Investigating Markets for MTI's New Low Force Friction Welding Technique

Student: Victoria Zellerhoff, 2016-2017

Sponsor: Manufacturing Technology, Inc., South Bend, IN

Fusion welding is one of the leading welding methods in the market because it provides a solid state weld. This means the material is never heated above its melting temperature, which can introduce defects and alter the material properties. However, it is expensive due to the force and relative motion that is required. This leaves friction welding primarily available to companies making large and expensive products that require high quality solid state welds such as the aerospace, automotive, and military industries. To make friction welding available to a wider range of industries the price would need to significantly decrease. The low force friction welding process developed by MTI (Manufacturing Technologies Inc.) has the potential to do this. Their process uses electrical resistance to preheat the materials just below the melting temperature before beginning the relative motion of friction welding. This significantly reduces the amount of energy needed to make the weld, subsequently reducing the cost of the weld. Thus, companies making smaller and cheaper products may be able to consider upgrading to friction welding.