News

  • 10 Sep 2020 8:43 AM | Anonymous

    It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Thomas Houldcroft, a former Director of Research for TWI. He passed away peacefully, aged 97, on 3 August 2020, with his family rightfully announcing that “he was much loved and will be hugely missed.”

    As a metallurgist, Peter began his career with the aluminium producer James Booth before moving to join the research arm of The Institute of Welding, the British Welding Research Association (BWRA). He worked from the London Park Crescent office, which was where the BWRA’s metallurgical research was undertaken, and worked on the welding of Al alloys. His early work focused on TIG welding behaviour before he began to research the joint properties of the newly-invented MIG welding process, which had been imported from the USA. As MIG welding became the worldwide process of choice for welding thicker Al alloys, Peter was a team member of the first UK-based demonstration project of an all-welded Al superstructure for a Thames launch.

    It was around the same time that Peter developed the Fishbone test to quantify the cracking resistance of welded Mg alloys for aircraft fuel tanks and nuclear fuel canisters. He was then was at the forefront of a BWRA team developing weldable high strength Al alloys for military bridging and aircraft undercarriages.

    BWRA’s Engineering Department had been based at Abington near Cambridge since 1946 and, in 1956, the London-based Metallurgy Group was moved to the same location. Peter moved with the group and went on to propose that welding research activities should be separated from metallurgy and engineering research, leading to the creation of a new Welding Technology Group, which Peter headed up. By 1964, Peter had taken over from Alan Wells as Director of Research after Alan left for the Queens University of Belfast.

    It was during the early 1960s that Peter developed what was possibly his greatest contribution to engineering with the creation of what would later become a multi-billion pound industry. The BWRA was working with the British Navy and the Services Electronic Research Laboratory (SERL) on the development of laser welding. Peter used his expertise in metal cutting to propose the use of coaxially delivered oxygen for the laser cutting of metals. Despite being refused a patent application by the German examining body of the time, the idea and ensuing research eventually went on to create the worldwide laser cutting industry.

    This ground-breaking research was not Peter’s only breakthrough at BWRA, as he also directed the build of the world’s first 2kW fast axial flow CO2 laser. This was the beginning of a new era concerned with the development of high power gas lasers for welding and cutting of metals, which was rapidly pursued worldwide.

    His contributions to laser technology led to Peter being awarded the first ever UK Association of Industrial Laser Users’ medal in 1997, some eleven years after his retirement. Speaking at the time, Peter announced, “It has been 30 years since I invented gas assisted laser cutting at TWI and 11 years since I retired, so I quite expected that the event would have been forgotten.”

    Of course, Peter’s expertise in laser processes could not be easily forgotten as he remained an expert in laser welding technology and in Al alloys until he retired from TWI (as the BWRA became) in 1986.

    However, his influence over the continuing work of TWI can be felt today as Peter set up the first integrated Research Board in 1966 after all of the previous Research Committees were disbanded. This programme continues to work with many of the leading names in industry to guide the direction of TWI’s Core Research Programme. As part of his work with the Research Board, Peter won a succession of government grants to support a large programme of basic and applied research. Many TWI developments, which had worldwide impact, originated from this pioneering programme.

    Outside of his work for TWI, Peter gave his time and support to the Institution of Metallurgists, becoming President in 1981 and then being elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1985. He also authored many papers and books on welding technology, including ‘Which Process?’ and 'Welding and Cutting - a Guide to Fusion Welding and Associated Cutting Processes', which was co-authored with Bob John.

    Following retirement, Peter wrote a 50 year history of the BWRA/TWI, which was published in 1996. The excellent book provides a detailed record of the early years of the BWRA, its staff and the formation and subsequent growth of TWI into an internationally recognised centre of excellence in joining and associated technologies.

    For all of his many achievements, it is perhaps the tributes paid by those who worked alongside him that demonstrate the calibre of Peter Houldcroft as a person.

    Richard Dolby, himself a former TWI Director of Research and Technology, said, “In all my dealings with Peter Houldcroft, he was always polite and kind, an inherently modest man and a mentor and role model to me for many years. Looking back, we had almost identical career paths and we were both fortunate to be able to contribute to an expanding and successful engineering organisation, which was internationally recognised as a centre of excellence. Peter's contribution to laser technology worldwide has been well documented and is a wonderful legacy coming from a long and successful career.”

    A former colleague of Peter’s from TWI, Steve Jones, revealed, “Peter was the first person I met at TWI when I arrived for interview in early 1971. He struck me as a man with wide interests - in addition to a technical discussion we spent a fair amount of time talking about Stonehenge!” He continued, “Peter’s technical contributions were correspondingly wide-ranging, including working with Arthur Smith and George Salter on the development of CO2 welding and the first development of laser cutting. I remember Peter as a supportive manager, concerned with staff welfare as well as technical excellence,” adding, “In retirement he took a great interest in the history of Royston cave, publishing an analysis of its original internal structure and possible use by the Templars.”

