Electron Beam Welding

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Electron beam welding (EBW) is a specialist metal joining process specifically used for producing high-quality joints without causing any major distortion. In this process, a beam of high energy electrons is directed towards the joint that needs to be fused or welded.

These high energy electrons are produced by a filament or a cathode. Since heating is highly localized, most of the assembly continues to remain stable and cold, resulting in a narrow weld with a small heat affected zone (HAZ).

During the melting of the parent metal, there is no need for a filler metal. Since this is a line of sight approach, it is not possible to weld around corners or re-entrant.

Given that the heat input is highly localized, components that have been heat treated can be joined together. This presents a low-cost method for creating gear shafts, with a case hardened gear on a tempered and hardened shaft.

The Electron Beam Welding technique offers the following benefits:

• High Welding Speed.

• Minimal Distortion.

• Low heat input for joined parts.

• Narrow and small HAZ and Melt Zone (MZ).

• Deep weld penetration from 0.05 to 13mm in a single pass.

• Vacuum process results in clean, reproducible environment.

• All metals can be welded, even those with high thermal conductivities.

• Metals can be welded, even those with high thermal conductivities.

• Metals can be welded with dissimilar melting points.

• Natural welding process for niobium, titanium, zirconium and other materials requiring oxygen.

• Low-cost welding process for large-scale production in automatic mode.

• Machine process ensured for consistency and reproducibility of the operating conditions.

• Components can often be utilised in the as welded condition without the need for sub-machining.

As the Electron Beam Welding process takes place in the vacuum, the welds are clean and free of oxides and nitrides. Narrow, deeper penetration from .001 to 2 inches, with high depth to width ration eliminates multiple pass welds completely.

Narrow/Deep – High depth to width ratio eliminates multiple pass welds. Penetration from 001” to ½”.

Low Heat - Minimises shrinkage and distortion and allows welds in close proximity to heat sensitive components.

Strength – Welds up to 95% of the strength of the base material.

Versatility – Precise control and repeatability.

High Purity – Vacuum environment eliminates impurities such as oxides and nitrides.

Unique – Permits welding of refractory and dissimilar metals not weld able with conventional welding process.

Electron Beam Welding is used in the following applications:

• Power generation

• Medical

• Vacuum systems

• Aerospace – sensors. jet engine components, transmission components, parts of structures

• Space – sensors, titanium tanks

• Automotive – gears, transmission part, parts of turbocharger

• Electrical/electronic industries – parts in copper material

• Nuclear – instrumentations, valves, fuel housing, parts of structure

• Research centers – superconductivity material components, copper parts

• All metals even with high thermal conductivity – steel and stainless steel, copper and alloys, titanium and alloys, nickel alloys, aluminum and alloys, refractory metals, Mo, Zr, Ta, W, Nb, Hf, and so on

• Welding of metals with dissimilar melting points – steel to nickel alloys, copper to nickel alloys, copper to steel, tantalum to tungsten

Electron Beam Welding Compatibility Chart

The right tools for electron beam welding.

Electron Beam Welding Plant List

Advantages

  • Vacuum process, yields clean reproducible, high integrity joints
  • Low heat input with minimal distortion and a narrow heat-affected zone
  • Weld penetration of up to 30mm+ Metals of dissimilar melting points and thermal conductivities can be welded
  • Quantities from one-off development to large production batches can be accommodated.

Electron Beam Welding is a well proven method of producing homogenous joints in a wide range and combination of materials. The components to be welded are placed in a chamber which is then evacuated. High energy electrons are focussed to a small diameter spot and deflected so as to impinge on the joint interface giving up their kinetic energy in the form of heat.

The localised heat input results in a weld which has negligible distortion enabling machined components to be welded as a final operation. Since the welding is carried out in high vacuum there is freedom from oxidation. This precise nature of the process has the added advantage of predictable repeatability over long production runs thus ensuring the maximum degree of quality control. The last, but no means least, advantage is the cost effectiveness of using this process in production.

The combination of economics and weld integrity is best achieved by early consultation between the designer and Creative Instrumentation.

Electron Beam Welding