ANAHEIM, Calif.— Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. (www.ebeinc.com) has been approved for the laser welding required in the hydraulic fuel system of the Airbus A320neo engine, the company announced recently. Electron Beam Engineering is a provider of precision electron beam welding and laser beam welding services throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
“We were approached to perform the intricate laser welding of the fastening device within the fluid coupling mechanism that went into production last year,” said Grant Trillwood, general manager at Electron Beam Engineering (EBE), in a company release. “Both our company and the laser welding process we planned to use had to be qualified by the customer.”
Nut fastening devices for the aerospace industry often require the welding of two or three components during assembly. Laser welding and electron beam welding are beneficial for these applications because both processes help to maintain the heat treatment of the materials and to minimize any deformation of the threads, according to EBE. After a meeting with the customer, it was decided that a laser weld would be more cost effective, and EBE recommended the welding specification AWSD17.1, which covers material and design, fabrication, inspection, and qualification.
Electron Beam Engineering developed the laser welding parameters and produced cross-sectioned samples for testing and to confirm that the weld met the depth and strength requirements for this application. Once signed off, EBE was able to record the welding parameters and submit the weld schedule to the customer for final approval.
The assembly and fit-up of the components are crucial in order to ensure that the weld parameters produce the same integrity of weld as the qualification samples. These requirements for laser and electron beam welding are very often overlooked, so that when production begins, the welds may not meet the quality requirements because of inconsistent machining tolerances, EBE reported. Electron Beam Engineering advised the customer about the significance of maintaining critical dimensions to ensure consistent welding. Even a small amount of mismatch in the joint can cause welding irregularities, which result in rejected parts.
“The EBE team was able to design a multi-use fixture that is interchangeable for various sizes of nuts,” added Trillwood. “This enables us to maintain 100 percent on-time delivery as the production quantities increase, combined with an acceptance rate of over 99.8 percent!”
Electron Beam Engineering, located in Anaheim, California, specializes in working with complex components for applications that include medical, sensor, aerospace, and automotive.