TiFab project predicts huge material savings
The TiFab project is the largest-ever research programme backed by Innovate UK for developing cost-effective titanium alloy structural airframe parts. Near net shape forming technologies, which build parts instead of machining them from solid billets, potentially offer a range of benefits.
Linear friction welding is emerging as one of these new, enabling technologies. The mechanical and metallurgical characteristics of the bond created by this process are not only robust, but also highly repeatable.
The three-year project has studied more than 170 aircraft components to assess their suitability for the process and predicts annual material savings of around £9m. TiFab consortium members CAV Advanced Technologies, KUKA, Ten Solutions and The Welding Institute estimate that manufacturers could save over 200 tonnes of titanium a year if they chose linear friction welding to bond parts instead of machining from solid billets.