Friction stir welding

Friction stir welding is the optimal joining process for non-ferrous metals with a low melting temperature and for mixed-metal combinations.

Friction stir welding: the process

Friction stir welding is a process in which a rotating pin is traversed along the contact surfaces between the workpieces. The frictional heat plasticizes the material, which is welded together.

The process is particularly suitable for joining non-ferrous metals with a low melting temperature and for mixed-material joints. Even materials that are difficult to weld or dissimilar materials such as aluminum, magnesium, copper, titanium or steel can be joined with friction stir welding.

Process overview: 01 Approach and plunge; 02 Dwell time for heating; 03 Welding process; 04 Retraction at end of seam

High-quality welding of non-ferrous metals and mixed-material combinations

Friction stir welding is suitable for joining a wide range of different materials.

Widespread areas of application

The friction stir welding process is used in various industries. The spectrum extends from the automotive industry, including the e-mobility market, and aviation through to the electronics industry.

  • General industry

    • Economical welding of complex 3D seams, e.g. on cooling systems for power electronics or housings for cell phones

    • Cast components with aluminum sheets or sections

    • Welds with high conductivity for transformers and batteries

    • Joining of various material combinations – typically aluminum, copper and magnesium alloys

  • Automotive industry

    • Economical welding of complex 3D seams, for example on parts of cooling systems, vehicle bodies and powertrains or e-mobility components

    • Joining of typical 4000/5000/6000 aluminum alloys and also hard-to-weld material combinations, e.g. aluminum sheets, continuously cast sections and cast components

     

    Find out more about automation in the automotive industry

  • Aerospace industry

    • Welding of highly reliable, gas-tight seams, e.g. on aircraft fuselage parts and rocket components

    • Low heat distortion and special surface characteristics as well as material properties (e.g. tensile strength) at a very high level due to the low joining temperature

    • Typical materials: high-strength 2000 and 7000 series aluminum alloys

     

    Find out more about automation in the aerospace industry

  • Rail vehicle construction

    • Joining of side walls and roof assemblies for high-speed trains and of aluminum sheets or sections (double-walled panels)
    • Highly economical joining thanks to FSW gantry systems and integration of additional machining processes such as milling and drilling
    • Typical materials: 6000 series aluminum alloys

Friction stir welding: the advantages

Top weld quality 
  • No welding defects such as pores or cracks 
  • Joining of a wide variety of materials possible
  • Comparatively low heat input
  • High seam strength with minimal welding distortion 

Cost-effectiveness
  • Economical joining of complex 3D geometries 
  • Material savings through component optimization
  • No consumables such as shielding gas or filler wire 

Green technology 
  • Environmentally friendly thanks to low energy consumption
  • No fume extraction or anti-glare measures required

Everything from a single source: from engineering to service

From feasibility and process investigations to trial welds, tool selection and parameter optimization, including the conceptual design, manufacture and delivery of the system, KUKA offers the entire spectrum of services associated with friction stir welding.
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