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Two brand new developments for the FSW technology

The new 4-axis FSW machines DSM1400 & DSM2400 and the latest generation DynaSTIR FSW welding head will be presented at the Düsseldorf Schweissen & Schneiden tradeshow.

Higher dynamics, higher welding speeds, lower process forces and even higher quality welding seams and welding surfaces: at the Düsseldorf Schweissen & Schneiden tradeshow, Grenzebach will lift the curtain on two brand new developments for the innovative Friction Stir Welding (FSW) joining technology, the new 4-axis FSW machines DSM1400 & DSM2400 and the latest generation DynaSTIR FSW welding head (September 25th - 29th, hall 9, booth 9B73).

Innovative system engineering facilitates perfect welding results

The compact 4-axis machines DSM1400 & DSM2400 have been specially developed for FSW process requirements. Developing the machines, our experts focused on dynamic and precise process control as well as an intuitive control and operating concept.

The HYDROPOL® machine bed was specifically designed for very high static rigidity, low dynamic flexibility and deformation. Even with high welding feed rates, up to 3m/minute, accuracies at +/- 0.1mm across all axis can be achieved. The FSW machine comes in two models which differ in size of available work space:

  • 1,400mm x 1,000mm x 400mm (DSM1400)
  • 1,400mm x 2,400mm x 400mm (DSM2400)

The dynamic function of the portal system is facilitated by an integrated C-axis which allows the welding head to rotate by 360° both clockwise and counterclockwise. Complex trajectories with narrow radii, often the case with heat exchangers, can be welded more dynamically and much faster.

In terms of cycle time, the rapid loading and unloading of components is just as important as the dynamics and speed of the welding machine. The new machine generation is based on a modular design and can be upgraded with different automatic component transfer systems which allow for simultaneous welding and loading / unloading of work pieces. The loading and unloading of components can be done manually by the operator or fully automated. Heavy assemblies and devices can be moved easily in and out of the machine with the help of an indoor crane. The machine is open at the top and the protective door on the front of the machine is large enough to ensure easy accessibility to the entire work area.

The FSW machines DSM1400 & DSM2400 are suitable as stand-alone units, but can also be integrated into a 24/7 production line. “We align our technology with the customer‘s existing automation solution”, explains Ulrich Rettenmeier, Senior Manager R&D / FSW projects. 

Welding head, friction tool and machine perfectly attuned

The deciding factor for the weld seam and surface quality is the control of the process parameters, primarily the contact pressure. With the sensor system of the welding head, the contact pressure is reported back to the machine and process control system and together with the individual axes of the lead machine represents a force control circuit. Thus, developing the new DynaSTIR welding head generation, special attention was given to the optimization of the force measure and control principle. Contact pressures can be measured and regulated more precisely and closer to the friction tool.

For friction tools, Grenzebach uses modern, multi-part tools based on a stationary shoulder design. Friction pin and shoulder parameters can be set separately from one another and thus, stirring and compression procedures can be adjusted independently. This is a great benefit since the required contact pressures are reduced drastically which allows FSW technology to be used for lightweight constructions with very thin material thicknesses. “We tailor friction pin and shoulder material as well as tool geometry according to each customer application to achieve the best possible seam and surface quality. No time-consuming rework, such as deburring is necessary. The customer saves process steps – and money”, says Michael Sieren, Sales Director for Friction Stir Welding at Grenzebach.

The brand new functionality of the DynaSTIR tool and new welding head generation allows for variable adjustment of the penetration depth during the welding process. With the same tool type different penetration depths on the component can be realized without changing the tool. Furthermore, the exit cavity (negative of the friction pin) at the seam ending, which is typical for the friction stir welding process, can be significantly reduced. This is another big advantage with components such as heat exchangers which require media and pressure-tight welding.