Mazak Corp. has acquired MegaStir, a supplier of friction stir welding (FSW) tools and technology, expanding Mazks Hybrid multi-tasking machine technology offerings.
The new Mazak MegaStir will provide further system advancements and evolve into an FSW technology centre. A resident FSW machine in Provo, Utah, as well as in other Mazak Technology Centres will provide customers the potential for real manufacturing solutions in a Done in One capacity.
Through several key developmental collaborations and now the MegaStir acquisition, Mazak continues to pioneer the Hybrid Multi-Tasking concept, that extends beyond the combination of additive and subtractive processes to also include others such as FSW capabilities for complete part processing on one machine tool platform and often in one setup.
Mazak first collaborated with MegaStir on the development of the Mazak VTC-800 FSW vertical five axis machining centre and they recently introduced the Mazak VTC-300C FSW at the IMTS 2018 show in Chicago. Designed and manufactured in Kentucky, the VTC-300C FSW features Mazak’s Mazatrol SmoothG CNC, a 40-taper spindle, full traveling-column design and a fixed table for the machining of extremely long and heavy workpieces (or multiple work-holding fixtures). The FSW package adds friction stir welding capability to the spindle via a unique tool holder and includes closed-loop FSW process control as well as FSW programming software that enhances the speed and capability of the process.
According to Dan Janka, president of Mazak Corp., the MegaStir acquisition is a testament to Mazak’s commitment to furthering the Hybrid Multi-Tasking Machine concept. “Our goal is to continuously explore and develop new technologies, processes and product innovation that will keep our customers productive, competitive and profitable,” he said, “and the various Mazak FSW machines are perfect examples of that, as are the other various machine models within the Mazak HYBRID Machine Series.”
Dale Fleck will head up operations as the general manager of the new Mazak MegaStir and said that all those at MegaStir are thrilled to now be part of the Mazak team. “Together with Mazak, we will advance FSW’s applications not only within the oil and gas industry sector but also into other new and dynamic high-tech segments as well.”
FSW is a solid-sate joining process that uses frictional heat and forging pressure to create full-penetration, defect-free welded joints with greater strength than conventional welding methods. The process utilizes a non-consumable tool to join two metal plates without melting the workpiece. Commonly considered a forging process, FSW is well-suited for joining alloys with low melting points, including aluminum, copper and brass, among others.