Legislative and market pressures are pushing automakers to achieve new fuel economy requirements in the coming years. To help achieve these goals automakers are reducing the overall weight of the vehicle by increasing the use of high-strength aluminum and advanced high-strength steels, and with this increased use comes the desire to quickly, and securely, join these materials within the vehicle. Friction bit joining is a process that lends itself well to joining these materials. This process uses consumable fasteners that need to be used in an automated production line. The geometry of these fasteners causes two main problems: the bits have a short longitudinal axis, which makes them difficult to orient, and the welding platform may be used at different angles; requiring a robust reloading system that is indifferent to its orientation.Our research explored ways that these short axis FBJ fasteners could be handled and transported using various automated methods. We tested the use of small mechanical carriages and magnetic tracks to test their viability for transporting FBJ fasteners. The two different types of fasteners that were used in the project are described. Blow feed tubes ended up being a reliable method of transportation given that the fastener has suitable geometry. The superior bit and feed system design were bench tested using a manually controlled feed system. The system was tested in various orientations to test the robustness of the system since the system was designed to be part of the end effector on a production line robot. The testing revealed that the feed tube is a reliable method of bit transportation and mechanical jaws are a suitable solution for FBJ fastener manipulation. These jaws have several key design features that dramatically increase their effectiveness. Suggestions for future work would be an optimized feed tube cross section, improved material properties in the bit jaw, and more air flow at a higher pressure through the feed tube.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology

Date Submitted


Document Type





friction, bit, joining, automation, automated, stir, orientation, welding, aluminum, steel, high, strength, high-strength, ultra, DP, 7075, feed system, fasteners



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Engineering Commons