11 01, 2021

Industries That Use Friction Stir Welding

2021-02-11T20:06:29+00:00January 11th, 2021|

Amid the screech of saws cutting through metal, the beeping of forklifts, and the clank of metal components, workers in modern shipyards are producing some of the largest vessels in the world. A similar cacophony of sounds as those heard in a shipyard can be heard around the country in automotive, construction, aerospace, and transportation factories.

Yet, one traditional sound associated with industrial manufacturing may soon go silent: the loud cracking, buzzing, electric sound associated with MIG welding. Sometimes likened to the sound bacon makes while frying, the sounds of MIG welding may eventually come to be completely replaced by the low buzzing of the spinning rotating tool used in Friction Stir Welding (FSW).

As FSW becomes faster and more versatile, more industries than ever are moving toward this type of welding.

The Benefits:

FSW shows its high cast as a modern-form joining operation.

Unlike other forms of welding, FSW can be automated which increases precision and reduces manufacturing times. Manufacturing time is further decreased because FSW only takes one pass to weld metals and because there is no filler material nor melting, eliminating the need for post weld work, such as splatter cleaning.

FSW is also hyper-modern by being more environmentally friendly and less wasteful (it does not have consumable parts) and not producing nauseous gases during the process.

Other benefits of Friction Stir Welding include:

  • Increased strength (High tensile, fatigue & bend properties) ​
  • Improved sealing, completely void-free leak proof joints​
  • Reduced thermal distortion and shrinkage​
  • Improved repeatability​
  • The ability to join two different alloys​
  • Good for welding metals such as aluminum alloys that can be hard to weld
  • Cost effectivity

The top users: Marine and Transportation

Both of these gigantic industries – marine and transportation – incorporate FSW into their manufacturing operations. Public transportation alone has a market size of 75.6 billion dollars[i], and for shipbuilding, without considering the other sectors of the naval industry, the market size is 29 billion.

Other key sectors are also keen on taking advantage of FSW. Below we highlight just one benefit FSW gives each of the following sectors:

Air Transport:

The Benefit: Weight Reduction

The long underbelly of an airplane, which has two undulations for engines, and the landing gear down against a completely white backdrop giving the image a classic black & white feel.

One of the simplest ways to increase efficiency in transport vehicles is by reducing weight. Marine, air, and land transport vehicles are foregoing rivets, clinch nuts, or traditional MIG or TIG welding in their manufacturing processes in favor of FSW which doesn’t add any weight to the structure.

“Weight is one of the biggest challenges to aircraft manufacturers. Using FSW to join aluminum alloy stringers to skins for aircraft wings and fuselage structures will reduce weight by the removal of thousands of rivets, and any overlapping aluminum material. A leading aircraft manufacturer estimated that potential weight savings of approximately 2.2 lbs. per meter of FSW could be made.[i]

Aerospace:

The benefit: Easy welding of hard-to-weld alloys.

Space X’s Falcon 9 Flight 17's first stage attempting a controlled landing on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) against an early evening sky as the fiery hot gasses are expelled toward the landing pad, creating a misty exhaust.

Some types of difficult-to-weld aluminums can frustrate traditional welding attempts. In addition, joining dissimilar aluminum alloys has always been a challenge due to the different chemical and physical properties of the metal.

Recently, aerospace companies have begun using FSW, a solid-state welding technique, to surpass these limitations. Today, some fuel tanks for spacecraft – made out of hard to weld aluminum alloys – are premanufactured using FSW[i].

Marine Ships:

The benefit: Better production habits, taking advantage of prefabrication, modular building, and assembly lines.

A scene with a backdrop of green hills covered with small shrubs and trees. On a waterway, a large white cruise ship with one smoke stack creates white foam as its hull breaks through the water.

As if a precursor of things to come, the first commercial use of FSW was on ships, specifically on hollow panels used for freezing fish on fishing boats.

Today, many ships use friction stir welded floors, decks, and bulkheads. By using FSW, shipyards reduce the amount of work needed to be done, shifting the work to assembly-line factories[i]. Many parts can be manufactured in production lines improving safety, accuracy, and efficiency. Not only that, the industry can take advantage of the best pre-fab and modular practices that will further decrease production times.

