With a reputation for excellence and innovation gained over 20 years, MFE Formwork (formerly Mivan Far East) is a world leader in concrete construction using its unique MFE aluminium formwork system which has significant advantages over other forming methods.
Having seen phenomenal business growth prior to 2008, MFE was suddenly put under enormous financial pressure, following the devastating global downturn that could have ruined the business. In just the first three months of that year, MFE lost 85% of its business and suffered huge losses from its stock of raw materials massively falling in value. However, having discovered friction stir welding, Pat Gorham, MFE’s Chief Operations Officer, was able to implement this unique technology to his welding processes which has enabled him to increase production by over 50% whilst reducing labour by 20%. Pat is now in the fortunate position that he can barely cope with demand, so has ordered his fourth friction stir welding machine. He now exports to many countries in South East Asia and the Middle East as well as the Indian subcontinent and Africa.
TWI was able to help Pat with advice on the appropriate technology and the specifications for the manufacture of a friction stir welding machine, as well as testing processes that would ensure the continued quality of the welds. Friction stir welding (FSW) was invented by Wayne Thomas at TWI Ltd in 1991 and overcomes many of the problems associated with traditional joining techniques. It is a solid state process which produces welds of high quality in difficult-to-weld materials such as aluminium, and is fast becoming the process of choice for manufacturing lightweight transport structures such as boats, trains and aeroplanes.
Fabricators all over the world are under increasing pressure to produce stronger and lighter products whilst using less energy, less environmentally harmful materials, at lower cost and more quickly than ever before. FSW, being a solid-state, low energy input, repeatable mechanical process capable of producing very high-strength welds with low distortion in a wide range of materials, offers a potentially lower-cost, environmentally benign solution to these challenges as well as a 24-hour production line.
For further information please e-mail Ernie Moskini or Khalid Nor.