A frequently asked question we get in terms of cost is why there is occasionally a price disparity between AFW and our competitors. That cost is fairly simple to explain. AFW is constantly buying new equipment, updating electrical and mechanical controls on legacy equipment, and investing in technology for our machines and quality system. This may result in slightly higher prices compared to our competitors due to running your parts on a fully depreciated machine (them) versus running them on the latest state of the art equipment (us).

What Will Friction Welding Cost You?

One other cost consideration to be aware of that might cause additional work is the removal of the weld flash. The friction welding process produces a side effect of out-flowing upset material from the weld zone. This will form a ring around the weld, and sometimes that “flash” ring (also referred to as ram’s horns) must be removed before subsequent procedures are applied to the weldment. Charges for this can sometimes cost as much as making the weld itself. We also have the capability to remove the flash in cycle time on the welding equipment itself. This, however, can slow down the cycle time on the welder, so AFW will often remove the flash on a much less expensive lathe in a separate operation.

Machine Based

Requires Job Setup

Friction Welding is a machine based process. The machines are large and configured for universal use in our plant. This means that each job requires a setup stage that requires a technician and supervisor. The size of equipment means that components are moved slowly using overhead material handling lifts. Workholding fixtures assigned to the job must be located and installed into the machine. These steps are followed by the calibration steps to make sure parts will be made to specifications on the control plan.

Some parts are simple in their configuration and can be run using standard clamps in the chuck jaws and tailstock of the machines.

Job setups in our plant run from $500-$1000 depending on the machine size and part complexity.

Friction Weld Flash

Might Cause Additional Work

The friction welding process produces a side effect of out-flowing upset material from the weld zone. This will form a ring around the weld, and sometimes that “Flash” ring must be removed before subsequent procedures are applied to the weldment. Charges for this can sometimes cost as much as making the weld itself.

One-Time Charges

Tooling and Weld Prove-Out

Each new part inquiry is analyzed and assessed for work holding needs. If the part is complex, then work holding fixtures must be made to adapt the general purpose friction welding machines to uniquely shaped sub-components that are to be joined into weldments.

We also compare the material chemistry and part dimensions to our catalog of weld parameters. When a new material chemistry and dimensional configuration is encountered, then a weld prove-out is required to establish a satisfactory weld parameter for that specific part.

Tooling charges at AFW can run from $1,000 to $5,000 and up from there depending on complexity. We do operate our own tool room with toolmakers on staff to contain this expense and start-up lead-times.

Weld Prove-Out can be as little as $800-$2000 for an easy to handle material chemistry. A full weld development process is sometimes called for with complex pieces using unusual material chemistry. We have seen specialized weld development charges in the range of $20,000 on occasion.

Quantity of Job Lot

Divide Fixed Costs by Number of Pieces on Order

The fixed cost of setup is divided by the number of pieces in an order. Job lot minimum charges are derived from the expense necessary to cover these.

Operation Cycle Time

After figuring the fixed cost per part, the cycle time of the process is calculated. Machine and labor rates are multiplied by the cycle time and added to the fixed cost per piece.

The actual dollars involved in this stage of estimating vary widely based on machine size choice, the complexity of part, packaging requirements, and test requirements for the part quality.

For more information on price,
See Our Blog Article on Bi-Metal and CNC Machined Components