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May 3, 2022

UW-Madison Research and Senior Design Team Visit to Fives Giddings & Lewis

Written By: Caitlin Scott



On Friday, April 22nd, a mechanical engineering senior design team and graduate students traveled with Prof. Frank Pfefferkorn to the Fives Gidding & Lewis factory location in Fond du Lac, WI.

Fives Giddings & Lewis has been manufacturing large machine tools – such as vertical lathes, horizontal milling machines, and horizontal boring machines – in Fond du Lac for over 160 years.

The students made the trip to conduct some solid-state metal additive manufacturing experiments to learn how the friction surfacing process scales up. They are studying this metal deposition process because of its applicability to any alloy that can be plastically deformed, potential for dissimilar metal bonding, and the fact that it can be performed on any CNC milling machine.

The friction surfacing process uses a round metal alloy rod clamped in a standard tool holder on a milling machine. The spinning rod is plunged a short distance into the substrate, much like in friction welding, but then traversed laterally across the substrate while plunging continues. When the right process parameters are selected the result is a 1-2 mm thick layer of deposited metal. However, the required forces and torques to plastically deform metal in the solid state are very large.

The students wanted to understand how to change the process parameters from the 3/8”-diameter rods they were using at UW-Madison to 1”-diameter rods. Hence the need to run experiments on larger machines and the field trip to Fond du Lac! Thanks to Fives for the hospitality and exceptional hands-on learning opportunity.

Mechanical Engineering researchers and Fives Giddings & Lewis staff in front of the horizontal milling center used to conduct friction surfacing experiments (solid-state metal deposition).
Mechanical Engineering researchers and senior design team with Fives Giddings & Lewis staff in front of a horizontal milling center under construction at the Fond du Lac plant.

Pictured above, left to right: Hemant Agiwal, Willem Fellman, Christian Fuhrmann, Carter Hauge, Aishwarya Deshpande, Arjun Patel, and Frank Pfefferkorn from UW-Madison;
Michael Vogl, Douglas Pierce, and Daniel Salemi of Fives Giddings & Lewis