Lightweighting Research Center Gets Giant Friction Welder
SOUTH BEND, IN—Manufacturing Technology Inc. (MTI) has shipped North America’s first linear friction welder capable of joining full-sized parts to the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) facility in Detroit, where it will contribute to cutting edge light-weighting research in the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Weighing 122,000 pounds—roughly the same weight as a Boeing 737—the LF35-75 has the largest tooling envelope of any linear friction welder in the world, allowing for the production of very large parts. It will apply the same technology used to create light-weight blisks for jet engines to applications in the automotive industry.
“This is the only machine of its kind in the world, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities this machine brings moving forward,” said MTI President and CEO Dan Adams. “Our North American customers in the aerospace, automotive, defense, rail, and mining industries have been looking for a machine that is capable of full-scale parts. Previously, these customers would have to travel all the way to Europe. But now, they have access to this technology right here in Detroit.”
To best serve North American customers, MTI and LIFT will have shared capacity of the machine.