H.F. Webster’s new Friction Stir Welding cell in the Rock Island Arsenal facility.
Photo credit: Sapa
Sapa Extrusions North America announces the completion of 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. This process creates a stronger, lighter 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 will allow H.F. Webster to produce for Sapa two-sided welds up to 55’ long with expansion capability to 75’ long in aluminum material as much as 30mm thick. Until now, friction stir weld capacity in North America was generally limited to one-sided welds. This new capacity will complement the large component CNC machining capability that H.F. Webster already provides to Sapa. H.F. Webster utilizes friction stir welding equipment at multiple facilities across the United States, including the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center in Rock Island, Ill.
“Friction stir welding is a tremendously valuable tool for our customers,” said Kevin Stuban, director of fabrication at Sapa Extrusions North America. “Our relationship with H.F. Webster will now provide Sapa with long-term dedicated capacity to perform some of the largest two-sided panel welds in North America.”
Applications for large scale friction stir welded panels include passenger train floors, sides and roofs, marine panels, thermal management products and bridge decks.