The project aims to revolutionise the way ships' hulls are repaired by the transfer of Friction Stir Welding technology into underwater vessel repair. It will develop an innovative portable Underwater Friction Stir Welding robotic system, a modular fabrication with FSW capability, and a digital platform to support them.
We will combine FSW with the new tool material to deliver:
- The introduction of low-cost Friction Stir Welding (FSW) systems for steel that can be retrofitted to their existing CNC machines;
- The introduction of AI-enabled, robotic FSW systems capable of making underwater weld repairs.
The system will make processes safer, faster, and more cost-efficient than conventional welding. Practically, this will allow ships damaged anywhere in the world will have the option of being repaired in place without the need to travel to the nearest dry dock. It will also allow ship owners to choose the most suitable yards to conduct their repairs rather than the nearest. The repairs may be undertaken by yards with no dry dock of their own, thus significantly increasing the number of yards able to undertake such work. All of this will be implemented by the European shipyards and Naval architects in Europe.