A pioneering Low-Stress No-Distortion (LSND) welding technology using cryogenic cooling technology from BOC has been shortlisted for another major technology award.
MALCO, a collaborative research and development project between British industry and academia, is one of the finalists in the prestigious UK Engineering Technology and Innovation Awards, set to take place in December.
It is the second time that MALCO – Creating Opportunities for the Manufacture of Lightweight Components – has been recognised for engineering excellence. Earlier this year it won ‘Best Research and Development Project’ in the Metal Working Production (MWP) Awards, a coveted accolade in advanced manufacturing technology.
The project is the result of a wide-ranging inter-disciplinary effort. BOC (a member of The Linde Group), Bentley Motors, Comau-Estil, Dytel Technologies, Isotek, Komatsu, ThyssenKrupp Tallent, TWI and The University of Strathclyde were all instrumental in the engineering solution to this new way of welding. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) co-funded it.
MALCO addresses the distortion that occurs to a welded structure as a part of the welding process. It pioneers a Low-Stress No-Distortion (LSND) welding system that utilises CO2 cryogenic cooling technology on the same side as the arc.
Innovative mathematical modelling of the LSND process helped to bring the venture to life. It predicted optimal material performance and negated the need for a lot of expensive and time-consuming trials.
Says BOC’s Senior Technical Specialist Walter Veldsman, “After four years in development we are delighted that MALCO has been recognised for engineering excellence.
“The significance of MALCO is that it enables cooling on the same side of the arc. Critically, the CO2 used in the process is contained close to the weld pool but does not interfere with it. By working together we have overcome the problem of delivering and extracting the coolant in a manner suitable for an industrial environment. Critically, the solution does not restrict access to the welding joint and the general application but it significantly reduces distortion.”
Roger O’Brien from ThyssenKrupp Tallent adds, “This is an excellent example of how the combined knowledge of industry, engineering and academia can come together to deliver practical solutions with measurable business benefit. The innovation is now the subject of a joint patent application.”
The MALCO project offers significant commercial potential. Intended for robotic welding systems, it cuts manufacturing time and costs because it mitigates the need for additional measures and materials to counteract distortion. It also facilitates weight reduction. This, in turn, delivers measurable business benefit. In the global automotive industry for example, it translates into energy-efficient engineering and lighter vehicles with lower emissions.