05/2021: Here it is at last: RIFTEC's first double head system for friction stir welding

RIFTEC´s first double head system for friction stir welding

After more than one year of planning and construction the time has finally come: A brand new Fooke FSW50 has taken its place in our hall 2. It is very impressive to see such a gantry system filling half the hall. But how did it come to this?


RIFTEC looks back on almost 20 years of industrial friction stir welding. We are pioneers and market leaders in this area. In order to meet the broadest possible spectrum of inquiries and requirements we have repeatedly invested in new machines right from the start. Our portfolio includes welding machines with great power, multi-dimensional systems and automated cells. But what we did miss for a long time was a machine both double headed and for large-format components. At FOOKE we found what we were looking for.


Now our new double head machine has gone "live". This gantry system is able to do the friction stir welding of assemblies up to 8 m x 3.5 m in size. It also has two spindles with which components can be welded from above and below at the same time. This saves time and reduces the already low distortion in friction stir welding.


When using both spindles simultaneously, linear welds with a length of up to 3 m and welding depths of up to 60 mm can be realized. This is particularly relevant for customers from the areas of transportation, special vehicle construction or plant engineering. Until now, RIFTEC from time to time had to refer these customers to the HAI Group's plant in Ranshofen, Austria, due to the size of the components. For these customers in particular we expect significant potential for savings through the simultaneous use of both spindles.


If the upper 5-axis spindle is used separately, complex three-dimensional designs with a welding depth of up to 30 mm are possible. Or plates in sizes of up to 8 m x 3.5 m. For example, battery trays for electric vehicles, coolers or other cast components are friction stir welded on the system. But the large gantry machine is also suitable for small components and small welding depths. Depending on the alloy, welding depths from 0.5 mm are possible - that is about 80 layers of common household aluminum foil.


"With this ultra-modern welding system we are setting new standards," our technical managing director Alexander Frhr. von Strombeck says. "The Fooke FSW50 increases our spectrum enormously, the previous limits in terms of component sizes and welding depths are significantly expanded." With this unique system RIFTEC is strengthening its position as the leading independent service provider for friction stir welded components in a constantly growing market.


It was even before the system was up and running that we had the first inquiries for special components that we would not have been able to handle with the existing machine park. That is why we are very confident to fully work the new system to capacity.


Looking forward to a lot of new inquiries,



Dr.-Ing. Axel Meyer and Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Frhr. von Strombeck

with the RIFTEC team



Some technical details at a glance

3D-capable portal system Fooke FSW50
X axis: 8 m
Y axis: 3.5 m
Z axis: 1.5 m
rapid traverse: up to 40 m / min
max. welding force: 50 kN
total weight: 63 t