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The Welding Institute (TWI), a research organisation, has ordered a Thompson linear friction welding machine to develop its materials joining technology expertise for the aerospace industry.

The Cambridge-based establishment will receive the E20 model from Thompson early next year and will use it for welding a range of parts such as blisks and airframe structures in a variety of materials, including titanium, nickel and aluminium alloys.

Thompson recently produced a linear friction welding machine, called the E100, for joining parts measuring up to 10,000mm.

Nick Edge, Thompson’s global sales manager, said: ‘The linear process offers many benefits for aero component makers in comparison with machining parts from solid billets.

‘In particular, it provides significant opportunities to save vast amounts of raw materials and substantially reduce buy-to-fly ratios.

‘Thanks to the institute’s decision to update its linear friction welding equipment, TWI members will soon be able to learn more about the advantages of this highly capable process, which has been used by jet engine makers to join safety-critical components for more than 20 years,’ he added.

Thompson’s E20 linear friction welder, which has a 20-tonne forging capacity, features an open platform design, making it flexible for joining a variety of parts typically used in the aerospace sector but also in other markets including automotive and power generation.

Equipped with Thompson’s latest software for data capture and weld monitoring capabilities, the machine is suitable for joining similar/dissimilar materials in almost any shape from rings and blades to fans and square metal contactors.

Thompson Friction Welding

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