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FRICTION STIR WELDING
Friction stir
welding for
the fabrication
of aluminium
rolling stock
Since the invention of friction stir welding (FSW) at TWI in 1991, companies from
all parts of the world have implemented the process, predominantly in the
fabrication of aluminium components and panels. Friction stir welded structures
are now revolutionising the way in which trains, metro cars and trams are built.
Stephan W Kallee, Sector Considerations during fabrication requirements include noise emissions,
Manager Industrial Membership
of rail vehicles energy efficiency, carbon footprint and
Services and Calvin Blignault,
Project Leader – Technology
The first steam locomotive, named The recycling. Manufacturers are continuously
Friction and Forge Processes Rocket, could travel at a constant speed of trying to improve initial and through-life
Department, EFP Technology
39km/h (24mph). Since then, cost, weight, aesthetics, crashworthiness
Group, TWI Ltd
manufacturing technology has rapidly and end-of-life reuse of materials. These
progressed, until today, where high-speed factors are addressed by innovative
trains can travel at speeds of up 574km/h designs of the railcar structure and the
(357mph) on metal rails and 581km/h selection of appropriate joining
(361mph) on magnetic-levitation tracks. technologies and materials.
However, the history of rail accidents and
fatalities due to high-speed collisions has Friction stir welding of rolling stock
placed tremendous demand on the Joining techniques commonly used for the
methods used for fabrication of rail construction of rail vehicles are metal inert
vehicles and the procedures that ensure gas welding (MIG), FSW, resistance spot
passenger safety. welding, bolting and riveting. Increasing
The demands on railcars today are interest is also being shown in adhesives,
becoming more and more challenging with hybrid laser-arc welding and friction stir
the need to satisfy diverse requirements spot welding (FSSW).
such as improved safety, comfort, cost FSW was adopted by several rolling
effectiveness and environmental stock manufacturers as an alternative
considerations. Environmental welding technique for rail carriage
98 EUROPEAN RAILWAY REVIEW
l
ISSUE 3
l
2008
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