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Friction Bit Joining Gives Manufacturers Alternative to Riveting

The pioneer of Friction Stir Welding (FSW) technology, Mazak MegaStir, has patented a new process known as Friction Bit Joining (FBJ). The process, like FSW, gives manufacturers the ability to join two dissimilar metals without comprising their individual inherent properties or strengths. "Where other joining processes would fail to provide significant bond strength when joining two different materials, FBJ generates a powerful metallurgical bond between the process' bit, which is a consumable, and the first and second metals, generating a solid state joint that is flush on both sides," said a company spokesperson.

"In today's automotive industry in particular, the ability to join two dissimilar alloys is key to developing lighter vehicles that consume less energy, whether that is fossil fuels or electricity," added the spokesperson. "Many other industries would also benefit from that same joining capability."

For the aerospace and semiconductor industries, FBJ would enable manufacturers to join materials with different strength properties for safety and/or performance purposes. "This would allow them to engineer vehicles and components based on structural needs, which was previously impossible because of the limitations of traditional joining processes and the manner in which they change materials' characteristics," said the spokesperson.

In terms of process integrity, the Mazak MegaStir FBJ technology provides holding strength greater than other traditional self-piercing processes as well as spot welding, according to the company. "FBJ can pierce through and join high-strength dissimilar metals, such as 7000 series aluminum and advanced high-strength steels such as DP 1200, that self-piercing rivets would fail to penetrate," said the spokesperson. "While the automotive industry currently uses traditional through-hole riveting, the methodology sacrifices strength at the joint and requires additional material preparation to create through holes prior to actual riveting."

A typical FBJ system consists of a robotic arm and a process end-effector, but Mazak MegaStir can customize this system to meet any customer's specific needs. In operation, the robot arm moves the end-effector into position for performing the FBJ process. Shops with existing robots can easily adapt them for FBJ, with Mazak MegaStir providing just the bits and end-effector to create a fully functional system.

The consumable bits used in FBJ allow users to fuse the bit, the top material and the bottom material together in a matter of seconds. As the bit rotates, it generates heat that, in the end, forms a joint comprised of all three materials. Mazak MegaStir's bit designs and patented process promote even flow from the top material to the bottom material in a smooth, simultaneous piercing and stirring action for solid-state joining.

For more information contact:

Mazak MegaStir

1952 Ironton Blvd.

Provo, UT 84606


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