Linear air

Halesowen-based rotary friction welding machine manufacturer Thompson is launching a range of linear friction welding machines for producing aerospace components.



Thompson is nearing completion of its first model, the E100, which is designed for rapid linear friction welding of parts up to 10,000mm², the first step in its multi-million-pound expansion programme.



The E100 has an open-arrangement design so that it can accommodate many component types used in the aerospace, oil, gas and power-generation sectors.



Alan Shilton, Thompson’s managing director, said that the machine is ideal for producing near net shape components with considerable savings in material and production costs, which would be advantageous for the aerospace industry.



‘One of the major benefits of linear friction welding is that it can join parts horizontally and vertically, and in a wide variety of materials, as opposed to machining parts out of a solid,’ he added.



Thompson has further developed linear friction welding technology in recognition of the growing use of difficult-to-machine materials, such as titanium, because of the move towards monolithic rather than multi-part components. Titanium also eliminates potential corrosion problems caused by aluminium’s reaction with carbon fibres and offers a coefficient of expansion comparable to composites.