This past November, EB Industries was added to Pratt & Whitney’s approved vendor list. We are now qualified to PWA16-33M, which is a specification covering electron beam welding of precipitation hardened nickel alloys.
An approval by Pratt & Whitney is an achievement. The company’s engines are a pinnacle of engineering, renowned for performance and reliability. And Pratt & Whitney’s specifications are notoriously tough. Getting a PWA approval is a rare thing: It took EB Industries years to earn ours.
Pratt & Whitney’s engines are almost always used in critical applications, powering military aircraft, commercial jetliners, ships, etc. The failure of a Pratt & Whitney product is potentially catastrophic, and the certification process is correspondingly thorough and arduous. Our engineering staff had to develop an appropriate joining methodology, and then prove its efficacy to P&W and third party observers and inspectors. Parts had to be both destructively and non-destructively tested, and we had to create lengthy, detailed work instructions, documenting every step of our procedure, from initial receiving to out the door.
The part we currently weld for Pratt & Whitney has a complex geometry, which in and of itself would make the weld a challenge. The difficulty is compounded by the material and thickness of the part involved—it’s made from thin sheets of Waspaloy.
Waspaloy is a nickel based “superalloy” that was specifically created for high temperature applications in extreme environments. Developed by United Technologies, the parent company of Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace and Raytheon, among others, Waspaloy has exceptional strength and corrosion resistance even at temperatures upwards of 1500° F, making it well-suited for use in jet engines. Welding a material like Waspaloy wasn’t the challenge: we’ve been welding exotic, nickel-based alloys for years. The challenge was holding the tight, dimensional tolerances of the cross section of the weld joint across its entire length, as well as maintaining the final “sheet metal” like part dimensions. The proprietary tooling and procedures to do this took multiple iterations and years to perfect, but in the end, EB Industries developed a reliable, repeatable, and efficient production process that meets or exceeds Pratt & Whitney’s standards and requirements.
If your company is a Pratt & Whitney vendor that requires high energy welding, EB Industries is qualified to work on your project, whether you’re in development or production. If you’re not working with Pratt & Whitney, our PWA-16-33M qualification, along with our NADCAP and AS-9100 certifications, means that EB Industries is certified as an exceptional, trusted partner, qualified to work on the most challenging of aerospace and defense projects.