EBeam 20/20 Profiler: Quality Control for Electron Beam Welding

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is partnering with Sciaky, Inc., of Chicago, Illinois, to develop and commercialize its electron beam diagnostic tool. Under this commericalization effort, the diagnosic hardware will be referred to by its commercial name, EBeam 20/20 Profiler. The diagnostic tool was designed to be used in any conventional electron beam welding machine without modifying the welder. Its hardware is compact, weighing less than 2.5 lbs., and has no moving parts.

In the past, reproducing beams was essentially an art that depended on the experience of the welder operator. Similarly, precise beam parameters can for the first time be transferred from machine to machine. The LLNL diagnostic opens new avenues for designing improved electron beam welding guns, and understanding the interactions of electron beams and various materials. Data from the profiler can be fed into computer models to generate the most accurate simulations yet of electron beam welds.

The diagnostic tool consists of an enhanced modified Faraday cup and computer tomography software, which offer the first rapid means of analyzing intense electron beams. Such beams are frequently used in high-value welds in the nuclear and aerospace manufacturing sectors. The tool provides data on the beam's focus and power density distribution in real time. With this essential quality control information, electron beams can be precisely reproduced on the same machine. Sciaky intends to integrate the EBeam 20/20 Profiler into Sciaky's next generation of automated welding units.

The LLNL diagnostic allowed the user to: 1) quantify the power density distribution, 2) determine the sharp focus of the electron beam, and 3) correlate weld machine settings with beam properties and ultimately the welds themselves. All of the capabilities enhance a critical need for quality assurance in high value welds.

The new partnership between Sciaky and LLNL is intended to develop the EBeam 20/20 Profiler, a commercially available tool which will be integrated into Sciaky's new generation of welders. The robustness of the hardware will be increased to withstand the operating conditions of industrial welders.

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