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  • FSW Head for CNC machines 3, 4 or 5 axes
    Optimise your processes Press release

    Upgrade your CNC machine to a Friction Stir Welding machine

    Published on 09/07/20
Submitted by a.merlet.securite on Thu 09/07/2020 - 18:33
  • With a skilled and fully committed team, Stirweld aspires to conquer a new market : the technology Friction Stir Welding at low cost.

    Developed in 1995 by the TWI, Friction Stir Welding has remained a technology reserved for high value-added applications and for industrialists with the means to invest in expensive equipment.  Its know-how, which is the result of 15 years of experience, enables Stirweld team to develop a technology for FSW for all types of NC machine tools. Stirweld helps you to transform your CNC machine into a Friction Stir Welding (FSW) machine.

    Its customers come from the automotive, space, aerospace and metalworking industries.

  • The FSW Stirweld head adds to your CNC 4 indispensable functions

    It is not possible for a classic CNC machine to perform a quality friction stir weld given…

    • The lack of control that could results as defects into the welded part.
    • The impossibility of cooling the tool without also cooling the workpiece.
    • The absence of control over the pressure on the part when performing FSW.
    • Possible damages to the CNC machine because of the forces and vibrations produces during the FSW process.

    Moreover, using a classic CNC, FSW is not a repeatable process. Nevertheless, now the Stirweld FSW head can bring to your CNC machine these 4 missing functions, that will allow you to produce quality weld aluminium parts by friction stir welding. 

    Whatever type of CNC machine you have, our compatible equipment could provide it with:


    1. FORCE CONTROL to apply constant pressure on the workpiece 

    The CNC machine already has position control for milling. This allows the tool to be positioned at a constant altitude. But, in order to carry out friction stir welding, it is mandatory that tool applies a constant pressure on the workpiece. Consequently, the Stirweld FSW head has a piston inside the system, which moves up and down to apply that constant force on the part and achieves the correct quality weld.

    Stirweld force control outcomes in similar results and performance than any other FSW machines (special gantry or robots). This performance has been proven many times on aerospace and automotive application.


    2. TOOL COOLING that protect the machine from the temperature

    Tool cooling is substantially important, since in no case is it desirable to overheat the machine as this could damage it. However, we must not forget that in order to carry out defect-free welding it is necessary to reach 400 degrees Celsius. This is owing to the weld is made in the pasty state, in other words: the solid state of the joining process. Therefore, it is not possible to cool down as it is done during milling, by spraying water onto the tool. The reason is that the water would fall on the parts being welded and reduce its temperature. That is why Stirweld installed a closed loop system inside the FSW head that allows water to go up and down cooling the tool, but never over the piece.


    3. FORCE RECORDING for quality control

    As mentioned above, constant force on the workpiece is essential for quality welding. Consequently, it is necessary to guarantee this constancy in order to be sure that the part is free of defects. Stirweld carry out this quality control by incorporating a sensor to measure and record the force which is exerted during the friction stir welding process. As long as the force exerted lies between the minimum and maximum defined for the specific weld, they can ensure that the welded part meets the quality criteria and is free of defects. 

    Their software permits to control the force in real time, being observed directly on the screen during the friction stir welding procedure. Additionally, as the force control is recorded, it can be analysed afterwards.



    During friction stir welding forces and vibrations are produced which, if not prevented, are transmitted to the CNC spindle. These can damage it when they are too high. In order to protect your CNC machines, the Stirweld FSW head offers a special protection. This allow, firstly, to cut all the possible vibrations produced during the process. And, secondly, the protection system transmits the force directly to the gantry instead of the spindle, which is strong enough to withstand the produced force without problems.

    The FSW head has been mounted to date on more than 20 machine models for 3 years with high production rate with absolute spindle protection.

    Stirweld FSW head

    Thanks to these 4 functions added to your CNC machine – whether it is a 3, 4 or 5 axis machine – you will…

    • Perform high volumes of production with constant quality.
    • Be able to carry out aluminium welding or bimaterial assemblies without damaging your milling machine at all.
    • Greatly reduce the investment cost of an FSW machine, obtaining the same performance as with a special one.

    If you want to know more about this compatible equipment, do not hesitate to contact Stirweld without any commitment. They will be pleased to help you walk your first steps in friction stir welding!