

 

Dogger Bank Wind Farm to Pioneer Ebflow

Press Release
Ground Breaking Joint Effort: Dogger Bank Wind Farm to Pioneer Ebflow Technology

The developers of the world’s largest offshore wind farm will carry out the first large-scale pilot of Ebflow for the welding of monopiles, which will reduce welding times by as much as 80%.

CVE’s Ebflow technology is expected to be used at the Dogger Bank A phase of the wind farm, to fabricate welds on offshore wind foundation monopiles, reducing the time it takes to carry out the task from several hours to a matter of minutes.

It will be the first time that reduced pressure electron beam (RPEB) has been used on a large-scale offshore infrastructure project and will take place under a collaborative project named RapidWeld.

The RapidWeld Project

The RapidWeld project aims to create an industry-approved weld process for offshore wind, which is more productive and sustainable than established methods while reducing energy and material costs significantly.

The project team comprises of:

  • SSE Renewables, a leading developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland
  • Sif, a global leading manufacturer of offshore foundations
  • TWI, the UK’s foremost welding research establishment
  • Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, the designer and manufacturer of Ebflow
How Ebflow Works

Ebflow is a reduced pressure electron beam (RPEB) technology that uses heat generated by a beam of high energy electrons to make a high strength and durable welded steel join, cleanly and efficiently.

Ebflow uses a local vacuum, allowing the system to be readily transported and operated on-site and applied to structures significantly larger than those that can be accommodated in a vacuum chamber.

Ebflow will streamline the fabrication process for offshore wind farms, further increasing the efficiency of large-scale projects and demonstrating increased cost-effectiveness of renewable energy for consumers.

Ebflow will also reduce the carbon emissions associated with the traditional welding methods by 90%.

The RapidWeld project is expected to develop methods that outstrip existing welding technology and reduce the costs of future offshore wind foundation monopiles by up to 20%.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm

A joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, SSE Renewables is leading the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank, while Equinor will operate the wind farm on operation. When complete, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

 

Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm said:

“This is a ‘first-in-class’ project, establishing this UK innovation as world-leading technology. With monopile type foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations used in UK projects, Ebflow RPEB could realise significant cost savings on future projects.

“These substantial savings will not only benefit the UK offshore engineering industry but could be passed on to UK energy consumers.

“It’s exciting that Ebflow is being used at Dogger Bank – a project which continues to contribute to the UK economy by creating jobs and supporting to the supply chain. No doubt, other offshore projects across the world could ultimately benefit from what the RapidWeld partnership achieves.”

 

The project has been made possible with a smart grant of £600k from Innovate UK, which is part of the UK Government-backed Research and Innovation organisation.

Sif will be responsible for the fabrication and supply of 190 monopiles and primary steel for the transition pieces, as well as for the marshalling of all foundation components for the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

 

Chief Operating Officer for Sif, Frank Kevenaar said:

“We see great potential in the Ebflow RPEB welding process for thick section welding. Reduced distortion and elimination of filler material are, amongst others, great advantages. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative project that is joining forces and expertise to create new cost-effective production methods.”

Submerged Arc Welding vs Ebflow

Ebflow can reduce the time needed to weld a monopile by 95%, whilst being 94% more energy efficient, resulting in a 98% overall cost reduction – compared to traditional submerged arc welding (SAW) – based on a typical specification of a 60 metre long, 8 metre diameter monopile, with a wall thickness of 80mm.

 

 

View the full datasheet here or find out more about Ebflow here.

CVE Incorporate New Office In Beijing, China

Press Release
Chinese Office Now Open

The incorporation of Aquasium Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd is now complete, allowing CVE to meet the demands of continued growth in the region and ensuring our customers continue to receive first class support. CVE’s office is located in The Exchange Twin Towers, which has a world-class landscape design and high-end IT infrastructure. The details of the new office are:

Aquasium Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd

Suite 5, East Tower, 10th Floor

B12 Jianguomenwai Avenue

Beijing

100022

People’s Republic of China

 

Figure 1. The Exchange Twin Towers, Beijing.

CVE Partner with Pennsylvania College of Technology

Press Release
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s First Electron Beam Welder

CVE have partnered with Pennsylvania College of Technology who are poised to be pioneers in education for the electron beam welding process.

Electron beam (EB) welding is used in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, energy, nuclear, semiconductor and sensor technology. As of 2013, the American Welding Society estimated there were 3,000 electron beam welders in operation globally.

The process can produce very thin welds that can range from one-thousandth of an inch to 2 inches deep. The resulting bead is so thin, explains Michael R. Allen, instructor of welding and co-head of the department, that it requires a magnifying glass to see the detail. The process also provides efficient energy transfer, which results in low heat output and makes it safe to seal sensitive internal electronics packages into devices.

