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Friction Stir Welding Friction Stir Welding

Friction Stir Welding

Friction Stir Welding Animation

  • Friction Stir Welding Animation
    Click here to watch an animation of the Friction Stir Welding process. Video courtesy of NASA.
  • Friction Stir Welding Diagram
    Image courtesy of TWI.

In 2008, an industry-changing event occurred when Manufacturing Technology, Inc. merged with Transformation Technologies, Inc. (TTI) under the MTI banner. The coming together of these two powerhouse companies combined the spectacular innovation of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) with MTI's long-established expertise and global leadership in friction welding solutions.

MTI is the only company in the world whose core business is the development, design and building of all forms of friction welding machines and systems, including Friction Stir Welding. We are licensed and listed by The Welding Institute (TWI-England) as a Friction Stir Welding (FSW) machine manufacturer.

MTI Friction Stir Welding machines, like the LS-1 (above left) and GG-1 (above right), are used for research and development purposes by The Welding Institute, Brigham Young University, Idaho National Laboratory, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Spirit Aerosystems. MTI Friction Stir Welding (FSW) machines are also used in production applications for electronics cooling in the automotive industry, fuel tanks, sputtering discs, axle assemblies, half-shafts, conductor rails, coil joining, deck plate joining, and other production items in various markets.

Process Overview

Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a solid-state joining process that creates extremely high-quality, high-strength joints with low distortion. A non-consumable spinning tool bit is inserted into a work piece. The rotation of the tool creates friction that heats the material to a plastic state. As the tool traverses the weld joint, it extrudes material in a distinctive flow pattern and forges the material in its wake. The resulting solid phase bond joins the two pieces into one.

The process uses no outside (filler) material, no shielding gases, and requires low energy input when compared to other welding processes. The solid phase bond between the two pieces is made solely of parent material. The grain structure in the weld zone is finer than that of the parent material and has similar strength, bending, and fatigue characteristics.

FSW Process Benefits

Friction Stir Welding (FSW) from MTI is making a dramatic impact across a number of industries, including aerospace, defense, transportation, marine and electronics. In the automotive industry alone, for example, FSW is used to create everything from drive shafts and fuel tanks to hood panels and suspension links.

We have experience with these Weldable Materials. The compatibility range extends beyond these materials.

  • Aluminum (all alloys)
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Magnesium
  • Titanium
  • Steel Alloys
  • Stainless Steel
  • Tool Steel
  • Nickel
  • Lead

Advantages & Benefits of Friction Stir Welding

  • Provides opportunities for new solutions to old joining problems
    Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a leading-edge technology, meaning that MTI is continually identifying new applications for the process and, therefore, new solutions for its customers.
  • Virtually defect-free welding
    Easily controlled process parameters - such as pin tool geometry, pin tool force, rotational speed and traversing speed - are easy to monitor, allowing for easy avoidance of errors.
  • Versatile applications by welding all joint geometries including complex contours
    Friction Stir Welding (FSW) can weld almost any shape of contoured parts, including seam welding of cylinders. Some of the other joint geometries usual to the FSW process include butt, T-butt, lap, butt laminate, butt both sides, T-butt dual pass, lap laminate, L-outside, flange, multi-thickness, T-single weld, and L-inside (which requires special joint preparation).
  • Limitless panel length and width
    The process flexibility of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) accommodates the welding of large parts. Our standard models may be modified to expand axes as needed for your application. Our in-house FSW equipment can produce welds up to 55-feet long - one of the longest, continuous Friction Stir Welds in the world.
  • Superior mechanical characteristics
    This joining technology offers a weld with high weld strength and toughness. The weld has a fine grain structure that resists fatigue stress. Due to the low heat and small heat-affected zone, there is minimal distortion of the joined parts, reducing the costs associated with preparing the part for subsequent use.
  • Join dissimilar alloys
    Friction Stir Welding (FSW) may be used to weld dissimilar alloys, even combinations that are not compatible with other welding processes. See the Weldable Materials list above.
  • "Green" process
    Low energy input and lack of fumes, gases, etc., resulting from the process, makes FSW friendly to our environment.

MTI's Advanced Technology Friction Stir Welders

MTI has pioneered the manufacture of robust, rigid, yet cost-effective, machines for general use in any production environment. MTI offers a wide range of machine choices for FSW applications, such as:

Model RM-1 - High force/low spindle run-out welder for small to medium sized components.
Model RM-2 - High stiffness welder for larger components
Model PM-0 - Small, cost effective welder for high volume production
Model LS-1 - Robust welder for linear welds, configurations up to 100m welds
Model GG-1 - Multi-axis welder for complex contours

Friction Stir Welders (FSW) from MTI also offer these value-added features:

  • Turn-key Installation
  • Preloaded, Zero-Backlash Linear Drives
  • Balanced Actuator Loads
  • Precision Spindle
  • Multiple process control modes
  • Data Acquisition System for all critical process parameters

Available optional features include:

  • Water-cooled tool holder
  • Retractable pin-tool
  • Custom work-holding fixtures
  • Automation
  • Manufacturing Cell Integration, including Material Handling, Automatic Loading and Unloading, Robot Integration, Bar Coding, Quality Control, and Part Destruction
  • Custom Design Machine Diagnostics and Maintenance Schedule for Full Preventive Maintenance

See Friction Stir Welder Machine Specifications for performance and capacity details.

MTI provides facilities as a practical research ground from which we continue to enhance our consultative, process development approach to machine design and engineering.

Is your requirement covered? If not, talk to us about your specific FSW parameters. Go to Contact Us and tell us how MTI can help you find solutions to you success!

FSW Contract Welding Services

For more information on Friction Stir Welding (FSW) Services that meet your needs, visit our Full-Range Production page.