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University partnership with ITP Aero receives £1.5 million funding boost

They are celebrating after being awarded Government funding to support a three-year Laser Welding research and development project

The three-year project, known as LADDER (Laser Automation and Design Development for future Engine Requirements), will see a total investment of £2.59m, both from ITP Aero itself and the Government’s Innovation Funding Service. This significant milestone reflects a shared commitment to investing in technology across the East Midlands.

Also a research partner on the project is the Manufacturing and Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. Together with the university and ITP, they will bring world-class expertise to the project, with the aim of developing and implementing an innovative laser beam welding (LBW) solution, as a robust joining technology for complex sheet-metal aeroengine fabrications.

The use of laser beam welding produces narrow welds with a small heat-affected zone, at high production rates. The highly repeatable process offering low-distortion will be used in the short term to reduce the costs associated with non-conformance. In the longer term, it is recognised that stringent new emissions targets will necessitate further increases in engine temperatures, meaning higher performance and more complex products will be needed. Design specifically for LBW will enable increased functional capability to be achieved on a range of commodities, while at the same time increasing integrity and cost competitiveness.

Rob Mitchell, Head of Engineering for ITP Aero UK said: “This is a real milestone for us in ITP Aero UK. We are a young company in the UK, but a site with a huge amount of aerospace heritage. This is our first stand-alone project where we have sought and secured Government funding and underlines our commitment to invest in the UK in line with our research priorities. I am delighted we are able to work closely with our partners in the MTC and University of Nottingham to develop this industry leading capability in the UK.”

Read more here.