Sapa Extrusions North America adds friction stir welding capacity

March 5, 2013

Aluminum extrusion company Sapa Extrusions North America, Rosemont, Ill., has completed a joint development project with H.F. Webster Inc. that provides Sapa with exclusive access to one of the largest commercial panel friction stir welding machines in North America.

Friction stir welding is a solid-state joining process that uses frictional heat and mechanical mixing to join aluminum materials. According to the company, the process creates a strong, light bond with consistent weld properties, including improved ductility, fracture strengths and toughness, without the distortion from heat input and emissions from traditional arc welding.

This new friction stir weld capacity allows the production of two-sided welds up to 55 ft. long with expansion capability to 75 ft. long in aluminum material up to 1.18 in. thick. H.F. Webster utilizes friction stir welding equipment at multiple U.S. facilities, including the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center in Rock Island, Ill.

Applications for large-scale friction stir welded panels include passenger train floors, sides, and roofs; marine panels, thermal management products, and bridge decks.

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