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Shipbuilding industry moves towards friction stir welding revolution

A project to develop friction stir welding of steel for application in the European shipbuilding sector reached another milestone recently with a successful dissemination day to showcase early stage results. The friction stir welding process was invented by TWI in 1991, and is already proven for welding structures made from aluminium and magnesium.

Project HILDA (High Integrity Low Distortion Assembly) is making ground-breaking progress in developing the solid state welding technique for steel, bringing with it the technical and economic benefits of reduced distortion, enhanced weld strength and fatigue resistance, and making manufacturing safer and more environmentally friendly. Attended by key representatives from the sector, the industry day took place at TWI's Yorkshire Technology Centre, where project partners demonstrated a 2m-long friction stir weld in 6mm thick DH36 shipbuilding steel. The project consortium also presented a review of its research to date and welcomed representatives’ input on the development programme and its future direction. The project consortium comprises seven European partners from leading research institutions, led by the University of Strathclyde. Project HILDA is funded under grant agreement 314534 of the Seventh Framework Programme SST.2012.5.2-3 "Innovative structural and outfitting materials for ships, including inland ships" For further information, please see www.hilda-europe.eu or contact alex.galloway@strath.ac.uk For information about friction stir welding, contact stephen.cater@twi.co.uk Ends About TWI TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in solving problems in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies. Established at Abington, Cambridge, UK in 1946 and with several facilities across the globe, the company has a first class reputation for service through its teams of internationally respected consultants, scientists, engineers and support staff, whose knowledge and expertise is available to its Members as and when they require. The company employs over 700 staff, serving 700 Member companies across 4500 sites in 80 countries. TWI also houses a professional institution, The Welding Institute, with a separate membership of 6000 individuals. TWI, Granta Park, Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL. Tel: 01223 899000. Fax: 01223 892588. E-mail: twi@twi.co.uk. Web: www.twi.co.uk 9 July 2013 catherine.condie@twi.co.uk 54/13

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