Anglo American has filed a patent for a two-piece friction stir welding (FSW) tool insert. The tool insert consists of a stirring pin and an annular shoulder, both made of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride. The annular shoulder is a thin disc with a thickness of 1 to 12 mm and has a tapered, central aperture for the stirring pin. GlobalData’s report on Anglo American gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Anglo American, wireless charging system was a key innovation area identified from patents. Anglo American's grant share as of September 2023 was 48%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Two-piece friction stir welding tool insert with polycrystalline boron nitride

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Anglo American Plc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230311240A1) describes a friction stir welding (FSW) tool insert that is used in the welding process. The tool insert consists of a stirring pin and an annular shoulder made of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride. The annular shoulder is a thin disc with a thickness ranging from 1 to 12 mm and has a tapered, central aperture through which the stirring pin protrudes.

The patent claims also mention that the disc can have a thickness of 2 to 12 mm. Additionally, the shoulder can have at least one spiral feature on its planar upper surface, which is located near the stirring pin. The outer radius of the shoulder can range from 4.5 mm to 75 mm, and it may also include a flange.

The stirring pin of the FSW tool insert has a conical first pin portion that extends away from a second pin portion towards an apex. The second pin portion has an outer diameter of up to 50 mm or specifically 25 mm to 50 mm. The second pin portion also includes an outwardly tapering waist section, an outwardly tapering middle section, and an inwardly tapering base section. The stirring pin can have stir inducing topographical features such as spirals and flats.

The patent also describes a tool assembly that includes the FSW tool insert and a tool holder. The tool holder consists of a holding member and an elongate trunk member. The holding member has a recessed cup to receive the tool insert, and it is designed to receive only the base section of the stirring pin. The lower planar surface of the shoulder abuts the tool holder when assembled. The tool holder is made of a nickel-based alloy.

The tool assembly may also include a retaining nut mounted around the shoulder and the tool holder. To prevent relative rotation between the shoulder and the tool holder, a set of cooperating locking elements is used. The patent mentions that there can be multiple sets of these locking elements.

In summary, the patent describes a specific design for a friction stir welding tool insert that includes a stirring pin and an annular shoulder made of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride. The tool assembly consists of the tool insert and a tool holder, which is made of a nickel-based alloy. The patent also mentions various features and dimensions of the tool insert and the tool assembly.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies