Electron beam (EB) welding is an excellent choice for joining advanced materials used in industries such as aerospace, semiconductors, and medical devices. Welds are formed using low heat input. This highly controlled process is much like laser welding, with some unique benefits. If you’re deciding between laser welding and electron beam welding, this list of electron beam welding advantages may help!

1. There is no gas contamination with electron beam welding

We perform electron beam welding in a vacuum, free from air contamination. This gives you the cleanest, highest-quality weld possible. EB welding is the best option for components that require post-weld testing such as x-raying.

2. Less distortion and shrinkage

The EB spot size is under .003”,  which results in a very narrow weld and a very narrow heat affected zone. This minimal heat input results in less distortion and shrinkage. Finished parts do not require post-processing after welding. A huge advantage for our customers!

3. Electron beam welding is excellent for refractory materials

Materials like titanium, niobium, and tantalum can be welded using this process. Because the welding is performed in a vacuum chamber, components are not exposed to oxygen, which can cause these welds to fail. This is particularly an issue with welding titanium –  if the welds are exposed to oxygen, it can cause a serious failure called alpha casing.

4. Will not damage heat-vulnerable materials

This is a huge electron beam welding advantage. Because of the low heat input of electron beam welding, temperature-sensitive parts can be located in proximity to the weld region without risk.

5. Ability to weld dissimilar metals

Electron beam welding is a robust process for joining copper to stainless steel, and copper to nickel-based alloys. This includes Inconels and Hastelloys. Welding these dissimilar metals is not always practical with other processes.

6. Flexible process

Electron beam welding is versatile enough to handle very deep to very shallow welds. The same EB machine can weld materials that are less than .001” thick, and up to 4” thick.

7. Electron beam welding is good for high volume, high quality welds

Electron beam welding technology has made leaps and bounds in productivity and accuracy in the recent past. Antechambers eliminate pump down time, and seam tracking makes welding results more consistent.

8. Automation

Electron beam welding has used CNC automation since the 1960s. In fact, some of the CNC EB machines that were built in the 1960s are still running today. EB welding has a proven track record, and is a very stable, repeatable process.

9. Reflective materials

Because the delivery system of the energy in EB welding is electrons, not photons, EB welders can easily join highly reflective materials like copper, platinum, and Hastelloys. Most laser beams would bounce right off these materials.

10. Highly efficient

Electron beam welding is about 90 percent efficient – meaning 90 percent of the input power is reaching the part. Talk about efficiency!

As always, be sure to talk to a welding expert for the best recommendations on your particular project!