TWI now runs regular friction stir welding (FSW) courses in the UK. Demand for skills in this innovative technology continues to increase as it finds more and more applications in industry. The versatility of FSW technology makes it well suited to a wide variety of industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive, marine, and computer hardware.
Friction stir welding is a solid-state joining process that creates high-quality, high-strength joints with low distortion and is capable of fabricating either butt or lap joints in a wide range of material thicknesses and lengths.
A rotating FSW tool is plunged between two clamped plates and the resulting frictional heat causes a plasticised zone to form around the tool. The rotating tool moves along the joint line, forming a consolidated solid-phase joint as it goes. Because it's a solid-state process, FSW eliminates many of the defects associated with fusion welding techniques such as shrinkage, solidification cracking and porosity.
Fabricators are under increasing pressure to produce stronger and lighter products whilst using less energy and less environmentally harmful materials, at lower cost and more quickly than ever before. As a solid-state, low-energy-input, repeatable mechanical process capable of producing very high-strength welds in a wide range of materials, FSW offers a potentially lower-cost, environmentally benign solution to these challenges.
Comments from the latest course:
'The course was well received with the strong emphasis on practical training coming in for particular praise. Attendees enjoyed being able to use TWI's state-of-the-art equipment to make friction stir welds, and being given the chance to carry out inspections to demonstrate the absence of defects.' Stephen Cater, course tutor.
'It was a very interesting and detailed topic. Stephen has a vast knowledge of the area and was willing to share everything.' Candidate from the automotive industry.
'It was a very interesting course. I really enjoyed it.' Candidate from the automotive industry.
The course lasted three days: one to gain Foundation, followed by two more leading to the Intermediate Award. At the end of the course, attendees were given the opportunity to take an exam demonstrating that they had a level of knowledge of FSW in line with the recommendations of ISO 25239.
The next FSW training courses are scheduled for February 2016 in the UK. Places are limited so early booking is recommended.
For more details on the two FSW workshops and this technology, see the links below: