When it comes to joining metals there are many options. Today we’d like to discuss the advantages of electron beam welding as a replacement technology for brazing. Brazing is a metal joining process that heats a filler metal above its melting point and is distributed between two or more close fitting parts by capillary action. This process requires high heat, which may alter the metallurgy of a part or damage subcomponents. Brazing also typically requires the use of a fluxing agent to assure proper bonding.
In contrast, precision welding allows for a strong joint and will not require removal of flux or other residue after welding. Electron beam (EB) welding can be tightly controlled with a very narrow width and a depth ranging from 0.001 inches to 2 inches. This very high depth-to-width ratio means that there is a very narrow heat affected zone, allowing for welds close to heat sensitive components. The electron beam welding process also has unique characteristics that allows for the joining of dissimilar metals, such as copper to stainless steel, without any filler material.
Laser beam welding is another alternative to brazing, as it offers similar benefits to electron beam welding such as a small heat affected zone, deep weld penetration, and no flux requirement. It is ideal for joining small and thin parts together such as sensors, electronic components, fiber optic devices, or microwave packages. Additionally, laser welding can be used to hermetically seal parts in an inert gas environment, a process that simply cannot be accomplished with brazing.