Many types of welding are used in manufacturing. Some—like gas metal arc, laser and ultrasonic—are quite well-known, while others are less popular but a perfect fit for a specific application.

Electron-beam welding (EBW) falls into the latter category. It is a fusion welding process in which a beam of high-velocity electrons is applied to two materials to be joined. The workpieces melt and flow together as the kinetic energy of the electrons is transformed into heat upon impact. EBW is often performed under vacuum conditions to prevent beam dissipation.

The main benefit of EBW is it produces deep and narrow quality welds in a single pass in materials such as titanium and ultra-high strength steels. This capability makes it appealing to manufacturers of aircraft parts and jet engines, as well as integrators of these components.

Recently, the Saginaw, MI-based machine builder and integrator Merrill Technologies Group purchased an EBW machine from Sciaky Inc. to fabricate critical parts and prototypes for aerospace customers. The company also provides contract design, manufacturing and testing services to clients in the defense, heavy equipment, energy, transportation, chemical and mining industries.

Merrill assemblers build prototype and final assemblies ranging from simple to complex. Their technological capabilities include precision spindles, hydraulic torque and bolt stretching and tensioning, shrink fitting, run-in testing, machine wiring and testing, and hand-scraped and laser-aligned side assembly.

The key component of Sciaky’s EBW machine is an internal, multi-axis welding gun. Sciaky President and CEO Scott Phillips says the gun’s motion covers half the chamber volume of most fixed and external gun systems. This provides beam access for unusual joint configurations and significantly simplifies part tooling.

“[We are] excited to provide this welding technology to the results-driven pros at Merrill,” says Phillips. “They will no doubt take advantage of the machine’s weld strength and its high-precision repeatability to deliver [excellent] results, over and over again.”

All of Sciaky’s welding equipment meets rigid military specifications to precisely manufacture items such as airframes, landing gear, jet engines, guided missiles and vehicle parts. The company is also a world leader in metal 3D printing technology.

For example, its Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) system is a cost-effective 3D printing process for large-scale metal parts. Starting with a 3D model from a CAD program, the system’s electron beam gun (or guns) deposits metal layer by layer, until the part reaches near-net shape and is ready for finish machining. Equally important is EBAM’s Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System. With this system, aerospace manufacturers can produce parts from less than 8 inches to more than 19 feet long.

For more information on EBW and EBAM, call 877-450-2518 or visit