The Design Council has identified the innovative friction stir welding process, developed by TWI, as a Millennium Product. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the first tranche of these Products in April. The Millennium Products scheme is designed to highlight innovative and forward thinking products and services created in the UK for the 21st century. It aims to bring about a shift in perception of the UK both within and outside the country and to encourage companies to compete more effectively in global markets.
Friction stir welding matches up to all the key Millennium Products criteria:
- Opens up new opportunities;
- Challenges existing conventions;
- Is environmentally responsible;
- Demonstrates application of new or existing technology;
- Solves a key problem;
- Shows clear user benefits.
Since its original development for joining aluminium the range of application of friction stir welding has continued to expand in both materials (aluminium, magnesium, titanium, zinc, copper, lead, steel) and thickness (up to 100mmin Al).
The Millennium Product accolade, pioneering in its field, forward thinking and challenging, creative and innovative, is well merited.