electron beam welding system

Electron beam (EB) welding is an excellent choice for joining advanced materials used in industries such as aerospace, semiconductors, and medical devices. It allows a weld to be formed using low heat input, and is a highly controlled process, much like laser welding. However, there are plenty of benefits unique to electron beam welding. If you’re on the fence between processes, this list may help!

1. There is no gas contamination with electron beam welding.

Because electron beam welding is done in vacuum, there’s no atmospheric gas contamination. This results in the cleanest, highest-quality weld possible. For parts that require post-weld testing such as x-raying, EB welding is your best option.

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. This is a major advantage for customers, since it allows finished parts to be welded without additional, post-weld processing.

3. EB 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, it prevents the exposure to oxygen that 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

Because of the low heat input of electron beam welding, temperature-sensitive parts can be located in proximity to the weld region.

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 machine can weld materials less than .001” thick and up to 4” thick.

7. EB 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 the pump down time from the equation, and seam tracking eliminates operator expertise. It continues to become an even more robust process over time.

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 proven longevity and is a very stable, repeatable process.

9. Reflective materials

Because the delivery system of the energy in EB welding is electrons, not photons, it can easily weld 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. That’s more important to us as welders rather than you the customer, but it’s another reason to love EB welding.

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