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Friction welding

Friction welding is a pressure welding process. This technology can be used to join materials of the same type or of different types. KUKA established friction welding as an industrial joining process in 1966. 

What is friction welding?

Friction welding is a solid state bonding process that produces high integrity, full contact joints. By rotating one work piece relative to another, whilst under a compressive axle force, the friction generated between the two faying surfaces produces heat, causing the interface material to plasticise. The compressive forge force displaces the plasticised material, extruding interface material and any contaminants, promoting molecular bonding, creating a homogeneous bond between the parent materials. With friction welding, no third party filler materials, flux or shielding gases are required. The process is machine controlled, 100% repeatable, with full in-process monitoring and quality assured.

Webinar-Special: Advanced Welding Solutions

Gain in-depth insights into the fields of rotational friction welding, friction stir welding and magnetarc welding in specific webinars.

Friction welding alloweds excellent quality weld joints by similar and dissimilar material welding

Thompson subcontract friction welding provides advanced manufacturing processes for a wide variety of industrial components, across several industries.

The process sequence of rotary friction welding

  • Frictional contact phase

    One of the workpieces is rotated. Simultaneously, the other component is pressed against it with a defined level of pressure.
  • Friction phase

    The contact surfaces heat up due to the relative motion (rotation) and the simultaneous pressure.
  • Forge phase

    The rotation stops and the pressure is increased once again. This enables the plasticized material to be joined to the other component.
  • Holding phase

    Both materials remain under pressure and can then cool down slowly.

What are the advantages of rotary friction welding over conventional welding?

  • Friction welding ensures a very high bond quality

  • Friction welding provides a fully homogeneous bond across the entire joint interface 

  • Friction welding enables joining dissimilar metals
  • Materials do not melt during the friction welding process
  • High speed, high integrity bonds
  • Machine controlled process eliminates human error
  • Highly suitable for quantities ranging: from single prototypes to high-volume manufacturing
  • Friction welds often cost less as no consumables required
  • Pre-weld preparations can be less critical for this process

Automated friction welding

Our flexible robot based systems allow for automated loading and unloading of our rotary friction welding machines, dependant upon your exacting requirements.

KUKA offers a range of compact and modular friction welding machines with forge capacities up to 400 Tons for the flexible implementation of friction welding processes, adapted to the parameters and fixtures applicable to the weld component.

If you aren't able to acquire your own friction welding machine, no problem. Have your welding carried out by KUKA's automation professionals on premise at our Halesowen facility. We have been carrying out subcontract welding work, developing components and producing prototypes for renowned companies since 1970.

High weldability also for Bi-metallic and dissimilar materials:

KUKA guarantees you supreme quality in the production of safety-relevant components and enables you to weld even unusual material combinations:
  • Copper & aluminium welding
  • Copper & stainless steel welding
  • Aluminium & stainless steel welding
  • Mild steel & stainless steel welding
  • Carbon steel & stainless steel welding
  • Titanium & aluminium welding
  • Plus many more...
KUKA Thompson Friction welding: bi metallic welding, dissimilar materials welding
With friction bonding, we can bond certain material and alloy combinations that are considered either un-weldable or poor.

KUKA Advanced friction welding solutions pay off

KUKA offers complete friction welding solutions for a vast range of applications – with a large machine portfolio and additional support ranging from engineering to service.  Find out more about the advantages of automated friction welding and check our weldability chart to see which material combinations are possible to join. 
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Friction welding technology by KUKA

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