EB Industries is the preeminent Electron Beam Welding services provider throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, since 1965. Our electron beam welding services have produced millions of parts, and our customers range from small manufacturers to some of the biggest companies in the Aerospace, Medical and Energy industries. We are ISO 9001:2015/AS9100D and NADCAP certified, have full engineering and metallurgy capabilities as well as extensive pre and post processing services.
What is Electron Beam Welding
Electron beam welding is the ultimate fusion welding process. Electrons are generated (via an electron gun) and then accelerated to very high speeds using electrical fields. This high speed stream of electrons is then 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 in a vacuum as the presence of gas molecules can scatter the beam.
Because of the high voltages involved in EB welding, and the required vacuum, the entire process is computer controlled and heavily automated. The precise nature of the technology often calls for specialized fixtures to secure parts for joining, and CNC tables are commonly used to move the fixtures and workpieces within the welding chamber.
Electron beam welders are very expensive, must be tightly maintained, and the support required by the high voltage and high vacuum technologies can be demanding. However, electron beam welds are incredibly precise, strong and pure, the entire process accurately repeatable, and for many applications and materials, electron beam welding is the best joining technology there is.
Application Advantages of Electron Beam Welding
Precise Control, Excellent Weld Depth
Weld penetration can be closely controlled — from a minuscule 0.001 inches to a depth of up to 2 inches.
Small Heat Affected Zone
Electron beam welding has a very high depth-to-width ratio. This allows for a deep and very narrow heat affected zone, which minimizes material shrinkage and distortion and allows welds in close proximity to heat sensitive components.
EB welds retain up to 95% of the strength of the base materials.
Because electron beam welding takes place in a vacuum environment impurities such as oxides and nitrides are eliminated, and impurities in the materials are simply vaporized. This results in extremely clean welds perfect for joining a wide range of metal alloys.
Electron Beam welding is excellent for joining refractory and dissimilar metals which are not weldable with conventional welding process.
Our CNC controlled welders ensure precise control and repeatability at feed rates from 1 to 200 inches per minute.
A comparison of welding processes:
|Typical Weld Cost||$$$||$||$$|
|Size Restrictions||Limited to vacuum chamber size||Workstation dependant||None if done manually|
|Dissimilar Materials||Excellent||Good w/stir welding||Challenging|
|Magnetic Materials||Challenging||Excellent||Process dependant|
|Depth (max penetration)||3 inches||1 inch||Shallow wout multipass & notch|
|Width to Depth ratio (min w/d%)||Extraordinary (10%)||Excellent (25%)||Poor (various)|
|Heat Generated||Low/medium||Low (pulsed) / High (CW)||High|
|Purity (no electrode/filler)||100%||100%||Limited based on process|
|Repeatable||Highly with CNC||Highly with CNC||Limited / manual w/out CNC|
|Hard to reach area||Excellent||Good – gas coverage concerns||Limited|
|Capital Investment (barrier to entry)||$$$$$||$$$||$|
A Typical Electron Beam Welding Procedure
While every Electron Beam welding job is different, there is a base procedure we follow at EB Industries that allows us to maintain both weld quality and production rate.
- The parts to be assembled are thoroughly inspected and cleaned.
- Fixtures to hold the parts securely in place during the welding process are devised. We try to maximize the number of parts that can be welded per vacuum cycle to maintain high production rates. If necessary, fixtures are custom made in our complete machine shop.
- Parts are loaded into their fixtures and the fixtures attached to the Electron Beam welder’s CNC table. The CNC table is programmed to precisely move the parts into position under the electron beam during the welding process
- The vacuum chamber is secured and the air pumped out of it to achieve the necessary partial or full vacuum required by the customer specification
- If necessary, test welds are performed to check for proper beam alignment and focus, beam power, weld penetration and overall quality of the weld. Parameters are adjusted as needed, and continually monitored during all welding operations.
- If it is a production weld cycle, the welding operator initiates the CNC table programming and Electron Beam firing cycle. The parts are then Electron Beam welded.
- At the end of the welding cycle, the vacuum chamber is pumped down and the parts and fittings are removed from the welder.
- The parts are carefully removed from their fixtures and then subjected to a full quality control inspection.
