Systems & Services for EB Welding, Laser in Vacuum Welding & Additive Manufacturing in Vacuum
Electron Beam

Electron Beam Drilling

EB Drilling offers a striking combination of flexibility and quality. The EB moves at highest speeds and drills very clean through holes. Furthermore, each drill hole can have different dimensional properties. These features enable maximized productivity.

Drilled with Electron Beam: pattern with long holes

Drilling with electron beam is a thermal process generating small through holes from 100µm up to 2 mm. Due to the high-energy of the EB, very high aspect ratios (depth to diameter) of up to 25:1 can be achieved.

The combination of high aspect ratio and very fast drill speed set EBD apart from all other mechanical, chemical and even other thermal technologies for production of small holes.

Principle of electron beam drilling

The energy input by the electron beam causes the formation of a vapor capillary. This capillary can penetrate the complete workpiece.

Once the electron beam is switched off, the vapor jet disappears and the molten material closes the capillary again. In order to create through holes, the molten material needs to be blown out quickly by a layer of explosively vaporizing material at the backside of the workpiece. Consequently, EBD cannot generate blind holes.

The drilled holes are not exactly cylindrical. In many products and components cylindrical holes are not necessary and neither are blind holes. This applies amongst others for filtration applications: e.g. pulp & paper, food & beverage process, waste water, etc. Actually, other aspects of EBD outweigh the mentioned disadvantages by far.

Features and benefits

Electron beam drilling is very flexible and highly productive with the following features:

  • High speed drilling:
    Depending on the properties of the workpiece and the drilling depth and diameter, the electron beam can drill extremely fast: e.g. 5,000 holes per second at a bore depth of 0.1 mm or to a depth of 8 mm bore depth still around 5 holes per second or 300 holes per minute.

  • Extreme versatile beam properties
    The electron beam converts energy into the workpiece almost independent of beam angle to the surface allowing for inclined holes. Furthermore, each bore diameter can be different, i.e. the versatility of the EB enables drilling of flexible hole patterns with different diameters without changing drilling tools.

  • Very wide range of drillable materials:
    Aside of steel and steel alloys, chemical active metals (e.g. titanium, zirconium, beryllium) or even refractory metals (e.g. tungsten, molybdenum, niobium) are drillable. Furthermore, the electron particle beam couples independently of the wavelength into optically reflective surfaces. The electron beam can easily drill even copper.

  • High aspect ratio (depth to diameter) up to 25:
    The electron beam enables thermal drilling process for very narrow and deep through holes.

  • Fully automated drilling:
    The drilling process of each item can be securely controlled and documented. Fully automated electron beam machines drill extremely precise with repeatable and fully traceable relevant drilling parameters per hole and per workpiece.

Additional information

A slight taper over the entire hole depth characterizes the shape of through holes drilled by EBD. This makes electron beam drillings specifically suitable for filtration applications.

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Electron Beam Machining - Systems & Options

Versatile range of electron beam machining solutions supported by our scope of services