How does K-TIG compare to Electron Beam welding?

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What are K-TIG’s Advantages Over Electron Beam Welding (EBW)?

Electron Beam Welding (EBW) is a fusion welding process in which a beam of high velocity electrons is applied to the materials being joined. The workpieces melt and join together as the energy of the electrons is transformed into heat upon impact.

EBW is performed in a vacuum, has high capital and operating costs, and is generally used only in highly specialised applications.

By contrast, K-TIG operates in normal atmospheric conditions in any environment in which TIG/GTAW is used.

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The Benefits of Switching

How does K-TIG overcome the issues of EBW Welding?

 K-TIG overcomes the most common issues associated with EBW:

  • Equipment Cost: EBW is a high end process with very high equipment cost.  Vacuum chamber size has a large influence on overall equipment cost; power level has a smaller influence but a system will cost $1.2 million USD. A K-TIG system offers a complete welding system that is high energy density and can be connected to any mechanised motion system for just $100,000 USD (approximately).
  • Weld Quality: K-TIG can perform the same high-quality welds that have allowed EBW systems to command such a high price tag. The use of keyhole technology allows vaporised impurities to exit the weld through the back of the keyhole. This prevents the problem of evolved gases becoming trapped in the solidifying weld.
  • Fit-Up Tolerance : The typical max joint gap permitted for EBW is 10% of thickness, not to exceed 0.1 mm.  The process can manage up to 20% mismatch, while K-TIG can handle a 20% mismatch with ease and maintain stability in the keyhole.
  • Welding Cycle Times: The high energy density K-TIG keyhole permits single pass penetration of thick joints at a very high travel speed, resulting in minimal weld passes accomplished in amazingly short times. That means you can enjoy the same productivity as EBW at a fraction of the cost.
  • Complexity: EB is widely regarded as a complex, beam welding process. There are more parameters to fine tune than for arc welding, and the set-up and fit-up of joints are very critical. K-TIG is characterised by simplicity as the keyhole and arc structure develop spontaneously and are automatically maintained throughout the weld by the controller.
  • Weld Appearance: EB welding is done in a vacuum, so there is no gas shielding required, and the weld metal is free of any oxidation.  The weld crown (when using a cosmetic pass) is normally very smooth and uniform, but the root bead is quite rough with a lot of spatter.  Dressing or grinding of the root bead is commonly done. K-TIG produces a smooth and uniform weld for both the crown and the root bead, meaning no dressing or grinding is required.
  • Keyhole Stability: K-TIG is able to match the keyhole stability of EBW, through high travel speeds and surface tension in the weld pool. The keyhole has an inherent ability to dynamically respond to fluctuations in the arc forces and self-correct to ensure stability is maintained.
  • Keyhole Close-Out: The EBW process is capable of a smooth and orderly slope out of the weld, including gradually reducing the penetration until the weld is terminated and closing the keyhole. The extreme high energy density can occasionally lead to "spiking" defects (voids) during the slope out. The simplicity of the K-TIG process, the patented torch design and the lack of plasma gas or complex constricted arc helps to avoid any defects during the close-out.
  • Process Consistency: K-TIG provides the same degree of process consistency as EBW through its long-life electrode, simple process and smooth, consistent keyhole. These factors come together to make variation, process drift and erosion negligible during a K-TIG weld.
  • Maintenance Costs: EB welding systems require normal maintenance, including replacement of diffusion pump oil, seals, and filaments. K-TIG welding system require very little maintenance as the have few consumable components and the entire system is reliable and durable.
  • Skill of Operator: EBW requires extensive operator training to handle the complexity of the process and sensitivity to the many critical variables involved. Training times are typically 2 to 4 An operator can be trained to use a K-TIG system in 3 hours and a supervisor can be comprehensively trained just a day or two.


I’m currently using Electron Beam Welding; can I switch to K-TIG?

Absolutely, if you’ve been running an EBW system in your shop making the switch will be straightforward and you’ll start saving money almost immediately. If you’ve opted for an EBW system it’s also a sign that you have the type of demand to get the most out of the switch.


How Do I Change to K-TIG?

It really couldn’t be easier.

If you’re currently using EBW, the upgrade process is simple. Your existing welding automation system can still be used.

Literally all you have to do is setup the K-TIG system, and integrate the controller into your existing automation system.

Contact Us here to find out how to change to K-TIG

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