Case Study: EB Welding meets 3D Printing
ThermoLift in Stony Brook, NY, developed a natural gas-driven heat pump and air conditioning unit based on Vuilleumier Cycle thermodynamics. It’s a ground breaking product: a single ThermoLift device can replace all the individual heating, cooling and hot-water systems in a building or home, and can do so very efficiently, cutting energy cost by up to half. ThermoLift calls it “The Ultimate Heat Pump,” and testing by laboratories like Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee seems to back up this claim. It is a very clever piece of technology.
At the heart of it is a four part aluminum heat exchanger, pieces of which were additive manufactured (ie, 3D printed) at different facilities across the country. The problem was how to reliably weld the different pieces together. Additive manufactured aluminum parts are notoriously porosity prone: most welding processes can result in weak, crack susceptible welds. Further compounding the issue additional constraints — the work needed to be completed quickly, and to critically high quality standards.
ThermoLift came to EB Industries, and we developed a proprietary electron beam welding process that enabled us to achieve the needed weld quality as well as deliver the parts on schedule. Our CNC controlled tables allowed us to pull off some very difficult welds inside the pieces as well. Really, the credit has to go to Jim Fox and our engineering team for whipping up an elegant solution to what was a make or break problem.
Quality Management for Electron Beam Welding
Because much of our EB Welding work is for high performance/high risk applications in the Aerospace and Medical sectors, EB Industries maintains the highest levels of quality in the industry.
- ISO 9001:2015 / AS9100D and NADCAP-certified organization delivering international quality standards.
- We weld to AMS 2680C and AMS 2681B specifications for electron beam welding aerospace components in soft to hard vacuum atmospheres.
- Services delivered in compliance with the aerospace quality system AC7110/3 Rev. E and AC7004 standards.
- All welding equipment and operators meet MIL-STD-1595A, AMS-STD-1595A, and AWS D17.1:2000 specifications.
- Full quality control and inspection system in compliance with MIL-I-45208A.
- Metrology program in accordance with MIL-C-45662A standards.
All our electron beam welding welding technicians are highly trained to meet MIL-STD-1595A, AMS-STD-1595A, and AWS D17.1:2000 specifications, and industry leading average 15 years of experience – this is high for the industry. Additionally, they are supported by full engineering and maintenance staff, a dedicated quality control department and an in-house machine shop.
EB Welding Equipment
All of our EB welders are equipped with automated rapid vacuum cycling for faster production speeds, full computer controls and digital displays for precision and accuracy, and CNC tables for precise part manipulation and feed. We custom make our own weld fixtures in our in-house machine shop to ensure top quality at high production volumes.
|Hamilton Standard W-2 CNC||150 kV, 50 mA||36″ Height x 36″ Width x 52″ Length|
|Hamilton Standard W-2||150 kV, 50 mA||36″ Height x 36″ Width x 70″ Length|
|Hamilton Standard W-2||150 kV, 50 mA||36″ Height x 36″ Width x 76″ Length|
|Leybold Heraeus W-3 CNC||150 kV, 50 mA||36″ Height x 36″ Width x 52″ Length|
|Leybold Heraeus W-3||150 kV, 50 mA||36″ Height x 36″ Width x 52″ Length|
|EBI/Evobeam automated CNC||60 kV, 50 mA||12″ Height x 12″ Width x 12″ Length|
Chamber extensions, data loggers and joint tracking options available as needed.
Because parts that require EB welding often require additional processing before and after the parts are welded, EB Industries offers a wide array of additional services.
- CAD/CAM Product Design and Weld Design
- Tooling Design & Fabrication
- Parts Cleaning & Assembly
- Strategic Sourcing and Subcontractor Contract Management
- Metallurgic Evaluations
- Leak Testing
- Destructive and Non-Destructive Testing
- Post Weld Thermal Treatment
Their technical skills are what sets them apart. They are easy to work with, and they have a good technical team.
We are a company that needs quick turnaround on laser sealed devices and for us, a top strength is their commitment to delivery. They always meet our delivery requirements. We’ve used several suppliers, but we continually use this one because they consistently maintain their commitment dates, which is critical to both us and our customers.
We are very happy with the quality of the work. They really know what they’re doing.
They are good communicators, very reliable with on-time delivery. They seldom miss the date they committed to.
They are always available when we need welding. Their facilities can handle our needs, and that’s unique to them.
The people who work there are exceptional. They get things done for us in a timely fashion.