FSW of Fundo Wheels

NASA's Retractable Pin Tool Being Used in Norway

Friction stir welded aluminium wheel made by Fundo Wheels

Photos courtesy of TWI Ltd


Friction stir welding (FSW) has been used since 2008 at Fundo Wheels in Norway for the production of light-weight aluminium wheels for the Volvo XC 90 Sport Utility Vehcicle. It uses a retractable pin tool developed by NASA for overcoming the need for repairing the end hole of circumferential welds, when welding rockets and tanks of space craft.


FSW wheel production in Norway for the Volvo XC 90 SUV


MTS manufactured and supplied a friction stir welding machine to Fundo Wheels, an aluminum rim manufacturer in Norway for the production of aluminium wheel rims for the Volvo XC 90 SUV. The machine is used to join two parts of the hybrid rim. The hollow rim consists of a cast aluminum face and a spin formed rim made from an aluminum sheet. The two pieces are friction stir welded by internal and external welds using a retractable pin tool invented at NASA and produced by MTS. By using the retractable pin tool the cycle time was reduced by 70 percent.[1][2]


The friction stir welded rim is not only stronger, it is also significantly lighter than a conventional rim. For the Volvo XC 90, the weight savings on four wheels are a total of16 kilos. This is a major benefit, because it improves the driving performance of the vehicle and saves a lot aluminium in the production.[3]


FSW wheel for the Volvo XC 90 SUV


FSW wheel for the Volvo XC 90 SUV




  1. Industrial Productivity - NASA Design Strengthens Welds. Originally published in 2008. 
  2. A Bonding Experience: NASA Strengthens Welds. 22 January 2009.
  3. Trond Gram: Bragdkandidat 9 - Fundo Wheels. 6. November 2008.