Friction Stir Welding


What is Friction Stir Welding

Friction stir welding (FSW) is a solid-state joining process that creates high quality, high strength welds. This produces welds of high quality in materials such as aluminum and copper.

During FSW, heat is generated by a rotating pin tool that creates a plasticized state when it is passed through the material being joined. The rotating tool creates a plasticized state so as the tool is progressed, a continuous joint is created. FSW, like other types of friction welds, is solid state in nature. As a result, friction stir welds are not susceptible to solidification related defect such as porosity or hot cracking, that may hinder fusion welding processes.

Parts can be oriented as butt welds, lap welds, and even fillet welds on highly sophisticated machines, but the most common orientation is butt welds. The rotating tool is then brought into contact with the work pieces. The tool has two basic components: the pin tool, which protrudes from the lower surface of the tool, and the shoulder, which is relatively large diameter. The length of the pin tool is directly correlated to the thickness of the work pieces.

Welding is initiated by first plunging the rotating pin tool into the work pieces until the shoulder is in close contact with the components top surface. Friction heat is generated as the rotating shoulder rubs on the top surface under an applied force. Once sufficient heat is generated and conducted into the work piece, the rotating tool is propelled forward. Material is softened by the heating action of the shoulder, and transported by the pin tool across the bondline, facilitating the joint. Friction stir welding is fast becoming the process of choice for welding.


  • Joins Wide Variety of Materials
  • High Strength Joints/High Toughness
  • Localized Processing Capabilities
  • Low Heat Input/Low Distortion


  • Part Accessibility is Required
  • Process Forces Require Ample Fixturing
  • Localized Material Temper Disruption

Ability to monitor all critical FSW parameters • Statistical Process Control features

HFW Solutions Friction Stir Welding Capabilities

HFW Solutions has over 15 years experience welding parts across many different industries including aerospace, hybrid electric vehicle, marine, rail, and thermal management. HFW is the premier friction stir welding service provider in North America. Our machines are state of the art and our weld engineers are experts in their craft.


Superior Mechanical Characteristics

Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a solid state process meaning that no melting takes places. FSW, in general, produces joints with superior mechanical characteristics, such as strength and toughness, than a traditional fusion weld joint. HFW’s engineering team develops and tests each weld process to ensure good weld quality.


Joining Disimilar Materials

FSW allows material that are incompatible to be combined by conventional methods to be joined. Different alloys and even different metals can be joined together. Each combination of materials requires a different weld process. HFW’s expertise in FSW allows for a wider variety of material to be joined than our competitors. To learn more about which materials can be joined using FSW, visit our Material Compatibilities page.


Dual Head Welding Capability

Many of HFW’s friction stir welding machines are equipped with upper and lower weld heads. This is especially advantageous when welding hollow extrusions. For assemblies requiring welds on two sides, this increases productivity allowing us to get more finished parts out the door.


Defect Free Bonds

HFW’s special attention to pre-weld joint preparation contribute to a virtually defect free weld joint retaining many characteristics of the parent metal.