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Thompson friction welding machines

KUKA manufactures a range of compact and modular Thompson friction welding machines with forge capacities up to 400T, that deliver repeatable and cost-effective friction welding processes, across a wide range of material combinations and components.

Thompson friction welding machines, built by KUKA, set standards in terms of precision, dynamics, process control, and manufacturing productivity.

Single and double-ended machine designs based on platforms from 15 through 400T : The range offers standard and configured options with a wide range of additional features including machine external and internal flash systems or upset removal. Other additional configurable options include component measurement systems, marking systems, extraction systems, and flash or upset management systems.

Thompson customers who utilise direct drive friction welding machines benefit from repeatability, traceability, accuracy, and flexibility, all contributing toward superior quality component manufacture, and weld integrity.

Thompson friction welding technology for a high-quality weld: reliable and, technically advanced manufacturing solutions.

Users of Thompson machines benefit from friction weld workpieces such as truck axles, drill pipes, or drive shafts with high quality.

Standard and custom friction welding machines by Thompson: for all common friction welding applications

Thompson is a customer-focused brand, providing machines to friction weld even the most difficult components and material combinations. Customised welding machine designs and sizes, such as double-spindle or vertical orientation welding machines are available, upon request.


Thompson friction welding machines can be configured as single or double ended designs and, feature both ID and OD in-cycle flash or upset removal systems, quick-change tooling, measurement and marking systems and, the intuitive Thompson dedicated welder control software.


Thompson direct drive friction welding machines: value-added features include:

Thompson designed two and three jaw chucks

Self centring, and easy to load chucks. 

Flexible backstop options

Easy to use manual or automatic programmable solutions.

Unique flash removal solutions

Flexible two axis servo OD/Outer diameter flash removal (tubes or solid bars), optional dual tool turning, shear and ID/internal diameter flash removal options (tubes only).

Fully featured hydraulics

Developed in-house to offer optimum machine welding range and full flexibility/control throughout the welding process.

Global customer service and spares

Including remote support options for optimum ROI.

Hidden tie bars

Open architecture enabling easy load and un-load or the integration of robotic automation.

Unique tooling solutions

Quick change, application specific and lightweight options.

Automatic lubrication system

Low maintenance oil lubrication system to roller rails, clamp slides and head.

Intuitive informative software

Easy to use control software offers full control throughout the weld cycle. Optional in-cycle TIR measurement with in-depth reporting/logging.

Wide range of rotary friction welding machines

Weld machines designed for friction welding across a variety of parts, from small diameter components such as engine valves, piston rods, and electrical connectors to large API drill pipes & drill rods, truck axles, and banjo axles.

Thompson welding machine configurations:    

Machine Tonnage  Prefix No. Configuration Standard Special
15T Thompson 1 Double ended  
50T Thompson 2    
60T Thompson 3 Double ended
100T Thompson 4  
125T Thompson 5  
150T Thompson 6  
250T Thompson 7  
300T Thompson 8  
400T Thompson 9  


KUKA, as the OEM of Thompson friction welding machines, has the largest subcontract friction welding facility in the UK. Offering in-house testing and on-site metallurgical services with a fully equipped metallurgical laboratory, on premise.

Sub-contract friction welding

Welding of a wide range of parts in a variety of dissimilarmaterials, process development advice, pre and post weld treatment, comprehensive process and welding reports.