TWI has recently launched a collaborative project that will accelerate research in laser welding of titanium and help secure the UK’s place at the forefront of aerospace technology innovation. The OLIVER (optimised laser welding implementation via enabling research) project will see TWI working with six other UK-based organisations on a programme of research that has recently been awarded more than GBP 1.1M funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
OLIVER will develop the laser welding of titanium to bring it to industrial maturity for the aerospace sector. Alongside TWI and Hutchinson, the project consortium comprises the Northern Ireland Technology Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, IPG Photonics and, as end beneficiaries of the project along with Hutchinson, Leonardo Helicopters (previously AgustaWestland) and TISICS.
The partners will work together to develop and demonstrate industrial welding of structural titanium to ensure the advancement of aerospace technology. Other potential applications include thin-sheet titanium assemblies and novel components employing silicon carbide fibre-reinforced titanium composites, offering 30–70% weight savings.