EWF/Erasmus+: FSW-TECH

Development of a Guideline for FSW Personnel

The European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting (EWF) conducted a survey  in 2018 within their Erasmus+ project "FSW-TECH - Development of a Guideline for FSW Personnel".


This survey was targeted at industrial companies, associations of companies and public bodies that work in the Friction Stir Welding field. Its objective was to understand, which qualifications are in place at the moment, and what are the skills required to employ personnel in this area (from Engineer to Operator).


The project main aims are to develop a guideline for three professional profiles in Friction Stir Welding, Operator, Specialist and Engineer, educational material and a guideline for implementation of the curricula at European level.

Project Partners

The survey was conducted by the following "FSW-TECH" project participants:

  • VÚZ - Vyskumny Ustav Zvaracsky
  • IZV - Institut za varilstvo
  • ISQ - Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade
  • ASR - Associatia de Sudura din Romania
  • EWF - European Federation for Welding Joining and Cutting 


Representatives of the following 75 companies from 16 countries replied to the web-based questionnaire:

  • Austria: Marech & Partner OG, Porr Qatar Construct and TU Graz
  • Belgium: CRM Group and Iemants NV
  • Brasil: IEAV, Lamef-UFRGS, Lamef-UFRGS, Lamef do Sul-UFRGS
  • Denmark: Davai AS
  • Finland: Aalto University, Promeco Oy
  • France: Carlos Ferreira, Stirweld, TRA-C industrie
  • Germany: AluStir, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Mahle, RIFTEC GmbH
  • India: Cheers Interactiv, India Dr K Asokkumar
  • Netherlands: Bayards Aluminium Constructies bv, CSI Romania SRL and Saipem
  • Norway: Marine Aluminium As
  • Portugal: FCT-UNL, Martifer Metallic Constructions and Portugal University of Coimbra
  • Romania: ArcelorMittal Galați, Assystem, Colegiul Tehnic Infoel Bistrița, COMPA Sibiu, Damen Galati, Duquein Composites, Ikon Ideea, Indomo Construct srl, Inteliform, ISIM Timisoara, ISIM Timisoara, MIRADRIA SRL, Plastique Forme Romania, Psihoreli, Raduica Ovidiu, S.C. Kuka Systems S.R.L., Autohton Tim SRL, SC COMELF SA, Fritzmeier Engineering SRL, SC Tehnoinspect SRL, SFL technologies S.R.L., Uni. Dunarea de Jos din Galati, Uni. Politehnica din Bucuresti, Uni. Politehnica Timisoara, Universitatea din Craiova, Universitatea Tehnica Cluj and VARD Tulcea
  • Slovakia: Energoinvest, a.s., Nemak Slovakia s.r.o., Statika stavieb s.r.o., STRABAG s.r.o., University of Ljubljana, Volkswagen Slovakia a.s., ŽOS vrútky a.s.
  • Slovenia: Adria Tehnika, FS Maribor, Institut za varilstvo d.o.o., LTH d.o., REVOZ D.D. and Slovenske Železnice Vleka In Tehnika
  • Spain: IK4 LORTEK
  • Sweden: Autoliv and Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co
  • United Kingdom: The Welding Institute 
  • USA: Emerson

They belong to the following sectors:

  • Automotive: 14,70%
  • Higher education: 14,70%
  • Research and development: 14,70%
  • Oil, gas and power generation: 13,30%
  • Civil and industrial construction: 10,70%
  • Shipbuilding/marine construction: 8,00%
  • Railway: 6,70%
  • Aerospace: 5,30%
  • Construction of welded structures: 2,70%
  • Data marking: 1,30%
  • FSW machine Provider: 1,30%
  • Machine manufacturer: 1,30%
  • Metallurgy: 1,30%
  • Power Engineering: 1,30%
  • Producer of cooling Systems: 1,30%
  • Spent nuclear fuel: 1,30%
  • Wide range of sectors; 1,30%

Training and Qualification of  FSW Personnel

During the survey, the following question was asked: "Are you aware of any regulation/standards requirements for the training and qualification of the Friction Stir Welding personnel? If so please identify them." and the following answers were given:

  • Yes 29%
  • No 57%
  • No sure 24%
The following documents were mentioned by those, who responded:
  • ISO 25239-3
  • EN 15085
  • AWS D17.3
  • HSE, QA and Fabrication Certificate

Regarding the question "Are you aware of any regulation/standards/Client Technical Specifications to assess the quality of the friction stir welds and of the process that are currently being used in your company?" 69.6% of the respondents answered 'yes' and 25.3% answered 'no', without detailing the ones they are aware of.

