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FPW --- Friction Plug Welding Machine

| FPW (Friction Plug Welding Machine)

On September 11, 2010, Japan-made H-IIB rocket which loads H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) was successfully launched. HTV is an unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft that will deliver supplies from Tanegashima Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS). From now on, HTV is expected to be the only means to transfer large machinery and material to ISS after retirement of the Space Shuttle (USA).

For weight saving of H-IIB, a new type of welding technology that softens metal by friction heat was introduced for the first time. Introduced technologies are FSW (Friction Stir Welding) and FPW (Friction Plug Welding).

FSW is the technology that stirs and joins metal while softening by friction heat which was generated by pressing down the peaking tool to the joint while rotating. FSW is applied to the joining of the circumference and domed part of the rocket tank. FSW has features such as stability in quality and speeding up process times and has already been applied in many industries such as railroad and shipping.

At the final process of this welding method, the peaking tool which has been pressed down has to be pulled out and a hole is left at that time. Therefore, this hole needs to be covered in. The hole is filled completely by welding a plug using same friction heat as FSW. This technology is called FPW and NITTO SEIKI has designed and manufactured this FPW system and supplied to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Tobishima factory (Tobishima, in Aichi prefecture).

In the future, H-IIB rocket is planned to be used for the launch of commercial satellite, new welding technology that involves softening of metal using friction heat such as FSW and FPW is expected to contribute greatly to the development of technologies in variety of industries starting from aerospace and aircraft industry.
Definition of FPW (Friction Plug Welding) Method of FPW (Friction Plug Welding)

Definition of FPW

Method of FPW

Sources :  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
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