 

Students are eager for it to become part of their hands-on education

“The thing that excites me the most about Cambridge Vacuum Engineering’s electron beam welder is that it will raise the bar, academically, for Penn College welding students”, said Nathaniel H. Lyon, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology. “To gain a mastery of any process, it’s important to understand how that process works. Well, with EB welding, there are some exciting physics principles involved that I think will push students outside of their critical-thinking ‘comfort zones’ – and that’s where real learning happens!”

A 60kV welder resides in a dedicated lab within the addition to the Lycoming Engines Metal Trade Centre, which opened to students in the fall and was dedicated in February 2020. The expansion nearly doubled the centre’s instructional space and allowed the college to accept more welding students, eliminating the popular program’s traditional waiting list. Construction of the 35,000-square-foot facility was funded in part by a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Figure 1 and 2. The 60kV electron beam welding machine situated at Pennsylvania College of Technology

PARTNERSHIP WITH INDUSTRY

The new equipment, which includes the electron beam welder, and many other industry-standard technologies, not only expands learning opportunities for students but also benefits companies that had already been scrambling to hire the college’s real-world ready welding graduates.

The electron beam welder was acquired through a partnership with Cambridge Vacuum Engineering of England with sales and service based in Agawam, Massachusetts.

“Industry has been calling us and asking us if our students have any training on this type of equipment,” Allen said, “now we can actually say yes.”

Each year more than 200 Penn College students will gain hands-on experience with the EB welder.

“I have read job postings that asked for experience in electron beam welding,” the soon-to-graduate Lyon said. “That used to be a little intimidating, but it won’t be for long.”

“Giving them (students) the opportunity to have hands-on exposure to this stuff I think is going to bring them to a whole new level, and is going to take us with them,” said Ryan P. Good, assistant professor of welding.

Good, Allen and four other welding faculty members received training on a similar EB welder at CVE Inc. in Massachusetts before the college’s equipment was delivered. After a day and a half of training, Tony Slater, technical sales manager for Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, gave the group a quiz. “They scored higher than I’ve seen anyone do before”, Slater said.

Slater was the driving force within Cambridge Vacuum Engineering for the placement of the welder at Penn College.

“After visiting (Penn College), I realised they are forward thinking, and their attitude toward the students would be a perfect match for us,” Slater said.

The expansion of the Penn College welding lab has also brought the addition of a laser welding cell, a dedicated CNC robotic welding lab, an air pressure-controlled specialised welding room, additional capabilities and space for non-destructive testing, rigging and crane operations for work with larger parts, expanded space for pipe welding, and space for hands—on training in Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

Pennsylvania College of Technology currently offers the following courses:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Welding and fabrication
  • Engineering technology
  • Associate Degree
  • Metal fabrication technology
  • Welding technology
  • Certificate
  • Welding

Ebflow Set To Fast-Track Manufacturing Projects

Press Release
Revolutionary New Electron Beam Welding Technology Set To Fast-Track Large Manufacturing Projects

A new technology could improve the efficiency of large-scale manufacturing projects by enabling firms to perform electron beam welding without a vacuum chamber.

Ebflow, which features a local coarse vacuum that can be transported to and operated on site, has been developed by Cambridge Vacuum Engineering and was launched on 1st January 2018.

The technology is designed to simplify the process of thick section welding in the manufacture of a wide range of large structures including ships, pressure vessels, wind farms and towers, nuclear plants, and many of the structures involved in oil and gas exploration and civil engineering projects.

To date it’s only been possible to perform electron beam welding – a key technology in the fabrication of large, heavy wall structures – at sites equipped with a vacuum chamber large enough to house the structures under manufacture.

But Ebflow’s coarse vacuum can be mounted on tracks and operated locally. The technology can be used in any plant where large components are welded. In tests, Ebflow has been shown to be 20 to 30 times faster than conventional arc welding, offering transformational gains in productivity. At the same time, it uses less power than conventional arc processes, lowering a plant’s carbon footprint.

Among the myriad of other benefits are the ability to perform low-heat input welds that result in reduced distortion – ensuring quality – and the option to perform NDT testing immediately after welding, fast-tracking the manufacturing process and driving down costs.

Speaking ahead of the launch Bob Nicolson, Managing Director at Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, said: “This technology will transform the productivity of fabrication processes throughout the world of heavy engineering. In many cases the speed of welding can be 30 times faster than current methods. The technology has been fully developed and pioneered in Britain and we are now ready to introduce it to the world.”

 

Figure 1. Operation of an Ebflow system.

GET IN TOUCH

If you’d like to know more about our products or would like to speak to one of our team, then please get in touch via telephone or e-mail. We look forward to hearing from you!