Today’s cruise ships are light weight structures which allow shipbuilders to build taller ships while keeping the center of gravity lower. Designed with all the heavy machinery at the bottom and lightweight aluminum materials at the top makes them inherently stable even as ship designs are getting taller and taller, demonstrating how sufficient safety can be achieved.

Ultimately this translates to one thing: bigger ships mean MORE FUN!

Whether it’s the freighters that carry the goods from our globalized economy, the military vessels that keep our oceans safe, or the cruise-lines that give families unforgettable vacations, all these sectors are seeing cost and efficiency saving with FSW.

Trains:

The benefit: Safety

a long, white high speed train with orange trim at the bottom. The train disappears into the distance as it rests at an empty platform with tile floors and a metal roof with a long row of lights and a skylight running down the middle on the roof.

This industry in particular has honed in on the advantages FSW offers in crash safety. FSW is the best welding process for creating safe designs:

“Modern passenger rail cars are increasingly produced from longitudinal aluminium extrusions with integrated stiffeners.

This design approach can enhance the crashworthiness of vehicles […] Large aluminum extrusions with complicated shapes are [being used].[i]

Freight Trailers:

The benefit: Stability

Anyone traveling behind an 18-wheeler on highways knows just how the wind and road shakes the trailers. By using FSW on the floorboard of their trailers, some freight companies argue that their trailers have become more stable than ever. “The aluminum extrusions become one at the molecular level, making the floor a single-piece of rigid aluminum.[i]” The end result? Less wear on the tires and better fuel mileage.

Other industries:

Other industries taking advantage of friction stir welding include the automotive, construction, and defense industries, among others. It has even been incorporated to make stronger snowmobiles and lighter coolant systems.

The strong, lightweight welds that can be used on hard-to-weld alloys have every industry that uses aluminum and aluminum extrusions looking to gain a competitive advantage.

Companies that have specialized in aluminum and aluminum extrusions are the front line for delivering FSW benefits to customers. For more information, please visit Taber Extrusions. With a long tradition of proving aluminum and aluminum extrusion solutions, Taber Extrusions provides companies all the advantages of FSW in one location.

Industries Served by Taber Extrusions:

 

  • Distributors
  • Government | Military Contracts | Department of Defense
  • Aircraft | Aerospace
  • Marine | Shipbuilding
  • Infrastructure | Platforms | Decking
  • Electrical | Power Transmission | Electronics
  • Transportation
  • Sporting Goods
  • Industrial, Agricultural, and Mining Equipment
  • Structural Components
  • Specialty Architectural

About Taber Extrusions: 

Founded in 1973, Taber Extrusions originally pioneered a process for extruding rectangular billet which enables the company to extrude solid profiles up to 31 inches wide or hollows up to 29 inches. Taber expanded with the purchase of an extrusion facility in Gulfport, MS., in 1995 which houses a new state of the art cast house and two additional presses, micro-extrusion capabilities, and the fabrication area has been expanded multiple times.

Taber continues to extrude billet in a wide range of alloys and sizes, and has diversified its markets beyond military since its inception to include aerospace, automotive, marine, infrastructure, and sporting goods, among many others. For these markets, the company supplies cast and extruded products in a variety of soft and hard alloys.

Today, Taber Extrusions has completed the addition of in-house Friction Stir Welding capabilities, and carries on their offering of extruded aluminum components, value-added machining services and raw material supply to the North American market – making them a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies never before seen in North America.

Follow Taber Extrusions

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/8843183/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Interested in becoming a part of the Taber Team?  Submit your resume to careers@taberextrusions.com.

Become a customer today! Visit us or request a quote: https://taberextrusions.com or call us at (888) 985-5319.

