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Whiteboard Wednesday: Near Net Shape with Additive Manufacturing

Topics: Whiteboard Wednesday, Linear Friction Welding, Aerospace, Near Net Shape

Posted by: Dan Adams on Jul 27, 2016 6:00:00 AM



Two buzz words in the manufacturing industry today are near net shape manufacturing and additive manufacturing. Both terms are manufacturing processes that save time and money when producing parts.

Friction welding has been doing near net shape manufacturing for decades. Near net shape manufacturing is the process of machining several smaller parts that form a larger part. It is possible to machine the larger part out of a solid block or bar of material. However, the process of machining that part can require a lot of unnecessary work and wasted materials. The simpler, more effective method, is to machine smaller, individual near net parts and then friction weld them together to form a shape that is much closer to the final part and requires very little machining to complete it.

For example, a lift screw can be made by friction welding a threaded rod to a flange rather than machining the entire screw out of a solid bar of metal which is time consuming and produces a lot of waste.  Friction welding this part is a faster alternative and a much more efficient use of material.

The ultimate in near net shape manufacturing is the additive manufacturing process, also known as 3D printing. Here, powdered material is fusion welded together, layer by layer, joining individual grains of material to build a lattice structure.

Large parts can be 3D printed, however, it is very time consuming and expensive. It is much more efficient to 3D print a smaller part, including a weld interface on the printed part, which can then be friction welded to another larger, standard structure.

MTI has successfully demonstrated the ability to weld additively manufactured parts to standard materials with the resulting structure maintaining very strong material properties.


MTI Can Solve Your Problems

MTI has used the friction welding process  for near net shape manufacturing of parts since the start and has now proven the ability to produce quality parts by friction welding with additively manufactured parts. With these techniques among the several friction welding options applied by our expert engineers every day, MTI has the knowledge and know how to solve your manufacturing problems. We’ll build a machine that makes your part, we’ll make the part for you, or we’ll help you make the part even better.

To learn more about friction welding, visit our website or watch how friction welding can be put to work for you.

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About MTI

In 1926 our founder, Conrad Adams, may not have been able to visualize all the great things ahead for his family’s small tool and die company. However, he could see a bright future solving problems for his customers. Through hard work and a steadfast dedication to solving their most challenging manufacturing problems, the little company from South Bend, Indiana became the world-leader in friction welding technologies, providing engineered solutions from golf putters to jet engines. Today – nine decades and four generations later – MTI’s commitment continues with a solid succession plan and a vision for GREATNESS in place for the next generation.