Coldwater Machine Company, a leading engineering solutions company that manufactures and integrates assembly automation and special machines for the automotive, appliance, energy and aerospace industries, has announced that it has been selected as a manufacturing and collaboration partner to help commercialize Ohio State University’s Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW) technology. This joining process, which can weld dissimilar metals, will complement Coldwater’s other solid state joining capabilities including friction stir welding (FSW), refill friction stir spot welding (RFSSW), and laser welding solutions.
“As with our SpinMeld™ (FSW) and SpotMeld™ (RFSSW) solutions, VFAW is aimed at helping to join advanced and dissimilar materials, which are increasing in the marketplace as automakers strive to lightweight vehicles,” said Coldwater Machine President Tim McCaughey. “We are excited to partner with Ohio State on this technology and help bring it into production settings.”
With the VFAW process, an aluminum foil actuator is electrically vaporized by means of a capacitor bank. This rapid vaporization generates a high pressure pulse, which drives one metallic workpiece toward the other at extremely high speeds with the resulting impact causing the metals to weld together, forming an atomic bond upon contact. The technique uses less energy than resistance welding, yet creates stronger bonds.
The VFAW process was invented and patented by Ohio State in 2012. To date, the engineers at OSU have successfully bonded different combinations of copper, aluminum, magnesium, iron, nickel and titanium.
Coldwater Machine Company will work with Ohio State to create a manufacture-ready system for VFAW, including development of two units in the fall of 2017. Other collaborators include Honda and its supplier Jefferson Industries, which are working to bring the technology into production as a head unit for robotic implementation, while Ashland will validate corrosion control methodologies. The VFAW commercialization project is being funded by a grant from the Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program through OSU’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence.
Additionally, The Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in the project to further develop VFAW as a viable technology for creating multi‐material, lightweight vehicles.
Our core business over the years has evolved from precision machining to providing dies, fixtures, and gages, and to providing turnkey automated systems for the Aerospace, Appliance and Automotive industries that include a wide range of flexible and agile metal forming and fabricating solutions.