4 ways friction welding helps the automotive industry improve quality and save money
Friction welding has been used in the commercial automotive and lightweight automotive industry for decades and is a proven-effective technique for joining banjo/trailer axle housings, pistons, driveshafts, turbochargers, airbag inflators, stabilizer bars, engine valves, transmission gears, bumper shocks, suspension components, water pumps and more.
1. Increased part strength compared to conventional welding techniques
Rotary friction welding has played a key role in vehicle production for over 40 years and is a proven, reliable process. Friction welding is a solid-state joining process in which the materials do not melt and no shielding gases are needed. Given the high-quality control and monitoring system of the complete friction welding process, you can be assured of more consistent and high-strength welds when compared to conventional welding. And, our automated solutions reduce the need for operator intervention, giving customers a more consistent flow with less down time and more cycle time benefits.
2. Reduced weight by joining dissimilar metals
When you can forge two dissimilar metals together, you have the opportunity to reduce the weight of the final vehicle. The ability to combine aluminum, in particular, with other materials has become a critical aspect of automotive production — and friction welding makes it possible. Whether you’re joining aluminum with copper, or steel with low-carbon alloys, the solid-state bond quality you get is strong and consistent.
3. Reduced cycle time through automated, high volume parts production
Friction welding – and rotary friction welding in particular – allows for high-volume production to help you create parts more efficiently. And because friction welding machines may be automated, the technology can be seamlessly integrated into a production cell. This further reduces the overall cycle time to produce the part.
For example, during a recent installation, MTI’s double ended axle machine combined the latest in automation and friction welding technology to reduce cycle times by 12%, allowing one German manufacturing customer to eliminate their night shift.
4. Orientation leading the way for the automotive industry
With orientation to ±1°, MTI’s latest twin spindle friction welding machine for axle housings is leading the way for the axle industry. To meet the exacting standards of the automotive industry, this friction welding machine delivers fully finished axles for multiple applications, all with precision part accuracy and statistical data monitoring for the quality process.
Additionally, orientation controls increases spindle positioning accuracy for even tighter finished part tolerances. Compared to traditional methods, advanced controls allow the welded components to achieve better length control and/or radial orientation than ever before. This helps reduce the as-welded tolerances that may drive the requirement for additional manufacturing operations in the production line, ultimately reducing costs.
From our early days working for Studebaker Automotive to recent projects, our extensive experience in automotive welding solutions is evident in the enormous variety of parts our machines produce. Those applications include air bag inflators, turbochargers, stabilizer bars, engine valves, pistons, drive shafts, transmission gears, bumper shocks, suspension components, steering components, water pumps, axles, camshafts, U-joints, and so many more. Friction welding may be fully integrated into automated production lines to handle this industry’s high-volume demands.