European industrialisation of friction stir welding

Friction stir welding (fsw) will be applied to a range of
materials/be researched to achieve high welding speeds in
increased joint thickness. Processes will be industrialised
for real components and applied in commercial production.

This project has the overall objective to accelerate the use of friction stir welding (FSW) in Europe. Although the process is a UK invention and was first used commercially in SWEDEN, the subsequent development has been largely in JAPAN and the USA where huge funds have been invested in the exploitation in the aerospace and railway sectors of industry. The success in JAPAN and the USA makes it clear that FSW will not only be dominant in the automated joining of all relatively soft materials such as aluminium, magnesium and copper, but, due to the very superior joint properties and low cost, will also be applied to other materials and applications where these features are valuable. FSW is too important in automated manufacture for Europe to depend on the slow acquisition of know-how from abroad where the substantial improvements in quality and cost reduction have resulted in a reluctance in technology transfer. FSW has proved to be so industrially valuable that mass application has occurred in JAPAN and the USA before a full understanding or explanation of the technology exists in the public domain. This disadvantages manufacturers in Europe and, in particular, the UK where application is minimal. This will lead to reduced sales of manufactured goods and the project is planned to redress this situation by collaborating to accelerate the attainment of knowledge and proactively disseminating the results to ensure exploitation in Europe. Since capital investment is a necessary consideration in the application, the well proven job shop service route will be used to speed up application. FSW takes the apparent skill, health hazards, and cost out of welding whilst improving quality. Undoubtedly others will copy what is achieved in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, but the project provides lead time because the subtlety of tool design and application is not obvious. Active dissemination can use this lead time to increase product sales, thereby increasing home manufacture and maintaining employment. Keywords: friction, robotics, welding.
Project ID: 
2 430
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
8 500 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Jointing (soldering, welding, sticking)
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.