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Reconstructive orthopaedic device producer Corin Group has appointed Arc Energy Resources as its primary supplier of specialised welding and fabrication services.

Arc Energy was initially contracted by Corin almost a year ago as part of a strategic decision to find a second source for the skilled welding services required to manufacture vital surgical instrumentation used by the surgeons who fit Corin implants.

During initial discussions with Arc Energy on second sourcing, Corin’s primary supplier was unable to continue providing services and Arc Energy was fast-tracked as a primary supplier.

As the surgical instrumentation is used in orthopaedic procedures, the welding process itself requires a balanced combination of elements, including strength, exacting preparation and fixturing, and precise weld delivery.

In addition, the finished weld surfaces require a fine cosmetic finish when the welding operation is completed.

Corin surgical instrumentation – effectively a jig and tool set for orthopaedic surgeons – is precision manufactured to ensure accurate cutting and drilling of bones and enable surgeons to accurately locate and position implants inside the body.

Assemblies also need to be strong enough to withstand impaction, which ensures that the implant is fully seated.

Arc Energy welds a range of approximately 100 different components and assembly types for Corin.

Most require a single-stage welding process but some are welded at a number of stages during manufacture.

Richard Hemming, operations manager at Corin, said Arc Energy is good at providing feedback on aspects of design, advising on the optimum welds and procedures for various materials and applications.

For example, a part that will be impacted during a procedure will require a certain type, size and strength of weld, whereas a part used only for location can be specified with lighter duty weld.

A number of representatives from the Arc Energy management and operational teams have also visited the Corin facility to better understand why the welding service they provide is vital to the instrumentation used by skilled orthopaedic surgeons.

‘Arc Energy’s understanding of the way we use components has helped it advise us on exactly the strength, size and type of weld we need for an application, often saving us money in the process,’ Hemming said.

In addition, following an Arc Energy presentation, its expertise in weld types and weld preparation has helped Corin’s design and engineering teams to better understand welded joints and how to specify them on Corin piece parts drawings, ensuring that components can actually be welded together.

Arc Energy Resources

Arc Energy Resources is one of the UK’s leading specialists in weld overlay cladding and quality-assured fabrication services with a turnover approaching £5m, employing 70 staff in work space totalling more than 30,000ft2. The company’s expertise in weld overlay cladding services provides heavy-duty protection against corrosion and wear for process and pipeline equipment destined for use in any hostile environment. It can clad bores up to 4m in diameter and areas of restricted access within bores as small as 20mm in diameter.

The manufacturing infrastructure is qualified to ISO 9001:2008, ISO 3834-2, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 18001:2007. The company also holds ASME U and R stamp certificates of authorisation, which qualifies it to fabricate and weld on components destined for use on pressure vessels built to ASME standard.

Arc Energy’s welders and fabricators are qualified to internationally recognised standards and specifications. A wide range of base metal/cladding combinations has been qualified to ASME IX, API 6A and NACE. In addition, Arc Energy offers in-house test weld, heat treatment, PMI and NDT facilities.

Arc Energy has recently invested £500,000 in two new rotating-head welding machines to increase productivity and extend the size and scope of work the company can handle. While conventional workstations move components around a fixed welding torch, the new machines use automated controls to manipulate the welding torch around a fixed component, accurately positioning it to apply the overlay while working close to the component’s footprint. The investment expands and enhances Arc Energy’s ability to handle complicated component geometries for the full or partial cladding and fabrication of a huge range of component sizes weighing anywhere up to 15 tonnes.

Managing director Alan Robinson is one of very few UK-registered European welding engineers. He has a Master's degree in welding and is a chartered engineer, a European engineer and a senior member of the Welding Institute. He has assembled a highly skilled team capable of delivering quality service from enquiry to delivery and beyond, which can engineer the perfect solution to the biggest of challenges.

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