The Versatility of Vacuum Furnace Brazing
Vacuum brazing offers engineering designers the optimum method of joining metals for applications in which joint strength and integrity are of prime importance, particularly with heat and corrosion resistant alloys. Vacuum brazing embodies optimum control of the braze alloy composition and brazement environment throughout the joining process. Brazing is the ideal joining technique for those fabrications which are difficult to weld due to the material to be joined or the geometry of the parts. Ostensibly incompatible materials such as copper and stainless steel are readily joined by brazing. Similarly, thin and thick materials, deep and tight joints with restricted access and assemblies containing large numbers of joints are amenable to brazing.
Vacuum brazing techniques have been developed, incorporating TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) and resistance tack welding, specifically aimed at the fabrication of complex assemblies. With care in the choice of braze filler alloy and joint design it is possible to produce joints whose strength exceeds that of the parent metal. These techniques have proven particularly valuable where pressure tightness and resistance to high operational temperatures are critical.
The use of high vacuum conditions ensures no oxidation of the joint surfaces occurs and therefore no flux is required. This and the enhanced wetting characteristic under vacuum, even of difficult materials such as stainless steel, produces extremely sound joints which are stronger than those brazed by conventional methods. Considerable cost savings are possible with vacuum brazing, particularly when complex shapes are involved, as final cleaning is not required after brazing, and often economies in material usage can be achieved.
Fabricating components from pressed and turned steel parts will frequently show a considerable saving in costs due to reduced material content, reduced machine time and less expensive capital plant.
Because of the special properties of the process, secure, leakproof joints can be achieved on assemblies which are complex, irregularly shaped and intricate (as well as the more straight forward), at costs which are often markedly lower than those which can be achieved by other conventional methods.
Bodycote Thermal Processing welcomes a close co-operation with customers on joint design, choice of braze alloy and component property requirements. By this means the maximum advantages of vacuum brazing can be realized. For example, it is possible to incorporate strengthening heat treatments with vacuum brazing cycles, as with martensitic stainless steels and precipitation hardening alloys, and reduce costs accordingly.
Vacuum brazing by Bodycote Thermal Processing is proving its worth across a wide range of alloys and applications ranging from consumer durables to aircraft components. Unrivalled expertise in the selection and use of the best vacuum systems, coupled with the necessary craft skills in braze assembly, preparation and the use of a range of sophisticated test procedures set Bodycote apart.
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