Special Techniques Group

Electron beam welding

Special Techniques is well equipped with two electron beam welding systems.

For smaller tasks, a 3kW 60kV device is available with beam circle generator and X,Y table.

For larger welds, requiring greater penetration, an 8kW 100kV system is available. The device incorporates a CNC table, which in combination with beam circle generator allows complex path welds to be undertaken.

Electron beam welding offers many advantages over conventional welding:

  • Minimal distortion;
  • Low heat input;
  • Reduced heat affected zone;
  • Oxide free;
  • Excellent homogeneity of weld zone;
  • Suitable for very thin material sections.


EB weldingThe cylinder shown in this illustration was produced for a European Space Agency probe, designed to land on, and analyse the material of a comet. The unit was designed to carry hydrogen for use with a mass spectrometer device.

The technique was selected to ensure maximum uniformity and strength of joint. Subsequent destructive test results indicated a factor of safety of 12, three times the predicted failure pressure in rupture mode.

Electron beam welding is suitable for joining a large number of metallic media, that conventional welding would be unsuitable for.

Vanadium, titanium, aluminium, stainless steel, inconel, kovar, platinum, nickel, tantalum, rhodium, molybdenum and nimonic list amongst the materials welded at Special Techniques.

Different combinations of materials may also be welded. Here ultra thin deep-drawn vanadium cells have been welded to commercially pure titanium.
EB welding EB welding     

The welds are particularly fine, having been formed with a beam of approximately 200 microns in diameter.