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

Friction Stir Welding Capabilities

HFW has a dramatic impact across many industries, including aerospace, transportation, marine, hybrid electric vehicle and rail. We provide new solutions for old joining problems.


Superior mechanical characteristics

Friction stir welding produces welds with high weld strength and toughness, plus a fine grain structure that resists fatigue stress. Due to the low heat and small heat affected zone, there is minimal distortion of the joined parts, reducing costs associated with preparing the part for subsequent use.


Dual head capability for faster panel welding

Our machines are equipped with upper and lower weld heads for extrusions or panels that require a top and bottom welded assembly.


Virtually defect-free bonding

The bond made between two pieces of material is solely of the original material, giving it similar strength, bending, and fatigue characteristics of the parent metal.


Join dissimilar alloys

Friction stir welding can be used to join dissimilar alloys - even combinations not compatible with conventional welding methods. To learn more about which materials can be joined using friction stir welding, visit our materials compatibilities page.

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

  • Rapid City, South Dakota
  • 1.605.343.3260

As the largest North American integrated aluminum solutions provider, we combine our extruding expertise with the world’s most advanced selection of aluminum welding, complex precision machining, and fabrication all under one roof.

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