Coldwater Machine Company Selected as Partner in Ohio State Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding Project

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New patented welding process can join disparate combinations of metals, enabling the development of multi-material vehicles that weigh less and are more fuel efficient.

Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding sample

The VFAW process is aimed at helping to join advanced and dissimilar materials, which are increasing in the marketplace as automakers strive to lightweight vehicles.

Coldwater Machine Company, a leading engineering solutions company that manufactures and integrates assembly automation and special machines for the automotive, appliance, energy and aerospace industries, has announced that it has been selected as a manufacturing and collaboration partner to help commercialize Ohio State University’s Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW) technology. This joining process, which can weld dissimilar metals, will complement Coldwater’s other solid state joining capabilities including friction stir welding (FSW), refill friction stir spot welding (RFSSW), and laser welding solutions.

“As with our SpinMeld™ (FSW) and SpotMeld™ (RFSSW) solutions, VFAW is aimed at helping to join advanced and dissimilar materials, which are increasing in the marketplace as automakers strive to lightweight vehicles,” said Coldwater Machine President Tim McCaughey. “We are excited to partner with Ohio State on this technology and help bring it into production settings.”

With the VFAW process, an aluminum foil actuator is electrically vaporized by means of a capacitor bank. This rapid vaporization generates a high pressure pulse, which drives one metallic workpiece toward the other at extremely high speeds with the resulting impact causing the metals to weld together, forming an atomic bond upon contact. The technique uses less energy than resistance welding, yet creates stronger bonds.

The VFAW process was invented and patented by Ohio State in 2012. To date, the engineers at OSU have successfully bonded different combinations of copper, aluminum, magnesium, iron, nickel and titanium.

Coldwater Machine Company will work with Ohio State to create a manufacture-ready system for VFAW, including development of two units in the fall of 2017. Other collaborators include Honda and its supplier Jefferson Industries, which are working to bring the technology into production as a head unit for robotic implementation, while Ashland will validate corrosion control methodologies. The VFAW commercialization project is being funded by a grant from the Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program through OSU’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence.

Additionally, The Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in the project to further develop VFAW as a viable technology for creating multi-material, lightweight vehicles.

For more information on the technology, contact Coldwater Machine at (419) 678-4877 or watch this overview video at https://iml.osu.edu/vaporizing-foil-actuator-tool-creating-lightweight-structures.

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Additional Information:
Coldwater Machine: Coldwater Machine Company is a leader in the design, build and integration of specialized equipment for discrete manufacturing with extensive precision-machining capability primarily serving companies in the automotive, aviation, aerospace, appliance and energy industries that are producing products requiring tight tolerances. With over 50 years’ experience, the company’s key competencies include precision machining and assembly, engineering support, design and build of specialized manufacturing equipment, and solid-state welding/joining systems. http://www.coldwatermachine.com

OSU Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence: The Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) is the manufacturing port of entry into Ohio State. With a dedicated staff of product engineers and participation by research faculty, CDME is able to move at the speed of industry while continuing to innovate. Equipment, facility and staff are all utilized in the most efficient productive manner for any project. https://cdme.osu.edu/

Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program: The Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program is a competitive grant program to support the adoption and extension of existing advanced manufacturing technologies for Ohio manufacturers. It is administered through the Ohio Development Services Agency, which supports the state’s economic development initiatives through targeted programs and services that assist businesses, communities and individuals.

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Nancy Lesinski

Nancy Lesinski
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