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Thompson Friction Welding, a UK-based manufacturer, has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise commemorating the global sales of its friction welding machines.

The company has reported an increase in overseas business of 163 per cent in the last three years, which is equivalent to more than GBP6.5m of exports.

In the last 12 months, Thompson has generated its best-ever order income and sales enquiries to date are already up 200 per cent on 2008, according to the company.

The award coincides with the launch of a new generation of Thompson machines for the manufacture of a range of components.

The process involves a welding operation that has only previously been used by jet-engine makers.

Thompson claims that its E100 machine has already joined a 10,000mm2 titanium component using the linear friction welding process.

According to the company, the linear process is suitable for use in almost any type of industry, including aerospace, automotive, medical, power generation and other high-quality engineering applications, such as Formula 1 components.

Thompson believes that the E100 offers a range of benefits for component makers.

In the aerospace sector, for instance, parts are traditionally machined down from solid billets, whereas the linear process can be used to ‘build up’ components, producing savings in machining times and material costs.

Previously, friction welding could only be used on joints that had at least one round part, but Thompson claims that the method can now be used on almost any shape.

The advantages of this solid-state process also mean that similar and dissimilar materials, such as aluminium and copper, can be completely joined.

Thompson Friction Welding

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