Taber Extrusions, an NMLP group company, installed a new friction stir welding (FSW) line at its Russellville, Arkansas, manufacturing facility for the aerospace, rail, automotive, marine, transportation, and other industries. With this machine, Taber will be able to weld large double sided thick profiles with minimal cycles of the machine, providing greater efficiency and more precise results. The line enables the company to be a vertically integrated supplier of FSW panels and assemblies in North America, with capabilities including aluminum extrusions, fabrication, billet casting, and micro-extrusions.
“Besides the additional jobs and revenue this expansion will bring to our central Arkansas community, we are very much looking forward to Taber’s new horizons into technology and product development,” said Eric Angermeier, president of Taber Extrusions. “The welder will be housed in a new 60,000 square foot expansion to our current Russellville facility. This equipment further promotes our strategy of moving Taber toward being a solutions-oriented company offering highly engineered products. This friction stir welder, with the latest technology, is purposely built for the long, wide extrusions being produced on our current extrusion presses. This process gives us the added benefit of vertical integration allowing us to not only better serve our existing customers, but gives us the opportunity to develop new markets and products.”
The FSW line, supplied by Bond Technologies, Inc. in Elkhart, Indiana, was tailored designed for Taber to maximize the use of the extruder’s wide profiles. The Bond and Taber engineering and manufacturing teams collaborated at a very high level to create a custom linear seam machine based off Bond’s LS7 model precision dual head long panel welder. The FSW production cell is capable of welding double wall hollow extrusions up to 6.25 inches tall, 32 inches wide, and 65 feet long to create panel assemblies 200 inches wide and 65 feet long with integrated pre-joining profile trimming. Extrusions for the FSW will be supplied from Taber’s operations in Russellville and Gulfport, Mississippi, as well as from other NMLP related companies.
“As a leader in the aluminum Industry, Taber works with clients in military, government, aircraft, and aerospace, shipbuilding, infrastructure — and so much more. The aluminum extrusion shapes they are creating for these clients are absolutely ideal for friction stir welding technology,” said Dave Hofferbert, president of Bond Technologies, Inc. “It’s been our pleasure to work with Taber to make FSW implementation possible and bring the known benefits of FSW to their production process.”
Taber is known for their wide range of capabilities, both broad and unique. In 2018, the company upgraded its casthouse in Gulfport and expanded its capabilities to include the manufacture of micro-extrusions. Having one of the largest presses in North America alongside the capability to offer micro-extrusions as well as diverse value-added technologies such as FSW, cements Taber’s position as a leader in the aluminum extrusion industry.
“This was an obvious next-step for Taber,” said Jason Weber, vice president. of Sales and Marketing , Taber Extrusions. “The company was founded in 1973, and never stopped diversifying, adding new capabilities, and technologies. We are known for aluminum extrusions, fabrication, billet casting, ultra-precision extrusions. Friction stir welding was going to happen eventually.”