Call Us: (419) 678-4877
Call Us: (419) 678-4877

Solid-State Friction Welding Systems

Our SpinMeld™ friction spin welding (FSW) systems can join steels, aluminum, cast or sintered metals, magnesium, molybdenum and a wide variety of mixed metal combinations of these materials. SpinMeld systems reduce cycle times and defects as compared to traditional welding or joining techniques. From a quality perspective, the welding is continuously monitored and therefore post weld inspection and destructive tests are eliminated. Shafts, valve bodies, pistons, brackets and airbag inflators are just some of the components well-suited for SpinMeld production.

About Friction Welding

Friction welding creates mechanical friction between workpieces, heating the materials until they reach a plastic state (non-melting) at the joint interface. The materials are then forged together by force, creating a joint. Friction welded joints offers numerous benefits over other joining techniques including elimination of filler metal or flux, higher quality joints, a very small heat affected zone, and no coarse grain formations.

A proven joining methodology, friction welding can be applied as friction spin (or rotary) welding, linear friction stir welding (LFSW or FSW) or refill friction stir spot welding (RFSSW), as well as multiple variants of each approach. While most rotary friction welding is used on round, symmetrical parts, linear friction stir welding and RFFSW are key solutions for the future of aluminum joining allowing solid state welds on a wider range of part geometries.

A major advantage of friction welding is that it allows dissimilar materials to be joined. In fact, nearly half of the welds made through friction welding are for joining of dissimilar materials. Normally the wide difference in melting points of the two materials would make it impossible to weld using traditional techniques and would require some sort of mechanical connection. Friction welding provides a “full strength” bond nearly that of the parent metal with no additional weight.

Features:

  • Consistent weld duplication
  • Dissimilar material welding
  • Significantly faster weld times (usually < 3 seconds)
  • Forge-strength welds
  • Leak-proof joints
  • Non-corrosive bonding
  • No flux, filler or other consumables
  • High energy efficiency
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Process monitoring of weld parameters for statistical process control

Coldwater Machine’s SpinMeld systems are recognized for their cost-effective, repeatable, and cost effective solutions, helping to reduce cycle time and defects when compared to other welding or joining techniques.

Rotary Friction Welding – SpinMeld

There are two variants of RFW – direct drive and inertia. In the direct drive version, a servo motor controls the RPM whereas the inertia version uses energy stored in a flywheel to keep one workpiece spinning which tends to be less accurate, more costly and takes up more floor space. Although both produce similar quality welds, the direct-drive process offers the ability for in-process monitoring of all key parameters to control quality.

Coldwater began offering SpinMeld systems and services in 2003, focusing on the high-speed, direct-driveprocess. Coldwater Machine is one of the few companies in North America producing equipment for joining of dissimilar materials. SpinMeld systems can join steels, aluminum, cast or sintered metals, magnesium, brass, carbon fiber composites, ceramics with mixed metal connections, and dissimilar combinations of these materials. Coldwater has a variety of standard solution for small parts (solid diameters below 1.5-in. (38 mm and larger tube sizes) and can offer custom machines for larger part sizes.

SpinMeld Applications

Friction Welding is better alternative technology to drawn arc stud or projection weld, or MIG and TIG for thicker components. The friction welding process offers some definite advantages in today’s environment where the focus on lightweighting has taken center stage. It is particularly well-suited for airbag inflators, drive shafts, camshafts, hollow engine valves, axles, shaft bracket assemblies, suspension links, retainers, to name a few.

As compared to alternative joining processes, SpinMeld offers significant advantages: It is quick, inexpensive, eliminates the need for consumables, provides in-process monitoring for quality assurance, and due to its solid-state nature allows the parts being joined to retain properties close to those of the parent materials.

In terms of SpinMeld, well-suited applications would include the following:

For Smaller Parts

  • Components that are round, hex or symmetric shape such as standard nut, flange nut, stud or flange stud, a boss
  • Thickness of at least 0.100-in and as long as 4.0 – 5.0-in. stud
  • A diameter size of 1.50-in. or smaller for solid pieces or up to 2.0-in. for hollow tubes
  • Average part to part cycle times of about 7 seconds, but it can be less depending upon the component
  • Maximum weld area of 1.77 in2 (1140 mm2)

For Bigger Parts

Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

Prototype and Production Services

Through our Solid-State Joining Center, we provide pre-production, prototype and low volume friction welding and refill friction stir spot welding part production using our in-house SpinMeld and SpotMeld systems. We can run a variety of materials and components that are round, hex or symmetric shaped such as standard nut, flange nut, stud or flat.

We can also work to produce custom parts that make use of advanced joining technology as well as apply a new joining solution to your existing parts. Provide some of the information below and we’ll contact you for more details and state the process with your team.

We’re Joining the Future

with New Technologies for Lightweighting

Coldwater Machine is a leader in the development and manufacture of solid-state welding solutions that specifically address lightweight and dissimilar materials joining, partnering with several companies to manufacture and commercialize state-of-the art welding solutions. At the same time, we have deep experience with traditional MIG and resistance welding technologies. We have designed and produced automated weld cells using fiber lasers, CO2 lasers, MIG (GMAW) and friction solutions.

Testing & Validation

The Solid-State Joining Center also houses a Materials Evaluation and Testing (MET) lab that provides microstructural evaluation in addition to mechanical testing for weld tensile and hardness verification. This on-site service provides prompt verification of weld integrity, enabling Coldwater Machine to shorten the development time for laser, solid state and arc welding customers.

Research & Development

Our Solid-State Joining Center is focused on furthering the development of processes that enable the joining of materials at temperatures below their melting point and without the addition of filler metal or shielding gases. We are partners with the Edison Welding Institute and LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) where our SpotMeld systems are being used for friction welding research.

As a manufacturing and collaboration partner with Ohio State, Coldwater is helping to commercialize the University’s Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW) technology. This joining process, which can weld dissimilar metals, complements Coldwater’s other solid-state joining capabilities. 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.

SPINMELD in Action

Steel Nut to Steel Plate

Aluminum Pin to Aluminum Plate

Prototype Project Requests

We accept applications for prototype project requests. Please submit your initial request for parts joining prototype work. We can work to produce custom parts that make use of advanced joining technology as well as apply a joining to your existing parts. Provide some of the information below and we’ll contact you for more details and state the process with your team.