Manufacturing Technology Inc. (South Bend, IN) shipped North America’s first linear friction welder capable of full-sized part development to the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) facility in Detroit where it will contribute to cutting-edge lightweighting research in the automotive and aerospace sectors.
Weighing 122,000 lb. (61 metric tons), the LF35-75 has the largest tooling envelope of any linear friction welder in the world, allowing for the production of the largest full-scale parts available. It will bring the same linear friction welding technology used in aerospace to achieve light-weighting blisks and integrally bladed rotars to aircraft engines and the automotive industry.
In order to best serve North American customers, MTI and LIFT will have shared capacity of the machine. MTI will run and maintain the machine at LIFT’s facility in Detroit. MTI also will complete customer-directed work on the machine and support any programs that LIFT has moving forward.
“This is the only machine of its kind in the world, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities this machine brings moving forward,” said MTI President and CEO Dan Adams. “Our North American customers in the aerospace, automotive, defense, rail, and mining industries have been looking for a machine that is capable of full-scale parts. Previously, these customers would have to travel all the way to Europe. But now, they have access to this technology right here in Detroit.”
Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT, added: “Deploying a machine such as this linear friction welder will increase our light-weighting research and development exponentially. We are thrilled to have MTI as a partner and thankful for their willingness to develop and deliver such an impressive piece of equipment for us here in Detroit.”
LIFT, one of the founding members of Manufacturing USA, is a public-private partnership designed to help develop and deploy advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implement education and training programs to better prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow.