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Friction Stir Welding of Aluminum Alloy Extrusion Panels for NZ Navy

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Friction Stir Welding of Aluminum Alloy Extrusion Panels for NZ Navy Inshore Patrol Vessels Building

Z.W. Chen and T. Pasang, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
B. Donovan, Donovan Group NZ Ltd., Whangarei, New Zealand
R. Morgan, Tenix Shipbuilding NZ Ltd.,Whangarei, New Zealand


ABSTRACT --- Friction stir welding (FSW) has in the last ten years been applied
in many industries, and a major application has been joining long aluminum
extrusions into long and wide panels. The earliest commercial application is in
fact the welding of aluminum extrusions for building large boats. In the last three
years, a significant application of FSW in the Australasia region is the FSW of
long aluminum alloy extrusions for building the superstructures of four NZ Navy
iInshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs). The process started following Tenix’s design
requirement of using FSW. An extensive discussion within a NZ FSW interest
group resulted in the suggestion of adapting a gantry machine. Donovan Group
took up the challenging task of investing and modifying the gantry machine for
FSW of well over 10 m long extrusion panels, as required. Extensive industrial
trials and evaluations were conducted, ensuring that the welded extrusion panels
meet the high property requirements set by the Lloyd’s standard. Since then, a
large amount of long extrusions have been welded using FSW into large panels
and building of the superstructures of the four vessels is in an advanced stage,
with the first vessel having just been officially launched.

© Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles Foundation (ET Foundation). All rights reserved. No part of The Proceedings may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the ET Foundation.