One of the world’s largest aerospace companies has awarded Manufacturing Technology, Inc., a contract worth approximately $25 million for three aerospace Rotary Friction Welding (RFW) machines to be developed and built in South Bend over a twoyear period. One of the machines being built will be the world’s largest Rotary Friction Welder, with inertia capacity twice that of any other machine on the planet. This contract, along with other recent orders, has resulted in the hiring of six new employees with an additional 11 open positions at the company’s South Bend location.
The three RFW machines are unique to the aerospace industry because of emerging demands to weld exotic materials crucial in the development and manufacture of fuel-efficient, next generation gas turbine jet engines.
Dan Adams, Vice President of MTI, explained that, “Next generation jet engines will burn fuel hotter than ever before. Hotter engines are more fuel efficient, reducing fuel consumption, reducing operational costs, while increasing engine thrust capacity.”
These new aerospace materials’ require more force and different speeds to weld together than is currently achievable, but with MTI’s new “super” rotary friction welders, jet engine manufacturers will be able to do just that.
The result is a massive Rotary Friction Welder with flywheels capacity 100% greater than previous models. “This is going to be the largest inertia welder we’ve ever built, and will be the largest in the world,” continued Dan Adams.
In February of 2014, MTI delivered a state-of-the-art RFW machine to the United Kingdom’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) for purposes of research and development in the aerospace industry. Components, techniques, and processes developed during the build of that machine will be incorporated into the design and production of these two new rotary friction welders.
MTI is also building two other machines designed for extra inertia with workload capabilities but scaled down for smaller aerospace parts. The three “super” machines are destined for manufacturing locations in the United States and Turkey.
Rotary Friction Welding is a joining process which involves holding one part stationary while rotating the other. The two parts are then forced together under pressure which creates friction and heat, reaching the material’s forging temperature without melting. The RFW process is complete when the weld interface cools; resulting in the previous two parts being bonded at the molecular level.
MTI has established itself as a leader in the aerospace industry for all disciplines related to friction welding. In addition to Rotary Friction Welding, MTI also serves aerospace with its Linear Friction Welding and Friction Stir Welding technologies. MTI has delivered machines to NASA, Boeing, GE, Rolls- Royce, Pratt and Whitney, and many of their tier one suppliers. A family owned business founded in 1926, MTI employs 185 people in their South Bend, United Kingdom, and China locations.