 

______

 

i https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/public-transportation-united-states

ii https://www.twi-global.com/who-we-are/who-we-work-with/industry-sectors/aerospace/joining-of-airframe-structures/friction-stir-welding-of-airframe-structures

iii https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/published-papers/industrialisation-of-friction-stir-welding-for-aerospace-structures-december-2001

iv https://www.twi-global.com/who-we-are/who-we-work-with/industry-sectors/aerospace/joining-of-airframe-structures/friction-stir-welding-of-airframe-structures

v https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/published-papers/creating-a-stir-in-the-rail-industry-november-2001

vi https://www.ttnews.com/articles/fontaine-brings-friction-stir-welding-revolution-trailer

 

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17 02, 2020

Taber: Advanced Friction Stir Welding Capabilities

2020-02-17T19:42:22+00:00February 17th, 2020|

Something big is happening at Taber: Friction Stir Welding has been added to their already extensive portfolio of capabilities. #TheShapeOfEndlessPossibilitiies #Taber #Aluminum Extrusions #FSW

17 07, 2018

Infrastructure Applications of 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys

2018-07-18T16:49:28+00:00July 17th, 2018|

It is estimated that 56,000+ bridges are structurally deficient in America with an estimated $123 billion in rehab needed. The solution? The 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys. Not only can they be used for emergency repairs but they can provide a long-term solution to this infrastructure problem with minimal maintenance required.Let us review what sets this alloy apart, its advantages, and the types of projects the alloy is best suited for.

What is an aluminum alloy?  

Aluminum alloys are created by taking aluminum and adding elements, creating chemical compositions with enhanced properties. Once created, these compositions receive a 4-digit number with the first digit signifying a general series that characterizes its main alloying elements.

What does it mean when an alloy is a part of the 6xxx series

The main agents in the 6xxx series are silicon and magnesium in order to form magnesium silicide within the alloy. Alloy 6061 is the most commonly used of the series, typically used in truck and marine frames.

What are the advantages of the 6xxx aluminum alloys?

  • High Corrosion Resistance – 6xxx series aluminums can withstand abrasion, keeping their strength and durability in a variety of environments. This is one of the appeals to using it in infrastructure and architectural projects that hope to create structures with the intent of lasting decades. Whether its receiving harsh sunlight in the Nevada desert or nearly year round rain in Seattle, the alloy is able to hold up.
  • Extrudablitity – A unique feature of the 6xxx series is its extrudability. The ability to make specific, extruded parts from the alloy is another factor in why architectural and infrastructure members use this alloy. They typically require unusual, high-strength components and the power of extruded of 6xxx series is its ‘place-metal-where-you-need-it’ flexibility.
  • Heat treatable, weldable, flexible – 6061 is a highly weldable alloy, using tungsten insert gas welding or metal inert gas welding. After welding, the properties near the weld are those of 6061-O (a loss of strength of around 80%). However, MIG and TIG welded material can be heat treated again to bring the material back to the pre-welding temper. Another option may be Friction Stir Welding (FSW). With FSW, the profiles are joined together through the use of a specialized rotary machine tool. Although the material is heated and joined together through friction, the overall heat applied to the material is much lower and of shorter duration than MIG or TIG welding and the heat affected zone is much less and retains most of the original strength.

What are the applications of the 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys?

It is this combination of advantages that make 6xxx Series Aluminum Alloys prime candidates for architectural and infrastructure projects. Such projects include:

  • Bridges or aluminum bridge decking: Extruded aluminums can be used to build traditional bridges or bridge decks can be pre-built in a modular fashion and moved to bridge sites. This method can limit the amount of time that bridges are under construction and save money in the long run.
  • Roof Structures: Typically implemented for arenas and gymnasiums, the 6063 or 6061 extruded tubes are used in large scale roofs with 5xxx alloy sheets covering them.
  • Pipelines: Because of their high corrosion resistance the 6xxx series is great for pipeline systems that have possibly acidic or dangerous materials flowing through them.
  • Automotive: Whether for a car, motorcycle, bus, or train, the 6xxx series is often used in the automotive industry for its high dent resistance and durability.

Taber Extrusions recognizes the hard work and precise engineering required for large-scale infrastructure projects. Capable of producing very large aluminum shapes with our exclusive 10” x 28” rectangular container along with our 16” and 20” round containers, we canconsistentlysupply our customers with some of the widest, most complex multi-void hollows in the industry. Taber produces their 6xxx series alloys in-house, and our recent investments in our casting and fabrication capabilities have poised Taber to be a great fit for any of your architectural and infrastructure needs… and a reliable partner for all aspects of your project.

Recent upgrades to our aluminum cast house and aluminum fabrication capabilities have put Taber in the perfect position to do just that. Check out our video on Aluminum Extrusions for Infrastructure Projects.

