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Thompson will showcase its linear friction welding solution for producing titanium aero components at a fraction of the cost of other manufacturing methods at the Farnborough International Air Show.

According to the company, which will be found on Stand B10 in Hall 4 at the event, which is due to be held on 19-25 July, the linear process can be used to make tailored blanks, which eliminate the need for the vast amounts of raw material usually associated with machining components from solid billets.

Thompson claims that these preformed components offer typical savings of 70 per cent.

The company’s new E100 machine is specially designed to use the linear friction welding process to join one or more parts together to create larger structures and prismatic shapes.

The method produces a solid-phase bond with near-parent metal properties.

Tailored blanks offer an alternative to machining as many aircraft components feature complex shapes such as stringers, flanges and webs added to their basic construction, according to Nick Edge, Thompson’s global sales manager.

He said: ‘In order to arrive at the net finished shape, a significant amount of raw material has to be removed during the machining process and this results in high buy-to-fly ratios of 10:1.

‘Using the linear method means buy-to-fly ratios can be as low as 2:1,’ added Edge.

According to the global sales manager, while other technologies such as laser welding and metal deposition remain in the early stages of development, linear friction welding is an established process that has been used for more than two decades by jet engine makers to produce safety-critical components such as blisks.

‘The continuing growth in raw material prices, and the wider use of difficult-to-machine materials such as titanium alloys, means the application of linear friction welding can make a major contribution to lowering production costs,’ he said.

Thompson’s E100 is the first in a series of linear friction welding machines for aerospace applications and complements the company’s rotary friction welding machines, which are used to produce parts for the automotive, construction machine and mineral exploration industries.

Linear friction welding involves rubbing two pieces of material together while applying a load to produce frictional heat.

It can be used to join similar/dissimilar materials in almost any shape from rings and blades to fans and square metal contactors.

Thompson will share its stand at Farnborough with sister company Kuka Automation and Robotics, which will demonstrate its latest robotic end effector solutions for aerospace applications.

Thompson Friction Welding

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