Levels of Qualifications for FSW Personnel

The following industrial staff is required by those who responded to the Question "What levels of qualification for the Friction Stir Welding (FSW) personnel is your company looking for?":
  • Operator  15
  • Supervisor  7
  • Specialist  6
  • Engineer  18
  • Other  20

The following skills gaps were mentioned by those who responded:


  • There is no qualification and training
  • Operator skills
Quality/Standards – Certification/Qualification 
  • Research
  • Lack of documentation in Romania
  • International recognition
  • Quality standards and components tests
  • Insufficient guidelines for machine operators and machine setters
  • Formal qualifications for FSW personnel other than operator e.g. Inspector, Engineer and Supervisor
  • Acceptance criteria for visual inspections and extent of NDT
Practical Training 
  • Experience
  • Best practice knowledge transfers
  • Formal training at all levels
  • Practical Training
  • Not enough practical experience
  • A lot can be learned on the job, product development is often a bottleneck
Process Knowledge 
  • Influence of process variables and machine knowledge
  • Metallurgy of weld
  • Lack of knowledge of basic metallurgy aspects
  • Optimisation of parameters, tool selection, evaluation to suit application
  • General lack of knowledge of the technology (potential for applications, critical process characteristics, economics, etc)
  • Lack of systematized information on process parameters for different materials/applications
  • To know the importance of the fixtures. To have open mind on the value of the stirring tool design FSW part design
  • Technical skills
  • Know-how on influence of tool features and clamping
  • Understanding of the needed tools for the process

FSW Variants

The following FSW variants are used by those who responded:

  • Friction Stir Spot Welding: 24
  • Double Sided Friction Stir Welding: 3
  • Diffusion Bonding: 8
  • Stationary Shoulder FSW: 7
  • Other (including friction hydro pillar processing, T joint, friction stir processing): 32

Industry Sectors

On the question "Which is the main industry this process is directed for?" the respondents identified the following industries:

  • Automotive: 19
  • Aerospace Industry : 12
  • Shipbuilding or Marine: 5
  • Railways: 3
  • Civil and Industrial Structures: 3
  • Energy Sector: 3
  • Production of Heavy Transport Mechanisms: 2
  • Offshore: 2
  • Transportation Industry: 2
  • Welding of Structural Components: 2
  • Higher Education: 1
  • Oil and Gas: 1
  • General: 1
  • Defence Industry: 1
  • Heat Exchangers: 1
  • Aluminium Alloys: 1
  • Piping: 1
  • R&D: 1
  • Other: 16 

The main applications mentioned by the respondents are as follows:

  • It is not used: 32
  • Research and development: 10
  • Automotive parts: 7
  • Al and Al alloys: 6
  • Aerospace and aircraft: 2
  • Oil and gas: 2
  • Power: 2
  • Practical Training: 2
  • Airframes: 1
  • All sorts: 1
  • Batteries of electric cars: 1
  • Casting: 1
  • Copper canisters: 1
  • FSW of extruded profiles: 1
  • Heat exchangers:1
  • Higher education: 1
  • Low volume of FSW parts: 1
  • Panels for ships, containers for offshore:1
  • Parts for defence application: 1
  • Welding of dissimilar materials: 1


Regarding the question "Which are the materials mostly used in your company?" the respondents answered as follows, probably not meaning "materials mostly used in FSW", as mentioned in the report, because FSW is rarely used for steel:
  • Carbon steel: 33
  • Aluminium: 29
  • Stainless steel: 3
  • Copper and its alloys: 2
  • Titanium: 2
  • Inconel and super alloys: 0
  • Other (please specify): 5