The FSW process is currently patented by TWI in most industrialised countries and licensed for over 183 users. Friction stir welding and its variants friction stir spot welding and friction stir processing are used for the following industrial applications: shipbuilding and offshore, aerospace, automotive, rolling stock for railways,general fabrication,robotics, and computers.
Two Scandinavian aluminium extrusion companies were the first to apply FSW commercially to the manufacture of fish freezer panels at Sapa in 1996, as well as deck panels and helicopter landing platforms at Marine Aluminium Aanensen. Marine Aluminium Aanensen subsequently merged with Hydro Aluminium Maritime to become Hydro Marine Aluminium. Some of these freezer panels are now produced by Riftec and Bayards. In 1997 two-dimensional friction stir welds in the hydrodynamically flared bow section of the hull of the ocean viewer vessel The Boss were produced at Research Foundation Institute with the first portable FSW machine. The Super Liner Ogasawara atMitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding is the largest friction stir welded ship so far. The Sea Fighter of Nichols Bros and the Freedomclass Littoral Combat Ships contain prefabricated panels by the FSW fabricators Advanced Technology and Friction Stir Link, Inc. respectively.The Houbei class missile boat has friction stir welded rocket launch containers of China Friction Stir Centre. HMNZSRotoiti in New Zealand has FSW panels made by Donovans in a converted milling machine.
United Launch Alliance applies FSW to the Delta II, Delta IV, and Atlas V expendable launch vehicles, and the first of these with a friction stir welded Interstage module was launched in 1999. The process is also used for the Space Shuttle external tank, for Ares Iand for the Orion Crew Vehicle test article at NASA[needs update] as well as Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets at SpaceX. The toe nails for ramp of Boeing C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft by Advanced Joining Technologies and the cargo barrier beams for the Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter were the first commercially produced aircraft parts. FAA approved wings and fuselage panels of the Eclipse 500aircraft were made at Eclipse Aviation, and this company delivered 259 friction stir welded business jets, before they were forced into Chapter 7 liquidation. Floor panels for Airbus A400M military aircraft are now made by Pfalz Flugzeugwerke and Embraer used FSW for the Legacy 450 and 500 Jets  Friction stir welding also is employed for fuselage panels on the Airbus A380. BRÖTJE-Automation GmbH uses friction stir welding – through the DeltaN FS® system – for gantry production machines developed for the aerospace sector as well as other industrial applications.
Aluminium engine cradles and suspension struts for stretched Lincoln Town Car were the first automotive parts that were friction stir at Tower Automotive, who use the process also for the engine tunnel of the Ford GT. A spin-off of this company is called Friction Stir Link, Inc. and successfully exploits the FSW process, e.g. for the flatbed trailer "Revolution" of Fontaine Trailers. In Japan FSW is applied to suspension struts at Showa Denko and for joining of aluminium sheets to galvanized steel brackets for the boot (trunk) lid of the Mazda MX-5. Friction stir spot welding is successfully used for the bonnet (hood) and rear doors of the Mazda RX-8 and the boot lid of the Toyota Prius. Wheels are friction stir welded at Simmons Wheels, UT Alloy Works and Fundo. Rear seats for the Volvo V70 are friction stir welded at Sapa, HVAC pistons at Halla Climate Control and exhaust gas recirculation coolers at Pierburg. Tailor welded blanks are friction stir welded for the Audi R8 at Riftec.The B-column of the Audi R8 Spider is friction stir welded from two extrusions at Hammerer Aluminium Industries in Austria.
Since 1997 roof panels were made from aluminium extrusions at Hydro Marine Aluminium with a bespoke 25m long FSW machine, e.g. for DSB class SA-SD trains of Alstom LHB Curved side and roof panels for the Victoria line trains of London Underground, side panels forBombardier's Electrostar trains at Sapa Group and side panels for Alstom's British Rail Class 390 Pendolino trains are made at Sapa Group[not in citation given Japanese commuter and express A-trains,and British Rail Class 395 trains are friction stir welded byHitachi,while Kawasaki applies friction stir spot welding to roof panels and Sumitomo Light Metal produces Shinkansen floor panels. Innovative FSW floor panels are made by Hammerer Aluminium Industries in Austria for the Stadler KISS double decker rail cars, to obtain an internal height of 2 m on both floors and for the new car bodies of the Wuppertal Suspension Railway.
Heat sinks for cooling high-power electronics of locomotives are made at Sykatek, EBG, Austerlitz Electronics, EuroComposite, Sapa and Rapid Technic, and are the most common application of FSW due to the excellent heat transfer.
Façade panels and cathode sheets are friction stir welded at AMAG and Hammerer Aluminium Industries including friction stir lap welds of copper to aluminium. Bizerba meat slicers, Ökolüfter HVAC units and Siemens X-ray vacuum vessels are friction stir welded at Riftec. Vacuum valves and vessels are made by FSW at Japanese and Swiss companies. FSW is also used for the encapsulation of nuclear waste atSKB in 50-mm-thick copper canisters. Pressure vessels from ø1m semispherical forgings of 38.1mm thick aluminium alloy 2219 at Advanced Joining Technologies and Lawrence Livermore Nat Lab.Friction stir processing is applied to ship propellers at Friction Stir Link, Inc. and to hunting knives by DiamondBlade. Bosch uses it in Worcester for the production of heat exchangers.
KUKA Robot Group has adapted its KR500-3MT heavy-duty robot for friction stir welding via the DeltaN FS tool. The system made its first public appearance at the EuroBLECH show in November 2012.
Apple applied friction stir welding on the 2012 iMac to effectively join the bottom to the back of the device.