    Peter Houldcroft not only impacted engineering and the work of TWI with his many years of service, but also had a profound effect on all those who met him and will be greatly missed.

  • 21 Aug 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    The Engineering Council has announced that they are putting a freeze on fees for 2021, meaning there will be no increase in fees next year.

    This decision has been put in place to address the current economic pressures and has been made in the interests of the industry as a whole. This will mean that the current 2020 fee structure will remain unchanged and they are offering further reduced annual fees for registrants experiencing financial hardship. Please click here to find out more about this.

    As many of our Members will be aware, the professional registration fees fund the Engineering Council in its role as the regulatory body for the UK engineering profession and, therefore, it has been an important decision to support itself and its registrants within these times.

    Please see the Engineering Council’s full press release with further details here. 


  • 21 Aug 2020 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    The Welding Institute will be hosting a webinar on ‘Nature’s way of making amazing materials, especially spiders,’ on 27 August 2020.

    Nature’s way of making amazing materials, especially spiders!

    The Welding Institute will be hosting a webinar looking at the historical development of new materials and the potentials within the biomimetic (natural materials) industries in pushing materials science to a new and increasingly more sustainable level.

    Speaker Christopher Punshon CEng FWeldI

    Chris Punshon, Fellow of The Welding Institute, is an Industry Sector Manager for Power and New Energy at TWI. His experience involves working within the power beam (EB) welding and application field, business development in decarbonisation of power production and energy transition including wind, geothermal power, and nuclear power plant waste and decommissioning, fusion development and next generation nuclear power plant sectors.

    Benefits of Attending:

    This is a CPD qualifying event with the opportunity to gain 2 CPD points per hour of the event. Members are also able to record these points using our online recording tool 'mycareerpath’ within the Membership Portal.

    Attending our online events is a great way to keep engaged with the Institute during these times.

    Click here to register for this event.


    Not a Member?

    You can still attend our events and online webinars but by joining The Welding Institute as a Member, you are able to access recordings of our webinars that you cannot attend!

    Check out our Membership and Registration page to see which membership grade you qualify for:

    Membership and Registration


  • 18 Aug 2020 1:23 PM | Anonymous

    WEC Group Ltd and The Welding Institute

    The Welding Institute has had a long association with WEC Group Ltd through the Association of Welding, Training, Fabrication and Education (AWFTE) and, in particular, through the SkillWeld and Construction Metalwork competitions.

    The AWFTE aims to support and promote a standard of excellence in welding, joining and fabrication by providing current and progressive knowledge of practices from around the world to the trainers and educators of our future engineers.

    We believe that by encouraging the development of knowledge in our educators, we not only promote advancement in new ideas, but also encourage lifelong learning in their students and future generations. WEC Group Ltd provide an excellent example of how, by working together, the Institute, industry and educators can all support the next generation of engineers.


    About Kieran McShane

    After leaving school at age 16, Kieran decided to pursue an apprenticeship with the WEC Group Ltd. During his time at the WEC Group Ltd, Kieran entered the WorldSkills UK competition 2019 at the age of just 17 and proved his skills through being awarded the silver medal. As a result of this success, Kieran has been selected to join the Squad UK to compete and represent the UK within the Construction Metalwork Category at the WorldSkills Competition, which is due to take place in Shanghai, 2021.

    The Welding Institute would like to congratulate Kieran on this success and wish him luck with the global WorldSkills Competition next year!

    Read more about Kieran McShane and his career on WEC Group Ltd.’s website here.

  • 6 Aug 2020 1:35 PM | Anonymous

    This webinar will look into the brittle crack arrest methodology and the way that it can be applied to prevent brittle fracture of modern structural steels, especially within the context of shipbuilding steels. The talk will consider the recommendations of the International Association of Classification Societies, which is due to be updated to include small-scale testing of materials. This work encompasses small-scale testing, which has been carried out at TWI Ltd to predict the brittle crack arrest properties of EH47 shipbuilding steel and is validated against large-scale test results.

    Speaker: Jessica Taylor Interim CEng AWeldI

    TWI’s Jessica Taylor is a PhD student in Structural Integrity of Offshore Structures with NSIRC and Cranfield University, sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Foundation. Her PhD topic is, ‘Using small scale mechanical tests to predict the crack arrest properties of modern structural steels.’ You can find out more about Jessica’s PhD project and research on NSIRC’s website.

    Professional Development:

    This webinar is a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) qualifying event with the opportunity to claim 2 CPD points per hour of attendance at the webinar.


