MTC takes delivery of revolutionary new lasers

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry has joined forces with a world leading provider of high power fibre lasers, IPG Photonics, in a partnership aimed at driving forward laser processing in UK manufacturing.

As part of the partnership between the MTC and IPG Photonics, the MTC has taken delivery of advanced high power fibre lasers which have the potential to make a major impact on high value manufacturing and materials processing in the UK.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty Park, Coventry.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Ansty Park, Coventry.

IPG and the MTC will work together to develop new manufacturing systems for materials processing and advanced applications.

The new equipment – among the first in Europe – enables manufacturers to reduce costs while improving productivity and quality. It combines multi-axis flexibility, high speed machining and minute accuracy.

The equipment has a high operating efficiency and is also more compact than traditional lasers, allowing better use of factory space and reducing the need for multiple machines.

Working with experts from IPG, MTC engineers will be able to develop new processes which might have been technically possible in the past, but weren’t viable in volume manufacture due to cost and complexity.

The Manufacturing Technology Centre opened in 2010 and is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturers and three forward-thinking universities: Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough as well as TWI Ltd, the operating division of The Welding Institute.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK, formerly the Technology Strategy Board.

Mark Thompson, director of sales at IPG Photonics (UK), commented: “IPG is committed to the MTC’s vision of inspiring British manufacturing on a global stage.

“Fibre laser technology can be scaled to meet market needs. That allows the supply chain to rapidly open up new opportunities in the aerospace; automotive; rail, and industrial sectors. Fibre laser technology provides significant benefits of high speed processing combined with higher quality and lower cost.”

IPG and MTC engineers are already working closely with MTC member Rolls-Royce to develop new processes and applications for fibre laser technology.

Rolls-Royce’s global process owner for laser processing, Clive Grafton-Reed said: “Rolls-Royce is committed to being at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and the MTC is our preferred partner for the development of laser based processes.

“It is critical that the MTC has access to leading-edge equipment and by having strong, engaged partners such as IPG, a capability can be built at the MTC which delivers industry changing solutions which we hope to develop and deploy in the future.”

MTC chief executive, Dr Clive Hickman said that attracting a distinguished international name with the capabilities of IPG to the MTC was a major achievement.

“We now have more than 85 industrial member companies across a wide range of sectors. We are working with the world’s elite engineers and manufacturers and growing at a rate that couldn’t have been envisaged when we were established,” he said.