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Mobile arc DED repair platforms

Dec 2017 – Mar 2019


In CONFIGURE a flexible automated repair unit, encompassing every stage of the repair operation (damage assessment, repair, finishing and final inspection) was developed and demonstrated.

An array of sensors were incorporated into the repair unit to provide both process and part quality data. This information, used to enable the unit to operate in an autonomous mode, was also logged to allow detailed analysis to be performed and provide traceability. Using a robotic platform with interchangeable inspection, deposition and machining heads it allowed parts of almost unlimited size to be repaired in a seamless operation. The new unit, provided in portable and even mobile configuration, enabled it to be positioned wherever required. Two industry case studies, from the mineral extraction and rail sector, were used to demonstrated the effectiveness of the equipment.

Key activities

  • Collection of information on end-user requirements.
  • Development of an interchangeable inspection head to assess parts before and after the repair process.
  • Development of a deposition head based on a directed energy deposition–arc process.
  • Development of interchangeable machining heads for repair preparation and finishing.
  • Incorporation of digital manufacturing methods into the repair system.
  • Construction and testing of the robotic repair cell.
  • Repair and evaluation of demonstration parts.


The robotic repair cell enables automated remanufacture of complex engineering parts thus reducing the cost, time and variability of the process. In addition, the new approach helps to eliminate hazards to operators including; noise, fumes and vibration which can have serious long-term health implications.

MTC role in project

  • Development of the deposition head and associated operating parameters.
  • Testing of the robotic repair cell.

Other details

  • Project partners: Weir Minerals Europe (lead), Loughborough University, MTC, Loop Technology, Ultrasonic Sciences Limited, Toolroom Technology Limited, Network Rail
  • Funding body: IUK
  • Project budget: £1.1M
  • Grant to MTC: £212k