Innovative Linear Friction Welding technology for Near Net Shape manufacture of advanced Ti aerospace components
The use and cost of Titanium (Ti) alloys in aerospace continues to grow, putting ever more pressure on cost-effective manufacturing of parts in Ti. Near net shape forming technologies for Ti alloys are currently under development with the aim of building Ti parts rather than machining them out of a solid.
Most current approaches, however, are somewhat limited in terms of productivity, with material deposition rates of around 5kg/hour being common.
Linear Friction Welding (LFW) is an innovative solid phase welding technology that is emerging as a new enabling technology for Ti near net shape manufacture. Capable of effective material deposition rates of 50kg/hour, together with excellent weld quality and process repeatability, LFW has the potential to be a game changing technology in this field.
The TiFab project set out to develop and demonstrate Linear Friction Welding (LFW) technology as a new way of manufacturing aerospace quality components using near net shape titanium alloy – but with greater flexibility and higher production rates than are currently available.
Led by CAV Advanced Technologies, the £2.5m project progressed the technology required for cost effective LFW of titanium aero structures and developed this concept from its original position of TRL3 to TRL8 / MRL8, culminating in the production and testing of a relevant industrial demonstrator.
The project started in 2014 and completed successfully three years later in May 2017 with the manufacture of the industrial demonstrator.
Martin Wood, VP Programme & Quality Management at CAV Advanced Technologies Ltd, said:
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“We’ve accomplished a 100% success rate in producing tailored blank solutions which also delivered at least 30% in material savings. It’s a remarkable achievement especially as we didn’t know what parts would be supplied by the OEMs.”