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‘Horizon 2020’, a financial tool for implementing the Innovation Union flagship initiative (European Commission, 2011), has spotlighted manufacturing as one of the areas for stimulating the economy and supporting the Europe 2020 Strategy. In order to support this, the growth and competitiveness of manufacturing in Europe needs to be addressed. Therefore, the ‘Manufuture’ Technology Platform was implemented to create a strategy regarding research and innovation in manufacturing.
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The Manufuture Technology Platform has identified Joining as a key enabling technology to manufacturing, and therefore, strategic direction should be developed. This has stimulated the creation of a Sub-Platform with the purpose of developing a strategic approach in the field of Joining. Joining is a core element of innovative and sustainable manufacturing.

The value added by manufacture and application of Joining technology in Europe amounted to around EUR 100 billion in 2010. Over 2.5 million employees were connected with this added value within Europe in 2010

As identified by Manufuture’s new vision (Manufuture Implementation Support Group, Working Draft, 2012), in order for Europe to remain competitive, particularly when developing economies with modernised production methods and enhanced technical capabilities are emerging, retaining localised manufacturing is key, and one where Joining plays an important and core element.

Definition of Joining

Joining spans a wide range of techniques and materials. It can be defined as creating a bond of some description between materials or components to achieve a specific physical performance

This bond can take many forms, but can be described as being generated by one or more of the following effects:
  • Thermal – This includes fusion and solid state techniques and other thermally affected Joining techniques. Examples include Joining based on the following: Arcs, brazing, electron beams, friction, lasers and electrical resistance.
  • Chemical – A bond effected through chemical reaction. Examples include: Adhesive bonding.
  • Mechanical – A joint generated through a mechanical mechanism. Examples include: Screw joining, riveting, clinching, and flanging.