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TWI FSW Systems

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TWI uses a comprehensive range of FSW machines and peripheral equipment to research and develop most industrial applications. Component thicknesses from 0.3mm - 75mm have been joined successfully.


The machine has a vacuum clamping table and can be used for non-linear joint lines.

Sheet thickness: 1mm - 25mm aluminium
Work envelope: 5 x 8 x 1m
Maximum down force: 60kN (6t)
Maximum rotation speed: 5000rev/min


This machine was selected to extend the boundaries in the research and development of thick section FSW. The machine is one of the largest FSW machines in the world with over 130KW of spindle power. It has 12 programmable machine axes, a maximum down force of 15 tonnes and operates over an area of 6m x 3m. The machine has 3D welding capability and features an opposed welding head - a second welding head located directly beneath the upper head, which allows simultaneous, twin-sided welding to be performed. This offers the potential to weld materials up to 100mm thick in one pass.

Precision Spindle

The unique feature of the machine is its high concentricity spindle. This precision spindle allows research into the new range of ceramic tools being developed for friction stir welding of materials which have higher softening temperatures than those metals traditionally welded by FSW. Higher softening temperature materials include steels, stainless steels, titanium and nickel-based alloys.

This fully instrumented machine is capable of producing a down force of 10 tonnes and has a working envelope of 2m x 0.6m

FlexiFab System

This system combines the power of friction stir welding technology with the flexibility of a robot. This provides versatility not before associated with friction stir welding, with the ability to weld in any position and follow complex 3D weld paths, with the possibilities only limited by the imagination of the engineer.

The machine has a working envelope of 5 metre diameter and can be physically repositioned to cater for larger components.

The system incorporates a comprehensive data logging system to monitor and control the important FSW process parameter.

The robot will also provide the platform to develop the variant of FSW, Friction Spot Stir Welding which is solid state welding alternative to conventional spot welding.

For more information on Friction Welding and Processing, please see Joining Technologies or email: