How Friction Stir Welding Will Eventually Benefit Every Manufacturing Industry
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.
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