General Tool Company has been at the forefront of friction stir welding technology delivering on its promise to make our customers more successful using new technologies. Our team designs, engineers, and manufactures the AccuStir™ line of Friction Stir Weld machines. We’re one of the top friction stir welding companies. In addition, General Tool can custom design friction stir welding machines using our patented technologies to meet your specific industry needs or adapt our own in-house machines to fit your production requirements. We also provide support services, including in-house testing and on-site installation of FSW machines, to ensure that the highest standards of quality are met.
General Tool Company has a long history of successfully building special machines to create parts and assemblies that must meet exacting specifications.Customers include:
- EWI– The Edison Weld Institute
- Boeing Michoud — Lockheed Martin Facility
- The National Ignition Facility — The world’s largest laser
That friction creates heat is known to anyone who rubs bare hands together to warm them on a chilly day. In fact, friction stir welding is based on the same natural phenomenon. With this metal bonding process, however, the friction created by a specially designed rotating tool is so intense that it softens (but does not melt) the workpiece material. As this precisely shaped and hardened tool plunges into and traverses the joint between two pieces of metal tightly abutted against one another, the friction generated softens the material of the adjacent workpiece surfaces in contact with the leading edge of the tool. The softened portions mix together as the tool passes through. As that mixed material flows past the tool, it solidifies, creating a bond that is strong and permanent. Although the concept of friction stir welding may sound simple, the process requires specialized tooling. GTC has over two decades of proven experience and innovative patented technology designing and producing state-of-the-art, friction stir welding machines.
Friction stir welding offers considerable benefits and advantages. The variables involved can be controlled reliably and predictably. Because the workpieces do not reach the melting point, problems normally associated with conventional metal welding techniques are avoided. Fumes, spatter, porosity, cracking during solidification, shrinkage and distortion do not occur. The substantial tooling restraint of the work and the consistent process makes shrinkage predictable and minimizes distortion. Joining workpieces with friction stir welding is faster and less costly than other welding techniques. FSW lends itself to automation and can be adapted to robotic application. Friction stir welding is especially well-suited for joining aluminum alloys that are difficult to join with fusion welding processes. Recommended aluminum alloys include the 2000 and 70800 series, as well as the 2195 aluminum-lithium alloy pioneered for use on the external fuel tanks of the NASA Space Shuttle.