One-Of-A-Kind Lightweighting Machine To Be Installed in Detroit

A lightweighting research and development machine is headed to Detroit. Manufactured by Manufacturing Technology Inc. (MTI) of South Bend, the machine will be delivered to the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) facility.

The LF35-75 linear friction welder will be stationed at LIFT’s training and testing facility. Both LIFT and MTI are to share this 122,000-pound piece of equipment for the purposes of research and development in the automotive and aerospace industries. As such, LIFT will be looking to construct lightweighting blisks as well as rotors for automotive and aircraft engines. Nigel Francis, the CEO and Director at the company, states that the deployment of a machine of this capacity will significantly expand the R&D capabilities of the company.

The machine was built in approximately one and a half years. It is 22 feet in height and 14 feet in width. Although the original price of the machine is not yet disclosed, LIFT’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing stated that his company contributed around $4 million to build it with the help of MTI. The machine is regarded as a unique tool in friction welding as it is capable of producing very large, full-scale parts. Previously, customers in industries such as rail, mining, aerospace and defense would have to get expensive parts imported from Europe. Now they can get these parts made in Detroit.

MTI will be responsible for the running and maintenance of the machine and will also assist LIFT’s projects. Once installed, the machine will be commissioned and operational by the first quarter of 2019.

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