Success stories from the ERF – Trinity and MX3D – WAAM CLAMP

May 06, 2021

Success stories from the ERF – Trinity and MX3D – WAAM CLAMP

Automation in manufacturing allows producers to increase efficiency, grow production capacity and reduce costs all at the same time. Automation in production further helps businesses solve issues related to high staff turnover, shortage of labour force and hazardous working environments. Industrial robots in manufacturing settings are already paving the way for industry 4.0 – creating smart factory solutions through applying AI in production. Robots relieve humans from performing repetitive operations and working in hazardous environments and creating new, well-paying and interesting jobs for engineers and operators. Increased automation allows safe inspection and maintenance procedures yielding speedy high quality results with reduced waste. Automated inspection and maintenance procedures reduces the potential for human-errors through applying machine learning and computer vision techniques when overlooking manufacturing processes. In turn, each product is investigated, controlled and repaired under identical conditions and standards, ensuring full uniformity across all products. 

Trinity is sponsoring a range of robotics projects aimed at optimising inspection and maintenance operations, streamlining production processes and ensuring employee safety through implementing intelligent collaborative robots in factories. Trinity seeks to create a network of robotics experts and organisations specialising in tools and methods for sophisticated, agile and reconfigurable production, leading Europe into a prosperous and sustainable future. 


WAAM CLAMP – Hybrid additive manufacturing to reduce production lead time for repair in the oil and gas industry

The primary challenge in the industry regarding this topic was the pipeline leakages in the oil and gas industry which caused downtime, interruptions as well as potential risks. It was of high importance to fix this issue also because of the high costs due to the leakages. Leakages were primarily solved by clamps, which are usually manufactured by manual welding or CNC milling. However, the skilled welders were becoming scarce and the process itself produced high material waste (>80%).

MX3D proposed a solution for pipeline leakages, previously solved through manually welded clamps. MX3D produces metal parts by applying robotic additive manufacturing (AM). The method uses sophisticated metal 3D printing technology to produce metal parts additively and automatically by only printing what is needed. The so-called WAAM method could produce the needed parts in a fast and reliable manner while preventing issues such as extensive post-processing and high material waste. The process also allows for on-site manufacturing.

MX3D automating maintenance

Before engaging with the TRINITY project, the WAAM method has been successfully applied in many industrial applications, sectors and settings. The frequent problem of AM was the need for post-production and certification which slowed down both the lead time as well as the industrial adoption at scale. Moreover, while the AM parts were usually printed layer by layer, the proposed solution by MX3D printed the object in between other objects, which posed challenges such as object identification, collision detection and stress build-up of joint components.



Trinity involvement

TRINITY allowed MX3D to join together strong capabilities from the value chain. Trinity funded both the time and resources required to experiment, research and develop new proof of concepts needed for hybrid AM. The network also engaged them and connected them with technical experts and industrial professionals.

“Projects like these allow us to achieve more effective innovation from collaborative action and R&D experimentation. TRINITY enables fast, efficient and smart adoption of digital technologies for SMEs.” 

  • Thomas Van Glabeke


For more opportunities regarding collaborations with Trinity, please check Trinity’s 2nd open call here.

Our community of EU robotics projects is aiming to improve collaboration between European robotics DIHs with a mission to strengthen the competitiveness of the European robotics market. We represent 5 projects from 4 application areas: DIH HERO (healthcare), RIMA (infrastructure inspection and maintenance), agROBOfood (agri-food), TRINITY and DIH2 (agile production). For more news and updates from our community of projects, follow RI4EU on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter.