Welding quality into the future

David Street
David Street
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Sheffield Forgemasters is targeting new growth in the nuclear energy sector.

The Brightside Lane company has held vital quality accreditations for making safety critical components for civil nuclear power stations for almost 20 years and has notched up a series of successes, making high integrity castings and forgings.

Quality: A Sheffield Forgemasters casting destined for a Westinghouse nuclear power plant

Quality: A Sheffield Forgemasters casting destined for a Westinghouse nuclear power plant

New opportunities are opening up after requests from clients who want the company to make more complex components, which involve fabricating products which go into the heart of nuclear reactors by welding.

To meet that demand, Forgemasters has embarked on a programme to expand its coveted civil nuclear quality accreditation from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to include ASME NPT approval.

Forgemasters group quality director, David Street, said: “We initially fielded an enquiry from one of our customers in the civil nuclear power industry to add a welded extension to a nuclear reactor primary pump casting prior to delivery, rather than having to source this work from another facility.

“Without ASME NPT accreditation, we couldn’t undertake this work, but gaining this accreditation opens an entirely new market opportunity to us, covering the many assemblies within the nuclear primary and secondary pressure loop systems of a civil nuclear plant, using specialist welding techniques to join cast and non-cast metals, forged and other formed metallic materials.

“The programme to gain NPT status is a huge development with enhanced requirements on our sub-suppliers, our internal welding codes and even our internal and external auditing skills to ensure we meet the requirements of the ASME code, which are some of the most stringent requirements in modern engineering.”

Forgemasters will have to develop a specific quality management programme to meet NPT standards, which it hopes to do at the same time as it renews its ASME Qualified Systems Certificate.