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EBFlow: local vacuum electron beam welding equipment

What is EBFlow?

EBFlow is a local vacuum electron beam welding system developed by Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE). It can be readily transported and operated on site and applied to structures significantly larger than can be accommodated in a vacuum chamber.

To date it has only been possible to perform electron beam welding at sites equipped with a vacuum chamber large enough to house the structures under manufacture. EBFlow’s coarse vacuum can be mounted on tracks and operated locally. The technology can be used in any plant where large components are welded.

With massive increases in throughput, this has the potential to change your business model and unlock the true manufacturing potential of your facility. In tests, EBFlow has been shown to be 20 to 30 times faster than conventional arc welding, offering transformational gains in productivity. It also uses less power than conventional arc welding processes, thereby lowering a plant’s carbon footprint.

Ebflow machine

How traditional Electron Beam Welding works:

Electron Beam Welding (EBW) uses high-energy electrons to join materials:
ebw graphic

Fundamental advantages of electron beam welding:

Narrow weld bead
Narrow Heat Affected Zone
Weldments exhibit excellent mechanical properties
Low levels of component distortion
Low overall heat input to the component
Low metallurgical impact can join many dissimilar and ‘difficult’ materials
Accurate and repeatable

How EBFlow works:

EBFlow eliminates the need for a vacuum chamber through a local, coarse vacuum which is established and maintained only where it is needed. High performance EBW can take place in any plant where large components are welded on a large scale as long as adequate shielding from X-Rays can be provided. Using a system of sliding seals and precision handling enables fast longitudinal and circumferential welds on large work pieces. A coarse vacuum is ideal for thick section welding – achieving the fastest thick section welding rates ever.

There is no filler wire, the autogenous weld can be heat treated and the weld rendered metallurgically indistinguishable from the parent material.

Benefits of EBFlow

Benefits of EBFlow:

EBFlow brings all the advantages of Electron Beam Welding to steel structures of unlimited size. The natural next step in CVE’s product offering, it brings the following advantages:
Facilitating very high joint completion rates in ‘thick’ section metals (ferrous and nonferrous i.e. carbon steels, stainless steels, aluminium, titanium)
20 to 30 times faster than conventional submerged arc welding, 200mm per minute in 150mm thick steel has been achieved, allowing for the fastest thick section welding rates ever
A coarse vacuum is established and maintained only where it is needed
Welding without pre-heating possible
Minimal weld prep/bevel required, ‘edge to edge‘ fit up
Welding consumables are not required (no filler wire-autogenous)
Increased quality and reliability
Immediate post weld inspection possible
Using a system of sliding seals and precision handling enables fast set up and pre-welding operations for variety of work piece dimensions
Minimal distortion

The following macros are EB welded in a single pass using EBFlow:

Top left: 76mm thick stainless steel

Top right: 45mm thick titanium 6Al 4V alloy

Bottom: 150mm thick pressure vessel steel

Applications of EBFlow

Oil & gas welding

Anchor Piles
Jacket structure including nodes, cones, braces, legs and conductor framing
Piles and followers
J-tubes and caissons
Riser clamps
Flotation tanks and buoyancy tubes

Nuclear welding

Pressure vessels for conventional power, small modular reactor (SMR) and micro modular reactor (MMR) fabrication as well as associated pressure retaining and structural components

Shipbuilding welding

Modular joining
Hull shell
Decks
Tanks
Web frames
Bulkheads

Offshore renewable energy welding

Monopiles
Jacket structure including nodes, cones, braces, legs and conductor framing

Pressure vessels welding

Process Vessels (columns, reactors, seperators, drums etc)
Heat Exchangers (directly cooling towers, indirectly shell & tube/plate)
Storage Tanks

Civil engineering welding

Flat plate
Flat plate-strip
Long product open sections i.e. I&H universal beams and columns
Structural hollow sections
Plate girders
Enquire about your application

Electron beam welding manufacture of power generation infrastructure - EBManPower

Cambridge Vacuum Engineering has been working with TWI (The Welding Institute) and a consortium of companies to help commercialise electron beam welding fabrication for the power generation market. The EBManPower project has seen the industrial deployment of a new type of localised vacuum EBW technology, which could revolutionise manufacturing in the power generation sector.

The EBFlow system will be implemented & validated in this project based on high productivity EB welding which reduces welding time from 6,000 to <200 hrs, equivalent to a reduction in cost of over 85%. EBFlow will be deployed at the Cammell Laird site in Birkenhead to fabricate a demonstration pressure vessel in a cost-effective manner.

The EBManPower project aims to reduce the cost for thick-section steel structures for nuclear power plant and offshore wind use as well as to examine the potential in other industrial applications.

Creating your factory of the future

Sustainability, efficiency and quality are the key considerations for factories of the future. Moving towards greener processes is essential, but this shouldn’t mean a compromise on output quality.

The right equipment is what makes this a reality, and this is how Ebflow can help.

View our technical brochure

to find out how Ebflow can improve your productivity by 20 to 30 times

View our commercial brochure

to see the economic benefits Ebflow can provide for your company

Save millions in your factory of the future

Sustainability, efficiency and quality are the key considerations for factories of the future. Moving towards greener processes is essential, but this shouldn’t mean a compromise on output quality.

The right equipment is what makes this a reality, and this is how Ebflow can help.