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Award celebrates friction stir welding in industry

Connect, no. 114, September/October 2001, p.1

At the Annual General Meeting, Doug Waldron of The Boeing Company received the Sir Charles Lillicrap Medal for the Application of Joining Technologies to Real Constructions, in his case because of the successful industrialisation of FSW for Boeing's space launch vehicles.

In his acceptance speech he demonstrated the benefits and quick return of investment that Boeing achieved by funding recent TWI projects, when he reported the following:

  • The key milestones in Boeing's FSW activities were the successful production and testing of a subscale prototype FSW tank at TWI and then the delivery of the first Esab production machines.
  • 2100m of defect free friction stir welds have been produced for Delta II rockets, and 1200m for the larger Delta IV rocket.
  • The first Mars mission with a pressurised Delta II structural tank was launched in April 2001.
  • In comparison with gas metal arc variable polarity plasma arc welding the FSW operation is 'stress free'.
  • The FSW specific design of Delta IV and Delta II achieved 60% cost saving, and reduced the manufacturing time from 23 to 6 days.
  • The temperature range to which the friction stir welds are submitted during service is -195◦C to +183◦C.
  • The production start of friction stir welded non-structural parts for the Boeing commercial aircraft is scheduled for October 2001.
Doug Waldron of The Boeing Company receives the Sir Charles Lillicrap Medal at the Annual General Meeting of The Welding Institute on 19 July 2001
Doug Waldron of The Boeing Company receives the Sir Charles Lillicrap Medal at the Annual General Meeting of The Welding Institute on 19 July 2001
A friction welded fuel tank for use in the space programme
A friction welded fuel tank for use in the space programme

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