Refractory metals are a class of metals that have an extremely high melting point (>2,000°C). Used in applications of very high temperatures such as lighting, applications with a high degree of resistance to wear such as in tools & lubricants or nuclear reactors, or for specialized chemical or electrical applications, refractory metals include, but are not limited to, such elements as niobium, molybdenum, tantalum, tungsten and rhenium.
Because of their high melting point, refractory metal components cannot be fabricated using traditional processes such as casting or forging. Instead, powder metallurgy has to be used where powders of the pure metal are compacted, then heated using electric current, and further fabricated by cold working the metal with annealing steps. Refractory metals can be worked into wire, ingots, rebar, sheets or foil. Electron Beam Welding is one of the suitable processes for the sintering process of refractory metals where a very high energy electron beam can be focused on a small region of interest to precisely sinter, or melt, the refractory metal powder.
The manufacturing problem is often how to monitor the electron beam welding process during sintering. Traditional welding helmets or face shields are not able to reduce the intensity of the bright light to a level suitable for viewing while still being able to see the details of the powder metallurgy process that is taking place around the electron beam welding keyhole.
To do this, a high dynamic range camera such as the Xiris XVC-1000 is proficient at seeing the super bright keyhole of an electric arc, while providing enough dynamic range contrast of the background areas for the operator to be able to monitor and properly control the process.
The benefits to the fabricator include better control over the manufacturing process and reduced scrap of expensive refractory metals.
Did you know Xiris Automation was featured in an article by FF Journal showcasing the benefits one customer had with Xiris WI-2000p Tube & Pipe Inspection System?
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