Eco-friendly welding technology designed
The Centre for Materials Joining and Research of Annamalai University has indigenously designed and developed an “eco-friendly welding technology” that would have varied applications in critical areas such as armaments, aero-space, nuclear reactors and cryogenic engines.
Professor V.Balasubramanian of the centre told The Hindu that efforts were being made to get patent for the modern technology which is academically known as “computer numerical controlled friction stir welding.” It would dispense with electrodes and gases that are normally used in conventional welding. And as such it would be free from arc glare, radiation and fumes, and therefore, less hazardous.
The new technology would also cut down turnout time and increase production and productivity.
Mr Balasubramanian further said that the innovative technology in welding and surface engineering initiated by him in the centre (which forms part of the Department of Manufacturing Engineering of the university) had earned him the coveted Dr DRG Achar Memorial Distinguished Academician Award 2013.
The award instituted by the Indian Welding Society was handed over to him by A.V.Krishnan, executive director Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Tiruchi, recently. Mr. Balasubramanian, who has to his credit 21 years of teaching and research experience and has guided 25 Ph.D scholars and published 250 research articles, further said that usually the welded portion would be the weak point as it would have the same strength as that of the base materials.
The new procedure would address the problem by increasing the strength of welded portion to 80 per cent against 60 per cent obtained under the conventional system.
The turn around time could also be increased by three to four times. In other words under the conventional method only 30 mm could be covered in a minute whereas under the new process 100 mm could be covered in a minute.
In safety aspects too it scored over the age-old and staid technology. Mr Balasubramanian said that thanks to the financial support extended by All India Council for Technical Education, the university had developed the new technology. Initially, it could handle only soft metals such as aluminium, magnesium, copper and brass.
However, with further funding from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the machinery had been scaled up to deal with high-strength metals such as titanium.
Fabrication of the machine had been entrusted to R.V. Machine Tolls at Coimbatore. With technical inputs, the company had already churning out new machines.
Such indigenous production would drastically cut down the production cost; while the imported machine would cost Rs 6 crore its indigenous version could be obtained for Rs 75 lakh. Mr Balasubramanian noted that to start with, Rs 10 lakh machines for low-end use were being manufactured.
The beneficial fall-out of the innovation was that the university had obtained research and development projects worth Rs 6.65 crore from Defence Research and Development Organisation, Indian Space Research Organisation, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, he added.
New technology is expected to cut down turnout time and increase productivity