Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE) – a specialist in power beam welding based in Waterbeach – has been shortlisted for an Engineering & Manufacturing Award for its Ebflow technology.

CVE is in the ‘Manufacturing Technology Innovation’ category, which recognises innovative manufacturing techniques that are having a tangible impact across industry.

First-ever micro modular reactor demonstrator, welded using Ebflow, built by Cambridge Vacuum Engineering

CVE has more than 60 years’ experience manufacturing electron beam (EB) systems in industrial sectors including aerospace, nuclear, automotive, oil and gas, and sensors. Around 95 per cent of its systems are exported, with primary markets in the US, China, India, and Europe.

Ebflow is a system of sliding seals and precision handling enables fast longitudinal and circumferential welds on large workpieces. The technique speeds up the making of infrastructure components such as wind turbines and small modular nuclear reactors – key enablers in the transition towards a net-zero future.

Recently Ebflow was used to fast-track the production of a monopile foundation for an offshore wind turbine for Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The monopile transition piece, created using Ebflow, was part of RapidWeld – a ground-breaking project funded by Innovate UK and led by a consortium including SSE Renewables, CVE, DNV, Sif Netherlands B.V, Agile NDT and The Welding Institute (TWI).

Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE) from left are Clive Law; Roger Smith, purchasing supervisor; Chris Punshon, director of Ebflow Research, Development and Applications; Chris Clarke; Conrad Dumont, senior mechanical design engineer; Phil Konradt, Ebflow project manager, and Greg Wallace, engineering manager. Picture: Keith Heppell

The RapidWeld project team achieved welding speeds at least 25 times faster than the current default manufacturing method. Production required 90 per cent less energy, cost 88 per cent less, and produced 97 per cent less CO2 emissions.

Ebflow also recently helped Sheffield Forgemasters cut the amount of time needed to weld a small modular reactor (SMR) pressure vessel demonstrator from more than a year, to less than 24 hours – a move that could help reshape the future of nuclear reactor production worldwide and bridge the gap in the UK’s energy market.

Bob Nicolson, managing director at Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, said: “Being shortlisted for this national award is testament to the ground-breaking nature of our Ebflow technology and the outstanding results it is delivering.

Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE), the electron beam and laser welding specialists based in Waterbeach, has been shortlisted at the Engineering & Manufacturing Awards for its ground-breaking Ebflow technology. Chris Punshon is director of Ebflow Research, Development and Applications. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Faster, leaner, and cleaner, Ebflow can help accelerate manufacturing across an array of applications, and in the case of the energy industry, could be the key to speeding up the drive toward a new era of sustainable energy production.”

Chris Punshon, director of Ebflow Research, Development and Applications at CVE said: “This national award recognition underscores our commitment to driving innovation and sustainability forwards in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. It also highlights the significant impact that Ebflow is making in advancing the transition to net zero.”

The final is on 4 September at the London Marriott Hotel.



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