Electron beam welding

The electron beam welding process, which CNIM Industrial Systems has used in its workshops since 1988, is performed in a vacuum and does not require any filler material. The welds are made by melting the materials at the join.

High-quality parts

This process produces very high-quality, accurate and deep welds, guaranteeing the part’s mechanical properties along the bead. It is performed in a single pass, minimizing and controlling part deformation as well as allowing highly-conductive metals to be welded.

For high-tech industries

CNIM Industrial Systems designs, industrialises and manufactures parts for the Nuclear, Defence, Big science, Space and, more recently, Semiconductor (machine frame fabrication) industries.

Our electron-welded parts meet the most exacting specifications and comply with the strictest French and international standards (EN, ASME, RCC-M, ESPN, CODAP, etc.)

Welding of large parts

CNIM’s welding facility has a useful volume of 230 m3, measures L 7.4 x W 5.5 x H 5.05 metres and has a capacity of 30 tonnes. It is equipped with a rotating plate and a two-axis 30 kW electron-beam nozzle mounted on a five-axis gantry. This machine is suitable for large parts with complex geometries.

More information on Jules Horowitz Reactor

Local vacuum welding

For very large parts (>10 m), CNIM has developed a local vacuum electron beam welding process. Our teams manufactured the radial plates for the ITER fusion reactor. These D-shaped toroidal field coils measure 14 x 9 metres and have a flatness of less than 0.1 mm after machining.

Homogeneous and heterogeneous welding

A wide range of materials can be welded using electron beam welding, even metals notoriously difficult to weld. The speed and heat of the process minimize the part’s deformation and do not affect its mechanical properties along the weld bead.

  • Homogeneous: Alloy steels, Stainless steels, Refractory steels, Zircaloy, Titanium, Tantalum, Niobium, Zirconium, Copper, Monel or Aluminium
  • Heterogeneous: Copper/Stainless steel, Molybdenum/Stainless steel, Nickel/Stainless steel, Niobium/Stainless steel or Aluminium/Copper
More information on the ILL’s High-Flux reactor

Advantages of the process

The electron beam welding process is suitable for serial production. It is repeatable (automated) and fast, as even thick materials can be welded in a single pass (several metres/min. can be welded in this way).

The very high quality of the welds obtained, the wide range of homogeneous, heterogeneous or highly thermally-conductive materials that can be welded and the fact that the welding is done in a vacuum, thereby avoiding any contamination or oxidation, makes the electron beam technique ideal for welding large parts used in high-tech industries.

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