WeldingWith the development of new metal alloys, new ways of working with them have also been devised. Two such processes that have gained popularity in recent years are laser beam welding and electron beam welding.

So, what are the differences between these two welding techniques, and which one is best suited for your needs? Read on to find out.

Electron beam welding

As you already know, welding requires a great amount of heat to melt and fuse the two metal surfaces or parts being joined together. In electron beam welding (EBW), that heat is generated from the kinetic energy of electrons hitting the surface of a metal. The beam of electrons is generated within a vacuum chamber in the same way as that of the vacuum tubes used in old TV.

One big advantage of this method is that, since the actual welding happens within a sealed vacuum chamber, the risk of gas or foreign material contamination is lessened. Gases like oxygen, as we as foreign matter, can react with the metal being heated, creating a weaker weld. Another great thing about EBW is that it can be used to work on dissimilar metals.

However, the use of a vacuum chamber also becomes one of the drawbacks. Since the vacuum chamber is an enclosed space, the size of the objects that you can weld will be limited by the space available. In addition, you might need to do some additional tooling to prepare the parts to be welded.

Laser beam welding

In laser beam welding, the heat needed to fuse the parts is generated through a high-power laser beam. There are two general types of LBW procedures used: continuous wave, and pulsed output. The main difference between these two is the duration of the beam, with the former using a steady beam, while the latter uses short bursts of light.

Since the process does not need a sealed chamber, LaserToolsCo.com says materials of any size can be welded through dual laser beam. It also requires very little initial tooling and is much more cost effective. However, as you are welding in the open, you need to deal with gas contamination. The welded parts might also need some post machining work to improve the quality of the weld or clean it up.

So, which one do you choose?

Here, the main factor would be the application. For welding works that require a more delicate approach on a clean environment, EBW works better. On the other hand, LBW will work well with general welding needs. Depending on the parts being worked on, the two methods can also be combined.