Friction Stir Welding

Welcome to our Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technologies.

What is Friction Stir Welding?

A unique and innovative method of jointing metals, friction stir welding uses frictional heat combined with precisely controlled forging pressure to produce high integrity, full penetration welded joints that are virtually defect free. Due to a very low welding temperature, mechanical distortion is practically eliminated, with minimal Heat Affected Zone (HAZ), and an excellent surface finish. The FSW process is effective on flat plated, cylindrical components and even parts of irregular thickness.

Since their launch in 2000, Powerstir Friction Stir Welding machines have attracted considerable interest from organisations seeking an innovative way of creating superior, high strength welded joints, without the detrimental and visible effects typically associated with conventional welding.

Developed for a broad range of applications - with special attention paid to structural rigidity and the load-sensing requirements of the FSW process - Powerstir machines are able to accommodate the heaviest of welding loads, ensuring precise force control and minimum deflection.

Offering far reaching opportunities for jointing traditionally difficult to weld alloys, Powerstir models offer precise position control, force control, load sensing, real-time data logging of weld parameters, seam tracking and height sensing.

Friction Stir Welding Steel and Titanium Alloys for Aerospace and Avionics

Recent research and development activities at our UK Headquarters have taken the capabilities of Powerstir Friction Stir Welding machines to new heights, to include the jointing of exotic steel and titanium alloys that are particularly well-suited to space and aerospace applications.

We have successfully welded both aerospace-grade steel alloy and aerospace-grade titanium in thicknesses of 3mm and 8mm, using PTG fixed pin tooling. Excellent results have also been achieved with exotic aluminium alloys from 2mm - 35mm in a range of challenging configurations. These include:

  • Longitudinal welding of flat plates, using PTG fixed pin, retracting pin and bobbin 'floating' pin tooling technologies
  • PTG bobbin tool welding of aluminium aerospace-grade alloys
  • Rotary (C axis) welding of flat plates using PTG fixed pin and retracting pin technologies
  • Longitudinal seam welding of large diameter cylinders using PTG fixed pin and retracting pin technologies
  • Rotary (C axis) radial welding of large diameter cylinders using PTG retracting pin FSW technology
  • Rotary (C axis) welding of dome-shaped spheres using PTG retracting pin tool technology

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Typical Powerstir Applications

  • Locomotive train and carriage panels (aluminium)
  • Aircraft fuselage and avionics development
  • Truck bodies, caravans and space frames
  • Heat sinks and electronics enclosures
  • Boat and ship panel sections
  • Flat and cylindrical fuel tanks and bulk liquid containers
  • Aluminium bridge sections, architectural structures and frames
  • Pipelines and heat exchangers
  • Electrical motor housings
Powerstir applications

Key Features

CNC Control

Model-specific, full CNC process control, typically comprising: advanced touchscreen interface, data acquisition and weld monitoring systems.

Production Monitoring

The operator can select the type of control to perform the weld - position, force or height control. Optional camera-fed visual monitoring provides safe viewing of the weld production environment.

Force Control

As continual load monitoring is a key aspect of friction stir welding, load cells measure and maintain a 'Force', as defined in the 'Force' parameter, for the whole of the welding process.

Weld Temperature Monitoring

A number of remote IO stations around the FSW machine allow features such as non-contact 'spot' measurement of the weld to be constantly relayed back to the machine control system in real time.

Joint Tracking

The tracking system is used to follow the seam of the weld - the FSW control software monitors the tracking system and moves the Y axis to ensure the welding tool stays on the weld seam. The FSW control software provides a graphical display of the status of the tracking system.

Gas Shielding

Optional argon gas shielding protects the welding area from atmospheric gases to create an inert gas atmosphere when working with parent materials that produce high temperature welds, such as steel and titanium.

Machine Fixturing

Optional machines fixtures - such as side clamps, mandrels and supports - can be incorporated into the machine design.

Data Acquisition System

All Powerstir machines are equipped to measure and record all available weld data. The operator can select which process variables are displayed by the check boxes provided. However, all process data is archived to the local hard disk. Data acquisition includes: axial down force, traverse forces, rotation speed of spindle and tool traversing speed and direction.

Height Sensing

Non-contact measuring heads continually measure the relative position of the tool to the component, holding it within the ± 0.05mm tolerance band.

A Range of Stirring Solutions

From small research machines to specialist models for ellipsoidal and spherical contour welding to static gantry and moving heavy gantry models for rail, shipbuilding and aerospace, Powerstir FSW machines have been developed for a broad range of applications.

Table Friction Stir Welders/Research Centres

Table Friction Stir WelderTypically used for educational purposes or for the manufacture of small components, in table models all processes can be shielded in the machine chamber. Table models are particularly suited to welding thin wall sections. Examples include: hydraulic cylinders, suspension dampers and heat exchanger components.

Static Gantry, Moving Table Friction Stir Welders

Static Gantry, Moving Table Friction Stir WelderAvailable in a range of sizes and capabilities, static gantry machines have found particular favour in experimental work, particularly that involving the development of aircraft wings and bodies. Static gantry machines have also been used in the advancement of space technology, with FSW welds enabling a reduction in the wall thickness of various components.

Moving Gantry/Heavy Gantry Friction Stir Welders

Moving Gantry, Heavy Gantry Friction Stir WelderThe Powerstir FSW moving gantry range includes models built especially for use in the manufacture of railway car bodies. Examples include the design and build of 30m x 4m gantry machines, as used to produce carriage floor, sidewall and endwall panels. Heavy gantry, double beam models are also available for heavy section jointing applications.


We are the only FSW Machine Manufacturer to work closely with both TWI & CFSWC

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Friction Stir Welding
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