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Engineers at MetLase have been developing Industry 4.0 sensor technology to monitor welding processes within the aerospace industry. This provides greater assurance for the welder prior to welding the components, and provides the information needed for continuous improvement of the process to further reduce defects.
A major aerospace engine manufacturer approached MetLase to design and manufacture a customised system for controlled argon delivery within shielded welding with application to R&D and full production.
Welding exotic metals such nickel based super-alloys and titanium requires inert gases to ensure a quality weld. Gas shields provide a controlled atmosphere,
protecting the weld from atmospheric gases such as oxygen or water vapour, and must do this to better than 10 parts per million.
Welding exotic metals such nickel based super-alloys and titanium requires inert gases to ensure a quality weld. Gas shields provide a controlled atmosphere, protecting the weld from atmospheric gases such as oxygen or water vapour, and must do this to better than 10 parts per million.
Working closely with the customer, MetLase specialist engineers created an initial design, iterated and improved it based on operator feedback.
Perfect Welding
Using the precision laser cutter and patented joining methodology, the engineers were able to manufacture an innovative solution using a metallic foam material that dissipated the argon gas in a precision manner, providing an almost perfect inert atmosphere for the welding process. Providing a transferable solution to other welding applications, this was chosen due to the robustness required to meet the customer’s stringent acceptance criteria.
“To provide a bespoke, flexible solution really gave the team a significant challenge, but this also gave us the opportunity to integrate digital technologies and techniques that would provide game-changing solutions to the welding process. The aerospace industry has stringent quality standards to meet, and we required a solution that would allow the product to be deployed across civil engine variants”
explains Jon Ham, MetLase’s lead engineer on the project. 
Significant Re-work Reduction
“Using a Metlase Gas Shield provides a significant reduction in welding rework. We are now able to create similar designs on this concept, making it possible to deliver new variants of MetLase Shields in just 2 weeks
he continued.
From initial design, to manufacture and support, the sensor concept creates an opportunity to read measurement properties, monitoring these sensor outputs over a period of time can offer insights into equipment performance. MetLase is using this concept, combined with research across all digital technologies to contribute to the development of wider MetLase Digital Manufacturing Solutions which can be used across multiple sectors and applications.