It’s one thing to join pieces of metal together; it’s another to do so without changing their microstructure. The solid state joining process that uses frictional heat generated by a rotating tool has been used for a variety of applications across such industries as aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding and rail. Today, FSW meets the auto industry’s high volume standard and does so in five ways.
Archive for the Welding Category
When we talk about friction stir welding, we are referring to a method of welding that involves the heating of metal so it can be effectively welded. This process also involves a rotating tool that will push the heated material together. One of the great advantages of using friction stir welding is that the metal you use will never melt. This will produce great results because it gives you the ability to attach different metals at different angles at a higher efficiency rate.
The solid-state welding process in which the materials that are used for welding never go over the require melting points is known as friction-stir welding. This process requires heat to be generated during each point of contact that is used to join the materials together. During the friction-stir welding process, a spinning tool is imposed on a piece of work. The spinning tool is put through a downward force and turning over to the weld direction.
For many years, American Hydroformers has been one of the leaders in hydroforming technology and friction stir welding technology. Friction stir welding is a type of technique that offers a variety of benefits and advantages over one of the more traditional methods known as fusion welding. Friction stir welding has the ability to create a bond of any size, and this is one of the reasons why it has the ability to serve a wide range of industries.
Friction stir welding is an innovative and unique method of joining metals by using frictional heat combined with a controlled forging pressure, producing full penetrated welded joints with high integrity that are defect free. Friction stir welding is most efficient on cylindrical components, flat plates as well as on parts of uneven thickness.
Friction Stir Welding: Applications That Are Far Out and Close to Home. Liquid hydrogen, it’s a substance that has fascinated mankind since the 1800s. That’s when James Dewar unleashed it as well as his thoughts on vacuum flasks and regenerative cooling on to the world. At the time, many Americans were unsure about what liquid hydrogen could do but that would all change thanks primarily to NASA and its Centaur rockets. Although revolutionary, the upper stage rockets did pose a problem that until recently has continually vexed the government agency. It was one of tank integrity.
The process of friction stir welding is a relatively new way to join metal components together. It is a metal joining method that has applications in industrial fabrications and manufacturing such as aerospace, automotive manufacturing, and industrial engineering, anywhere that metal components need welds that meet the most demanding specifications.
When one improves upon already top-notch engine and car parts (and the process therein), the results are something that most people wouldn’t expect. This is applicable for any advancement in production. Updated technology makes huge improvements in manufacturing.
We here at American Hydroformers love new technology. We respect and revere those who innovate and adapt, those who have an expanded vision to take something that works well and make it even better. There is something greater that can be said for people who take an existing idea and improve on it. They are pioneers.
Take the recent advancement in laser welding, how it has helped tube production, hydroforming, and how it has aided in making better parts and lighter automobiles by producing continuously welded tubes.
European company Plimet has taken a conventional way of welding, induction welding, and improved its completion rate and reduced its heat transfer, while exhibiting a drastic decrease in energy output.
Currently, laser welding machines are being used and they are becoming a respected alternative. Plimet has been using CO2 laser welding machines for several years with good results, as weld seam quality has increased rapidly. Welding speed over 10m/min can be achieved and the process stability is comparable to the robust induction systems.
The 8.5kW fiber-guided diode laser being used also uses less power than the traditional induction method, which traditionally uses a CO2 laser.
Further, the diode laser can work with larger areas, allow for higher tube tolerance, and brings a much stabler end product result.
As tests have proven, the tube durability and weld seam quality can expand to 20-percent of its diameter without cracking. Further, there is no spatter inside the tube. All advancements, all positive.
This process, which was recently adopted into Plimet’s production line in their European plants, is currently available to consumers. It offers high quality, low-cost, and a reduced running cost.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us any time.
Though friction stir welding is a relatively new technology, it is making waves in just about every industry that chooses to adopt and use it. Most notably, perhaps, is the car industry.
Welding in a car plant has moved at breakneck speed in the last 50 years. As the venerable hand-welder was replaced by robotic arms in the mid-century, soon the automobile production line (perfected by Henry Ford nearly a century ago) will be replaced with the soft hum of friction, as two materials are bonded together with a sturdy and “miraculous” bond.
As an article from Car and Driver says:
FSW is a solid-state weld involving no molten metal. Heat generated by pressure and friction is all that’s needed to ensure a strong metal bond.
Additional benefits of friction stir welding are numerous:
– Easily bond dissimilar metals together. Even if one is steel while the other is aluminum.
– The time it takes is drastically reduced. For example, the simple process FSW makes out of welding two, different metals, would have taken hours longer with fusion welding.
– It’s a safer process. With fusion welding, there are sparks, molten heat, and a need for protective clothing. Not so with FSW. Because as the die rotates atop the seam with applied, consistent pressure, the heat bonds them without sparks or concern for safety.
– A lighter weld that adds no extra mass. Unlike fusion welding, which adds metal filler (e.g. unnecessary weight), FSW adds nothing. Which, if one was to argue it, actually reduces the weight of the finished product.
Friction stir welding will no doubt begin to overtake traditional means of welding in ever manufacturing industry over the next decade, just as it did in the aerospace world. We’re excited to see how this burgeoning new way to bond materials becomes the new standard.
For more information on how we can help you, please contact us anytime.
A relatively young technique in the field of welding, friction stir welding was invented then scientifically proven as a viable method in December of 1991. By definition it is a ‘solid-state joining process,’ meaning that the material being used for welding is not melted. This process employs the use of a third body tool to join together the two facing surfaces.
The process starts with heat being generated between the friction stir welding tool and material, which leads to a softened region. The tool then mechanically mixes the metals between the two pieces at the place of the joint. The softened metal can then be joined by pressure, supplied by the welding tool. This process is described as being much like joining pieces of clay or dough. Friction stir welding is excellent for items requiring superior hold strength without the need of a post-weld heat treatment.
There are several advantages that friction stir welding has been observed to have over traditional fusion welding. Some of these include;
- Free range operation positions (horizontal, vertical, etc.) because there is no weld pool.
- No consumables.
- Easily automated on simple milling machines due to lower set up costs and less training.
- Improved safety due to the absence of toxic fumes or the spatter of molten welding materials.
- Reduced impact on the environment.
As with the advantages, a few disadvantages also go along with the friction stir welding process. A few examples of the disadvantages are;
- An exit hole is left in the metal when the tool is withdrawn.
- Less flexibility than whats found in manual and arch welding processes.
- Often slower than fusion welding techniques, however this can be offset if a smaller number of welding passes are required.
Despite being a relatively new process, friction stir welding has already made a place for itself in several industries. These include automotive, offshore and ship building, aerospace, railways, personal computers, and various electronics. The future for this process is promising, paving a way for itself to maybe one day surpass traditional welding methods as the go to technique. If you would like to know more about friction stir welding, or other fabrication processes such as hydroforming, feel free to contact us at our website.