You may not realize it, but friction welded parts are part of your everyday life. A good example of an everyday application of friction welding can be found in a component used with automobile air bag inflators. This component is found in steering , wheels, glove boxes, dash boards, seats, and side panels, and since every car needs air bags, this component has a very high volume demand. The tricky part is that, due to the intricacy of the specific component shown in the video, it could not be made from a single piece.
Three welds were needed to create three chambers within the part. Since the middle chamber contains explosive pellets, certain welding techniques such as fusion welding cannot be used. Fusion welding would allow excessive heat to soak into the chamber causing an explosion during production.
Instead, by using rotary friction welding not only can this component be produced safely, but it can also be produced quickly. Here’s why friction welding is the smarter option:
- Safer welds – Since friction welding takes place so quickly, the heat from the weld doesn’t have enough time to disperse beyond the weld zone. This makes it a better option when dealing with potentially volatile parts that react to heat like the one used in the air bag inflators.
- Large volume – Friction welding makes high quality bonds in a matter of seconds. It’s great for parts such as air bag inflators since car manufacturers use millions of these parts each year in their production.
- Simultaneous welds – The process of friction welding happens quickly. To save even more time, when parts such as the air bag inflator require multiple welds, each weld is made simultaneously thereby reducing production cycle time.
Thanks to the friction welding process, these air bag components can be produced in high volume without any safety concerns during production.
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