GLOBAL joining solutions provider MTI has collaborated with technology company HMK, the Siemens motion partner, to pioneer the development of a double axle friction welding machine, worth in excess of £2 million, for one of the world’s leading trailer manufacturers. The 16m friction welding machine, which was delivered in February, welds a complete axle in just one cycle. The machine sets a new standard for the axle industry, reducing cycle times by up to 10 percent and potentially reducing the requirement of a third shift. A fully automated machine, the double axle friction welder eliminates slow and manual part load and unload operations. Specifically designed for the axle market, fully finished axles for multiple applications are delivered with precision part accuracy and statistical data monitoring for the quality process. Surpassing rigid industry specifications, the machine delivers workpiece orientation to less than ±1° and achieves TIR up to 0.25 mm. The double axle machine also features a CpK rating of 1.67, a critical performance measurement utilised by the industry which demands a CpK of 1.33 or above to satisfy most automotive customers. The impressive friction welder also features automatically-positioning clamps and offers near-unlimited recipes through its PC interface, allowing different axle production runs to be scheduled on one machine. This eliminates the need to juggle schedules across multiple, single-weld machines. Several other complex features have been designed into the machine to allow the customer to enhance its patented technology developments for future axle designs. As MTI’s most advanced double axle friction welder, the machine is the first of its kind to utilise Siemens’ SIMOTION high-end motion control system along with the latest motor and drive technology from Siemens’ SINAMICS range which is Industry 4.0 ready. MTI’s friction-welding kernel has been architected to maximise its use of the SIMOTION platform. By fully utilising the available powerful task architecture and execution system available, the system can adjust the priority of tasks within the processor according to when their execution is at its most critical for the friction-welding process.