Some of the biggest challenges in manufacturing involve joining pieces of metal without altering their microstructure, creating substantial heat-affected zones, applying filler material or making the metal porous, especially where vastly different shapes and dissimilar metals come together. As Mazak continues to advance the flexible talents of its HYBRID Multi-Tasking machines, one of the newest – and most innovative – of these capabilities lies in friction stir welding (FSW), a technology that addresses these joining challenges with new approaches that weren’t readily available just a few years ago. Best of all, Mazak combines FSW technology – which produces better welds than conventional methods – with conventional part machining capabilities for complete part processing on one highly productive multi-tasking platform.
Mazak has signaled its commitment to FSW technology with the integration of new acquisition Mazak MegaStir to the company and an ongoing commitment to further development of FSW as a pioneering part of its HYBRID Multi-Tasking machine concept. Since 2002, MegaStir has led the industry with improved FSW innovation and applications, becoming the global leader in the development and refinement of this technology. Designed for endurance and quality welding, MegaStir tools consistently produce top quality, high strength welds in a single pass.
Once the province of big companies who could afford the high price tags of custom, single-purpose machines, FSW has reached a more nearly mainstream role in which it incorporates fluently into subtractive multi-axis machines. The Mazak VTC-300C FSW and VTC-800 FSW incorporate the FSW process through spindle capability and programming flexibility on the SmoothG CNC. Both machines are Kentucky-made HYBRID Multi-Tasking products that feature a powerful 40-taper spindle, full traveling-column design and a fixed table for extremely long, heavy workpieces or multiple workholding fixtures.