Record-Breaking Linear Friction Welder Debuts

“Having access to a machine such as this linear friction welder will increase our lightweighting research and development exponentially.”

Manufacturing Technology Inc. (MTI) announced it will develop North America’s largest linear friction welder in terms of force capacity and tooling envelope, and deliver it to Detroit-based LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow for use in lightweight metals research and development projects.

Poised to be the first equipment of its kind in the United States, the LF35-75 welder, currently under development and set for completion in spring of 2018, will be housed in LIFT’s Corktown manufacturing center. The machine will bring the same linear friction welding (LFW) technology used in aerospace to achieve lightweighting in blisks and integrally bladed rotors (IBR) in aircraft engines to the automotive industry.

“We find this machine to be incredibly valuable for the future of high-tech manufacturing,” says Dan Adams, MTI president and chief technology officer. “It is so vital to the field, in fact, that we came to a cost-sharing agreement with LIFT in order to bring greater industry accessibility and capacity for future development work.”

LIFT, one of the founding members of Manufacturing USA, part of the federal government’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program, is a public-private partnership designed to help develop and deploy advanced lightweight metal-manufacturing technologies, and implement education and training programs to better prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow. Acquiring this machine is part of LIFT’s recent $50-million investment, along with IACMI—The Composites Institute, in their shared manufacturing facility in Detroit. With MTI and LIFT having a joint vision for the future of U.S. manufacturing, manufacturers for the first time in history will be able to weld full-size demonstrator parts in the United States.

“Having access to a machine such as this linear friction welder will increase our lightweighting research and development exponentially,” says Lawrence E. Brown, executive director, LIFT. “We are thrilled to have MTI as a partner and thankful for their willingness to develop and deliver such an impressive piece of equipment for us here in Detroit.”

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