    Find out more and register here!


  • 27 Jul 2020 2:23 PM | Anonymous

    TWI Training and Examinations’ Senior Examiner and Welding Institute Technician Member, Rob Allsworth EngTech TechWeldI, will be delivering a presentation on ‘Life as a Site Welder in Industry’ on 30 July, 2020.

    During these current times, uncertainties around career choices and opportunities are high and, as a Professional Engineering Institution, The Welding Institute is dedicated in using our network of experienced personnel to communicate the advantages of choosing a career in engineering and welding.

    Rob is a Senior Examiner for TWI Training and Examinations with previous experience of working as a Site Welder. His talk will include his professional experiences along with the current challenges being faced within the welding industry. In addition to providing an informative presentation of experiences, Rob’s talk will also offer knowledge, support and advice for those considering a career in this rewarding role.

    Now more than ever, a career in engineering and welding is becoming more accessible. Increased support and encouragement, including new apprenticeship policies and opportunities, is allowing more people to choose this career path. Attend this event to gain a deeper insight into what the role entails and how The Welding Institute is able to support you through our Associate Membership and Younger Members Network!

    This is a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) qualifying event with the opportunity to gain 2 points per hour of attendance.

    Find out more about this event and how to register! 

  • 13 Jul 2020 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    The Welding Institute will be hosting a webinar about ‘Predicting the Microstructure of Additively Manufactured Parts,’ which will be presented by Madie Allen on 16 July, 2020.

    Speaker

    Guest speaker Madie Allen is a National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) student at Brunel University London sponsored by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and will be presenting this webinar. View Madie’s NSIRC student profile and research here!

    Event Topic

    The webinar will look into how additive manufacturing (AM) enables complex and highly optimised parts, which would not be able to be manufactured using conventional methods such as casting or forging, to be produced. The presentation also covers the potential of additive manufacturing to provide significant environmental impacts as well as how the wide-scale adoption of additive manufacturing is limited due to uncertainties associated with the reliability and integrity of additively manufactured parts. The webinar will also outline the development of numerical models that can help to address these problems.

    Benefits of attending

    • Attending this webinar supports your Continuous Professional Development (CPD). You are able to claim 2 CPD points per hour of attendance at this event and, as a Member of The Welding Institute, you can record this CPD activity using our online CPD recording tool ‘MyCareerPath.’
    • Webinars are a great opportunity for you to stay connected whilst keeping your industry knowledge up-to-date.

    Find out the full details and register for the event here.


  • 10 Jul 2020 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    As a Professional Engineering Institution, The Welding Institute is dedicated to ensuring our Members’ professional needs are met.

    To meet this need, The Welding Institute has had to adapt to the current situation that we are all facing and, although this change is challenging for everyone, it has also been an incredible opportunity for us to implement new ways of providing our services so that our Members can still access their membership benefits effectively.


    Changes that Members may have noticed include:

    Formal interviews are now taking place over video call, therefore cutting out the travel times and allowing The Institute to effectively reach more people, including globally!

    Events are now being hosted online and are reaching a more global network of people than ever. The Welding Institute also understands the true value of face to face events and the networking opportunities they offer, however, these online events are an excellent way to keep our Members connected through these times.

    The Institute is pleased to see the increasing interconnectedness of our Branches as they adapt to connecting through online mediums including video calls. It has been an opportunity for more people to get involved due to the reduced time and travel restraints of conducting Secretary and Board meetings online. This increased interconnectedness has also allowed Members from different Branches to attend and contribute to other Branch events and meetings.

    The process of training volunteers has also changed for The Welding Institute, where we have been able to train more volunteers in one cohort than ever using online video call meetings. This has also enabled a more global reach for the Institute, with Members in Scotland, Nigeria, Switzerland and Anglesey being trained. This is an exciting opportunity for The Welding Institute, as the roles that our volunteers carry out allow more Members to be reached as well as allowing us to connect with engineers and technicians more globally.

    To implement these new technologies and processes, The Welding Institute has worked closely with its Members, including those who carry out critical roles within Branches, to learn new systems and technologies and we would like thank all of those who worked with us on this to ensure that this process has been successful!

    The Welding Institute would like to thank our Members and volunteers for their continued support, contributions and response to the new ways that The Welding Institute is adapting to!


    The future for The Welding Institute

    Throughout this time, the Institute is working closely with its volunteers to plan and organise our Technical Group Meeting events for the autumn (check out our events page). Our Branches are also currently working on a programme for online talks for Members starting in September. In addition to this, The Welding Institute is also preparing for more volunteer training workshops.

    We would like to welcome Members to share any ideas on how we could make the best use of these new technologies to support and promote the work of The Welding Institute.


