Getting the best from your brazing process
Change is in the air! The past twenty years have seen very significant changes in the use of brazing as an industrial joining process. Processes that were once regarded as by the automotive-, aerospace-, and nuclear-engineering industries as being highly specialised, and fraught with difficulties in use, are now used routinely for high-volume manufacturing procedures. Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in the automotive industry where the need for emission control, radiators and air-conditioning systems is very large, and still expanding. In contrast certain other more traditional processes have faced severe competition from alternative materials and manufacturing methods.
Both situations have required manufacturing engineers to accept change! Low-volume techniques for, say, furnace brazing high-temperature alloys for aerospace applications has been up-dated to produce millions of brazed assemblies in stainless steel and similar materials with a much-reduced reliance on the need for a high-skilled workforce. For example robots frequently displace the labour used in component assembly and preparation for brazing, while high-output continuous furnaces have replaced at least a proportion of the vacuum-brazing furnaces once seen as essential for certain types of work. Further, the repeatability and standards of press tooling of both the parts and the resultant braze-fit have benefited greatly from the techniques that are common-place in the automotive industry. Similar improvements have been achieved in the high-volume furnace brazing of aluminium with, for example, the Nocolok®1 process replacing the alternative option of vacuum brazing in nearly every application. Large segments of industry using manual torch brazing may not be as buoyant, but it is all the more essential that the remaining practitioners of this process use ‘best practice’ methods to ensure that they remain competitive.
In these circumstances it is hardly surprising that in managing change some firms that are new to brazing are required to learn new skills while more established users have to hone their techniques and have to recover knowledge lost through staff turnover. It is for these reasons that EABS have developed a wide range of services to assist users. These include public training courses and seminars, tailored in-house courses, and focused consultancy services
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