Published on 26 October 2012
Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is being investigated by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI) for the welding of thick section aluminium. FSW of thick sections has been well publicised but KHI have developed welding equipment and procedures to join 5083 aluminium alloy plate in thicknesses up to 50mm.
5083 in an aluminium-magnesium-manganese alloy, which is more difficult to friction stir weld, than 6000 series alloys. KHI's equipment and procedures have enabled them to apply the techniques to the manufacture of hulls for high-speed ships, such as Jet Piercers and Jet Foils, and cargo tanks for LNG carriers.
Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd (MES) have signed a technical license agreement with KHI to benefit from their experience in FSW. MES are proposing to apply the KHI developments to the construction of the Techno Super Liner, a high-speed cargo-passenger carrier. This would represent the first large scale application of FSW in Japanese ship yards.
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