  • 7 Jul 2020 8:59 AM | Anonymous

    Greenlight 4 Girls, 2019For World Chocolate Day 2020, The Welding Institute would like to highlight our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outreach activity, ‘Welding with Chocolate’, and the role that it has and continues to play in engaging younger networks of students. It is an excellent way to develop their understanding of the importance of welding as a profession and furthermore the roles that engineers play within society.

    The Welding with Chocolate activity was developed in 2007 by Welding Institute Fellow Dr Philippa Moore to be a fun, hands-on experience exploring the principles of welding and mechanical testing. The activity is held as a workshop and involves using chocolate bars to represent a material being welded and a heat source in the form of a bottle filled with hot water to act as a joining mechanism. The aim of the activity is to create a box girder bridge from four chocolate bars welded together. This bridge structure is then destructively tested by adding weights to the mid span of the structure. The results of these destructive tests are then compared to the strength of a single bar.

    Since 2007, the Welding with Chocolate activity has proven to be successful in engaging young people with the concept of welding and engineering. Many of The Welding Institute’s Branches have delivered the workshop within their local communities, including within primary and secondary schools and also at engineering and science events, such as the 2014 Big Bang Fair in Glasgow and the Greenlight 4 Girls event at Silverstone in 2019, to name a few examples.

    Falling in line with our company aims, promoting engineering careers to young people through our outreach activities is important to The Welding Institute and fun activities such as Welding with Chocolate are an excellent opportunity to allow young people to understand the applications of engineering within society and inspire them to see a place within the industry for themselves.

    The Welding with Chocolate workshop provides an excellent opportunity to teach and proactively demonstrate to younger people the profession of engineering and open their minds to the potential of a career in STEM.

    Find out more about Welding with Chocolate and how you can get involved for this World Chocolate Day!


  • 2 Jul 2020 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    On the 25th June 2020, The Welding Institute (Southern Counties Branch) held a webinar on the topic of ‘Welding Process Investigation.’ The event focussed on the acceptance, rejection and distortion that occurs during the welding of a set on (nozzles to shell) joint, with seven different process variations. This involved an investigation of the following:

    • The process in relation to the manufacturing of pressure vessels
    • The effects of different welding processes on the same joint using the same material, thickness and diameter
    • The process of the parts being welded using different processes and combinations of welding processes
    • The accurate measurement of the parts (before and after) to assess the quality for NDT and DT (VT, RT, PT and microsection)
    • The investigation’s results against different codes from EN 13445, RCC-M, ASME, etc

    The speaker was Welding Institute Member Eur Ing Michael Baverstock MSc CEng MWeldI, who has experience in multiple industry sectors including working with aircraft and pressure vessels for over 30 years. Mike now runs his own welding engineering consultancy business, where he helps engineering companies improve their welding quality and processes across a range of industries. The event was very popular, with over 150 attendees joining the webinar.

    Unlike previous branch events held in-person, this talk took place virtually as a webinar due to the current global situation. The webinar was very successful, with many who attended having commented positively on how the online talk was organised. Both our Members and non-Members adapted well to it being hosted online, and this unique opportunity to stream the talk online also allowed us to have a far wider reach with a global attendance of people joining from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

    The speaker’s research, presentation and knowledge were all well received by those who joined the event.

    The Welding Institute is dedicated to ensuring that our Members are able to continue accessing their key membership benefits including the knowledge and networking opportunities that Institute Branch events facilitate. Although the ability to network is somewhat limited in our current circumstances, it was a great and successful example of how The Welding Institute and its Members and non-Members are able to adapt in these unprecedented times to overcome the obstacle of not being there in person!

    Speaker and Branch Chair Perspective

    Event speaker, Mike Baverstock, described his initial experience of hosting this webinar as being challenging due to the unfamiliarity of presenting online compared to in person, adding that being unable to see anyone, whilst also being aware that they could all see him was one of the biggest differences. He added that, although it was a very different experience to talking in person, he was able to adapt quickly due to him talking about his ‘favourite subject’ of welding. Mike also emphasised that, although the format of a webinar is something that our Members are mainly unfamiliar with, it is important to be able to adapt and develop technologically with these events in order to find the best ways of presenting.

    Branch Chair Adam Saxty also echoed Mike’s message, explaining that he was also keen for more webinars and online events to be held in order to continue to deliver Branch events to our Members during this time. Adam expressed his interest in creating a more interactive forum for the participants, so that attendees are able to ask the speaker questions live throughout the event, making these online events more similar to normal Branch events. He also hopes to do more for international Members, and the continuation of online meetings and webinars will be an important way of enabling this.

    The Welding Institute and Southern Counties Branch would like to thank Eur Ing Michael Baverstock MSc CEng MWeldI and those who were involved with the organisation of the event along with all those who attended!

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