Specially developed Powerstir friction stir welding (FSW) machines from UK-based Precision Technologies Group (PTG), that incorporate a 30-metre x 4-metre moving gantry, could soon redefine the way in which Europe’s leading manufacturers of railway rolling stock produce aluminium carriage bodies.
Manufacturers typically use a combination of TIG and MIG welding to create railway panel welds. However, as the Powerstir friction stir welding process provides far superior, high-strength joints, one leading European train builder already anticipates that using its newly purchased Powerstir FSW machine will lead to a reduction in the wall thickness of panels, with the potential for weight savings of as much as 30%. Thanks to the considerable gantry length of Powerstir rail sector machines, the business will also be able to weld some of its longest carriage panels in one single operation.
Since their launch, PTG’s Powerstir gantry-type FSW machines have been used extensively in the production of railway carriage panels for some of the world’s fastest trains. With a growing demand for lighter-weight aluminium carriage bodies across the wider rail industry, increasing numbers of European-based manufacturers are now placing orders for PTG’s British-built Powerstir machines.
“We are delighted that leading European rolling stock builders are recognising the considerable advantages that Powerstir friction stir welding offers and look forward to working alongside them as they begin using our technologies,” comments PTG Regional Sales Director, Mark Curran.