A Superior Welding Technology with Precision Automated Location Tracking
Electron Beam Welding is considered the preeminent fusion welding process for many applications. An EB weld is exceptionally high quality, retaining 97% of the strength of the base materials and free of oxides and impurities due to the nature of the electron beam welding process. An electron beam can weld high strength/high temp metals like titanium with relative ease and works very well for joining refractory metals and dissimilar combinations of metals.
The nature of electron beam welding hasn’t changed significantly since its development in the 1950’s: A beam of accelerated electrons is generated, focused using magnetic fields, and precisely applied to the materials to be joined. As the electrons impact the materials, their kinetic energy is converted to heat, which causes the metals to melt and flow together. Electron beam welding generally occurs under vacuum, as the presence of gas molecules can scatter the beam.
For weld set-up, most electron beam welding service providers use what can best be described as a manual process. Parts are loaded by hand into fixtures, and the fixtures are manipulated in the weld chamber via motion controllers. However, the actual finding and “targeting” of the weld joint is typically the responsibility of a human operator.
At EB Industries, our operators are the best in the world. They average twenty years of experience, many of them possess engineering degrees, and all of them undergo extensive and continual training to ensure the welds they make meet stringent ISO, MIL and AWS specifications. In short, they rarely miss a weld joint. That being said, operator precision and accuracy is also affected by fatigue, health and other human factors.
Operator Skill and Precision Welding
Our operators, utilizing industry standard technology, can create excellent welds for many applications in a variety of industries. EB Industries has an industry-wide low field failure rate—we have a documented reject escape percentage of less than 0.2%. Our reputation is built on that—the skill of our operators and the precision of our processes.
However, for some highly critical applications, no level of operator skill is enough to ensure what might essentially be termed a “perfect weld.” For mission critical parts going on aircraft and spacecraft, another level of precision is required, and that level is beyond the capabilities of a human operator working with a manual electron beam welder.
The Best EB Welder Available for Mission Critical Applications
The president of EB Industries, Steve DeLalio, tasked himself and the team at EB Industries to build not only a better EB welder, but what is arguably the most accurate and precise electron beam welding platform available. Steve drew upon a lifetime of experience: He learned to operate EB welders in his late teens while working for his father, George DeLalio, who founded EB Industries in 1967. Steve subsequently developed much of the software, automation and tooling used to control the array of electron beam welders at EB Industries, utilizing his degrees in computer science and engineering. Additionally, the engineers and technicians at EB Industries have decades of manufacturing and engineering experience, solving complex problems for customers around the world. The EB WeldCube is a culmination of everything this team has learned as a pioneer in this field.
Advantages of Fully Automated Electron Beam Welding
The EB WeldCube, in operation at our Farmingdale, NY facility, is a fully automated electron beam welding solution. It has a smaller footprint than typical electron beam welders and takes advantage of the latest technologies to optimize all aspects of operation, from vacuum system to beam generation to part manipulation, and finally, and most critically, to weld location targeting.
Unlike virtually every other electron beam welder in the US, the EB WeldCube locates weld points non-optically. Instead, it uses a proprietary process, similar to that of an electron microscope, to scan the part, pinpoint weld locations with beyond-human accuracy, and then engage the electron beam and execute the needed welds. The EB WeldCube’s automated weld joint tracking system can effectively find weld locations that cannot be seen by a human eye even at high levels of magnification, let alone through the typical weld locating optics used on most EB welders in the US.
Automated, non-optical weld location is only the start of the advantages the EB WeldCube offers. Our machine’s automation is fully coupled to its parameter monitoring. In essence, the WeldCube can “see” what it is welding and respond automatically to any issues outside of pre-set parameters that might occur during the welding process. As an example, should there be an impurity in a material that causes a fluctuation of the beam, or an out-of-tolerance fit to the parts, the WeldCube can report this and then take an appropriate action, such as pausing the welding process and signaling an alert, or recalibrating and re-executing the weld.
The EB WeldCube currently monitors nine parameters, and can be programmed for whatever responses are needed to fit the requirements of the project, the specification under which parts are being manufactured, etc. Some applications might permit a re-weld sequence, while others might call for a rejection of the part. The EB WeldCube’s programmability is flexible and extensive, allowing it to operate in any number of use cases with accuracy and reliability.
Logging and Tracing Critical, Precision Welds
The automation and monitoring systems of the EB WeldCube allow extensive logging and reporting analytics of the process by which any part is welded. Currently, the system logs nine parameters, which means comprehensive data and a new level of traceability. In fact, the accuracy and data collection of the EB WeldCube operates at a level beyond the specifications to which many of our customers are required to adhere.
Repeatability and consistency of welds is a non-issue for the EB WeldCube. Its extensive automation, weld tracking and data logging enable it to precisely weld parts with unparalleled consistency. Once the machine is programmed, to the parameters the job requires, it executes welds perfectly. It never has a bad day, an upset stomach, a pending meeting. Nothing breaks its concentration.
The Best, but not for All Applications
As stated earlier, most electron beam welding jobs don’t require the level of precision afforded by the EB WeldCube. Short production runs might not be cost effective due to the extensive programming needed. Larger, heavy parts that involve high power densities and deep penetrations are likewise not ideal for the EB WeldCube, which is optimized for small, intricate welds. And there will always be projects that are best served by a human eye and the touch of a skilled operator.
However, if your part simply cannot fail in a mission critical application, the EB WeldCube is unequivocally the best solution. It provides extreme accuracy and precision, high consistency and repeatability, and unbeatable traceability. It is the process that will eventually be an industry requirement, rather than a good idea, and it is available to you now.