Welding titanium alloys often has to be carried out in an environment where oxygen can be eliminated throughout the welding cycle. If the parts were to come into contact with oxygen ay any point, the reactive metal can become contaminated, oxidising which can lead to reductions in corrosion resistance and mechanical strength.
Metal glove boxes, which are still in use today, can be used to provide an inert gas coverage. However these glove boxes are often large, heavy and expensive. Welders are challenged by their lack of flexibility when welding small parts.
Ultra low cost Flexible Welding Enclosures® designed by Huntingdon Fusion Techniques HFT® are easy to use. They are manufactured from an optically clear ultra-violet resistant engineering grade pvc, providing excellent vision and ease of access.
Luke Keane, Technical Support at HFT® said: “For many years the enormous cost of a metal enclosure prevented all but the major companies taking on work involving the fabrication of zirconium and titanium alloys. To the rescue came HFT® a decade or so ago with the introduction of purpose made Flexible Welding Enclosures®. We now manufacture Standard and Specially Made Enclosures to meet all requirements. There is no job too small.”
The use of Flexible Welding Enclosures® has also increased during development of the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing process, providing an inert gas shield around the titanium and other reactive alloy components.
Georgia Gascoyne, CEO for HFT® said: “We have built a large number of different shapes and sizes, mostly to customer specification. Each one has its own identity with a variety of glove ports and dimensions. Some can accommodate a complete robot system internally. They are in use worldwide for applications including the aerospace, medical and motorsport sectors.”
“Inert gas such as argon is used to fill the enclosure and expel the air until the oxygen content is below 50 parts per million (ppm). It is essential when producing metallic components from alloys of titanium, zirconium and other reactive materials that the welding zone is purged of oxygen to a level lower than 50 ppm.”
Each Enclosure is manufactured with a connection for a Weld Purge Monitor®, so the oxygen level can be measured at all times. Transfer sleeves also makes it possible to pass small parts in or out of the enclosure without affecting the purge quality.
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