MADRID, March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The WeldGalaxy project, funded under the Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation funding programme, hopes to boost the welding industry by creating an online B2B marketplace that aims to make the European arc welding sector more competitive. The project will also provide financial support to SMEs and Mid-Caps to develop innovative arc welding products and services via the launch of two Open Innovation Calls (OICs). A total of €2.5 million in equity-free funding will be allocated to fund 25 pilot projects.
The WeldGalaxy consortium is launching its first open call. Ten pilots will be selected, to develop innovative technologies in the field of arc welding and become the first platform beta-testers.
WeldGalaxy believes that arc welding is a mature and well-established industrial technology with extensive involvement in almost any type of manufacturing. Yet, significant improvements in terms of costs, efficiency, health, environmental impact and innovation capability can still be reached and fostered if a dynamic knowledge management platform with an innovative evolving database integrated with smart function analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) is used.
Over the decades, TWI, the foremost European independent research and technology organisation in materials and joining technologies, has built one of the largest industrial manufacturing databases which includes the TWI legacy welding projects database (since 1976); MI-21 consumables database and TWI's WeldaSearch database (since 1986). Furthermore, data sources such as "Job Knowledge" and "Best Practice Guides" have also been compiled. With this vast amount of data, a digital platform can fully use smart functions, analytics and AI to truly stretch the boundaries and showcase the impact of modern digital technologies in manufacturing.
It is in this context that WeldGalaxy, a collaborative initiative supported by the European Commission, came to life. Led by TWI, a consortium comprising 11 members, which include SMEs and research organisations across Europe, has embarked upon the development and delivery of a B2B online knowledge based platform that connects end-users with arc welding equipment and consumables manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and technology providers.
An alpha version of the WeldGalaxy platform has already been set up. The platform incorporates a Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) tool which relies on the TWI legacy data to streamline equipment selection process for end-users, and allows 'plug and produce' digital manufacturing of the right equipment to specified customers'/end-users' requirements and regulatory compliance. By capturing product and process knowledge, businesses are able to rapidly develop products. This knowledge based engineering system allows both designers/manufacturers and end-users to visualise and analyse the design process with the help of simulation tools and life-cycle cost analysis. The platform will connect the European welding industry to a digital single market using Distributed Ledger technology (DLT) to allow updates to be implemented from across the array of users.
In addition, WeldGalaxy intends to encourage technological progress by organising two innovation open calls in order to select and fund European innovators working on efficient and cost-effective arc welding methods. Innovation can be achieved in equipment and consumables development as well as in welding processes.
The application phase of the first of these open calls is open from 16 March 2020, and will close on 29 May 2020.
Proposals can be submitted by single applicants or consortia of two or more organisations provided they include at least one Manufacturing SME or Mid-Cap. The types of organisations expected to apply are as follows:
Arc welding equipment and consumable suppliers: Manufacturing SMEs and Mid-Caps that provide welding equipment, consumables or technology
Technology suppliers and/or system integrators: SMEs and Mid-Caps that can offer additional application(s) or service(s)
End users: SMEs and Mid-Caps that use arc welding to join materials in their manufacturing process
Research/non-industrial legal entities (research centres, universities, competence centres) that can provide innovative solutions to improve the WeldGalaxy platform in co-operation with the WeldGalaxy partners
The successful applicants will have access to a wide range of benefits including, in particular:
€100,000 of equity-free funding to further develop their solution
Access to a network of private investors
Technical mentoring from TWI experts
Business support from FundingBox, a member of the WeldGalaxy consortium
WeldGalaxy is a pan-European initiative aiming to increase the visibility of EU manufacturers to global users of equipment, to support the digitisation of manufacturing, to enhance experimentation and market uptake of off-the-shelf prototypes developed by EU SMEs and to boost European competitiveness and market share in welding equipment, consumables and services.
The WeldGalaxy consortium is led by TWI and is made up of 11 partners from 8 countries (United Kingdom, France, Poland, Spain, Israel, Norway, Romania, Sweden). WeldGalaxy gathers a constellation of top players with complementary expertise: Welding technology, engineering knowledge analytics and modelling, web platform and databases, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and open call management.
The WeldGalaxy project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822106. For further information, visit www.weldgalaxy.eu.