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Special Techniques Group

UKAEA’s Special Techniques Group is a highly skilled prototyping facility with more than 40 years of experience as a vital part of fusion energy research based on the Culham Campus.

The challenges of manufacture for fusion include unusual materials, and extremes of pressure and temperature. Similar challenges are shared in many academic and industrial applications across the globe Consequently, STG frequently collaborates with clients beyond the field of fusion to address their manufacturing challenges.

STG capabilities are focused on the high-temperature joining challenges of metals and ceramics by use of vacuum manufacturing techniques such as diffusion bonding, electron-beam welding, and vacuum brazing. The use of controlled vacuum environments makes these processes particularly well-suited to the stringent, repeatable manufacture of sensitive components.

The facility also hosts various related techniques for component cleaning and high-temperature processing such as ultrasonic cleaning, induction heating, and ceramic furnaces.

At STG, after manufacturing, we have a range of in-house testing capabilities, which include CMM laser metrology, optical diagnostics, and vacuum leak detection.

As you can see STG possesses a diverse range of expertise that can be applied to address your unique challenges. We offer:

  • A ‘one-stop shop’ for prototyping, from offering advice and consultancy, through to the design and manufacture, and transition to production.
  • A range of processing techniques using air and vacuum furnaces, brazing, welding, and diffusion bonding equipment.
  • Flexibility to work at low and high TRL, from a basic sketch to a full technical specification.
  • A front door to other services at UKAEA including advanced machining, materials analysis, and a vast range of custom testing (heat flux, vacuum, pressure, magnetic fields, neutronic and more).

If any of these capabilities are of interest to you, please contact us to find out more.

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