Job Shop Helps Improve Welding of Rupture Disks
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. (EBE) has helped BS&B Safety Systems make significant improvements in the welding of its rupture disks, EBE reported recently. Electron Beam Engineering is a southern California-based provider of electron beam and laser beam welding services that specializes in working with complex components.
Rupture disks, also known as pressure safety disks, are sensitive relief devices designed to instantaneously rupture at a predetermined pressure and temperature as a means of providing protection for personnel, electronics, and equipment. Rupture disks are commonly used in automotive, petrochemical, aerospace, medical, pharmaceutical, food processing, and oil field applications.
"Before we got involved, BS&B was conventionally welding, clamping, or gluing its rupture disks," said Richard Trillwood, CEO of Electron Beam Engineering, in a company release. "Because of our precision electron beam welding and the low amount of heat generated, our process produces less distortion and minimal effect on the burst disk material, resulting in a much better product, and is ideal for special materials and designs. The outcome is a manufacturing procedure that is more predictable, resulting in a higher yield of disks all having the same burst pressure."
One frequent use of burst disks is for fire suppression products, such as sprinklers. A fire suppression gas, which has been specifically developed as a clean agent to not be harmful to people or the atmosphere, is instantly released through the rupture disk when a sensor signals that an emergency condition is reached. The same principle is used for automobile airbags, one of the biggest applications for rupture disks.
"Years ago, EBE welded rupture disks used in the landing system of the Mars Rover," added Trillwood. "There were three different rupture disks involved for the airbag system, landing chute, and air shoes."
In the case of the Mars Rover, after parachutes slowed the landing capsule, rupture disks were burst to deploy air bags that surrounded the lander "like a bunch of beach balls," according to EBE. Because the atmosphere on Mars is not nearly as thick as on earth, the parachutes could not slow the vehicle down enough to land safely. The air bags allowed the Rover to bounce on the surface of Mars several times and eventually would come to rest. Titanium was required for this application because of its light weight and high strength, the company said.
Electron Beam Engineering (ebeinc.com) provides welding for applications in the medical, sensor, aerospace, and automotive industries, among others.
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