To learn more about how we can be of service visit: https://taberextrusions.com/

For inquires or quotes visit: https://taberextrusions.com/contact-us/

Follow Taber Extrusions

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/8843183/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/taberextrusions/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taberextrusions

Interested in becoming a part of the Taber Team?  Submit your resume to careers@taberextrusions.com.

21 11, 2012

Car Industry Advances Motivate Aluminum Manufacturing Expansion Into China

2015-06-18T15:33:37+00:00November 21st, 2012|

In the past week, the auto industry has made significant strides to increase its usage of aluminum in manufacturing. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, as this was a theme of Aluminum Week 2012 and Tesla’s aluminum-body Model S won Car Of The Year from both Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine. However, it’s a good sign at the aluminum industry’s growing importance for car manufacturing.

One key indicator of this comes from global aluminum company Novelis. Novelis just announced expansion plans for an aluminum auto sheet plant in China. Novelis is recognized as a leader in rolled aluminum and its products are used in everything from beverage cans (that Coke you’re drinking? Novelis produced the can) to smartphone components to car components. From PR Newswire via Herald Online:

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, officially broke ground today on the company’s first aluminum manufacturing plant in China. The $100 million investment is designed to meet the rapidly growing demand for rolled aluminum used in the design of a new generation of lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The wholly owned plant under construction in Changzhou in the Jiangsu Province, will have a capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year, further strengthening Novelis’ position as the world’s largest producer of aluminum sheet products used to create vehicle structures and body panels. Startup of the new facility, the industry’s first automotive sheet plant in China, is planned for late 2014.

With the aluminum industry still glowing from Tesla’s award-winning Model S, it’s likely that you’ll see further direct investment in aluminum-based auto manufacturing in the future.

Onward and upward!

11 10, 2012

Improving The Auto Industry’s Aluminum Manufacturing Process

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00October 11th, 2012|

The auto industry’s been one of the biggest topics of this blog over the past few months, but we haven’t gone too much into the specifics — it’s just known that the auto industry has seen aluminum as part of its path to lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

GM, however, offered more details about how it’s enabling greater use of aluminum in its manufacturing process. In particular, it has to do with the way the material is welded, as traditionally aluminum is difficult to weld. From GM’s press release:

“GM’s new resistance spot welding process uses a patented multi-ring domed electrode that does what smooth electrodes are unreliable at doing – welding aluminum to aluminum. By using this process GM expects to eliminate nearly two pounds of rivets from aluminum body parts such as hoods, liftgates and doors.

Spot welding uses two opposing electrode pincers to compress and fuse pieces of metal together, using an electrical current to create intense heat to form a weld. The process is inexpensive, fast and reliable, but until now, not robust for use on aluminum in today’s manufacturing environment. GM’s new welding technique works on sheet, extruded and cast aluminum because GM’s proprietary multi-ring domed electrode head disrupts the oxide on aluminum’s surface to enable a stronger weld.”

This process has already been used on the hood of the Cadillac CTS-V and the liftgate of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon (hybrid editions). We’ll see more of this in 2013, thus promoting greater fuel efficiency and moving towards a better experience from manufacturers to motorists.

28 02, 2012

Ferrari 620 GT: Lots of Aluminum

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00February 28th, 2012|

Ferrari has launched the second teaser video of the 620, their 599 replacement.

In the video, there are quite a few processes between hot, molten aluminum alloy being poured into forms and an actual finished car: stamping, lamination, extrusion, etc.

Ferrari 620 GT

It is clear that Ferrari used a lot of the stuff to save weight wherever they could.

According to autoevolution’s original article, “Aluminum was used as an alternative to carbon fiber because Ferrari wanted to keep the cost of their new GT down. Besides that, carbon fiber is difficult to fix in case of an accident.”

24 01, 2012

Hybrid Cars: A lesson in construction efficiency

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00January 24th, 2012|

According to a recent article, in Metal Center News, consumers are shifting to hybrid cars because they are more fuel-efficient, and because the use of aluminum in their construction makes the cars lighter.

The article projects growth through 2025 given consumer preference and the upcoming federal CAFE regulations that will vastly increase the miles-per-gallon requirements and CO2 emissions restrictions of all North American light vehicles.

Click here to read the original article and learn more about the use of aluminum for hybrid cars.

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