We take a look at the benefits and industries that make electron beam welding a go-to process.
A fusion welding process, electron beam welding uses a focussed stream of high energy electrons generated by a filament. These are then directed to the joint required to be welded.
A very minimal heat affected zone is formed as the process produces localised heat. This keeps the rest of the area at a stable temperature.
There is no need to use filler metal as the parent metal of the assembly is melted by the beam of electrons, creating kinetic heat and causing a fusion or bond. This results in a thin weld.
A vacuum environment is required for electron beam welding, as gases can cause disruption to the beam.
For this reason, as well as the high voltages needed, it is a heavily automated and CNC controlled process.
Specialist fixtures are required to move the workpiece inside the vacuum chamber.
The use of this level of automation also provides excellent repeatability throughout a batch of components, even though they are all completed separately.
Weld speeds are typically around 1-2 metre/minute and result in deep, narrow welds that need less than 5% of the heat input that a comparable TIG weld would require.
The remarkably low distortion seen from Electro Beam welds means precision parts can be machine finished prior to welding, even ground gears.
It also makes it possible to weld together components that have previously been heat treated, a very economical method for the production of composite gear shafts.
Recent developments in electron beam welding machine technology have achieved a local method of electron beam welding.
Whereby the beam gun is fixed in a vacuum enclosure on the side of the material to be joined, rather than placing the entire workpiece inside a vacuum chamber.
The key benefits
- Minimal distortion – welds finish machined parts
- Welds difficult and dissimilar materials
- Exceptional Quality and Repeatability
- High Weld Speeds
- Deep narrow welds of close to parent metal strength
Producing savings in
- Lead time
Industries that require the high quality results that are produced by electron beam welding include aerospace, electronics, scientific research, nuclear and both industrial and commercial general manufacturing.
Benefits of electron beam welding in more detail:
- Low heat input for the welded parts;
- Minimal distortion;
- Narrow melt zone (MZ) and narrow heat affected zone (HAZ);
- Deep weld penetration from 0.05 mm to 200 mm (0.002” to 8”) in single pass;
- High welding speed;
- Welding of all metals even with high thermal conductivity;
- Welding of metals with dissimilar melting points;
- Vacuum process yields in clean and reproducible environment;
- Natural welding process for oxygen greedy materials such as titanium, zirconium and niobium;
- Machine process guaranteed for reliability and reproducibility of the operating conditions;
- Cost-effective welding process for large production in automatic mode; and
- Parts can mostly be used in the as welded condition – no sub-machining required.
Application & materials:
- Jet engine components
- Parts of structures
- Transmission parts
- Power generation
- Titanium tanks
- Vacuum systems
- Transmission parts
- Parts of turbocharger
- Electrical/electronic industries
- Parts in copper material
- Fuel housing
- Parts of structure
- Research centres
- Copper parts
- Superconductivity material components
- All metals even with high thermal conductivity
- Steel and stainless steel
- Aluminium and alloys
- Copper and alloys
- Nickel alloys and refractory metals
- Titanium and alloys
- Zr, Mo, Ta, Hf, W, Nb, etc
- Welding of metals with dissimilar melting points
- Copper to steel
- Copper to nickel alloys
- Steel to nickel alloys
- Tantalum to tungsten
Electron Beam welders are not something we buy and sell, however we would love to talk to you about your current welding project and recommend a brand or piece of equipment to improve your productivity.