SANTA ANA, Calif., 15 March 2005. Workers at Electron Beam Engineering, Inc. cheered on January 18 when they learned that the European Space Agency's Huygens probe had been jettisoned from the Cassini Orbiter.
After a seven-year trip to Saturn's moon Titan, the probe began transmitting to Earth a wealth of data about the distant atmosphere.
Seven years earlier, those workers had used their welding expertise to join the titanium materials and electrical components comprising the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer used for atmospheric measurements during the probe's descent to Titan.
The process began in 1997, when the small industrial welding facility in Santa Ana received top-secret visits from NASA representatives.
It was somewhat unusual for the federal agency to journey from Baltimore to Santa Ana to obtain the services needed, but it was business-as-usual for Electron Beam Engineering (EBE), a precision welding company that draws clients from all over the United States due to its strong reputation for high-tech capabilities and can-do attitude.
Today, seven years later, EBE president Richard Trillwood is still excited about the fruits of his team's labor.
"We are thrilled to have played a part in the discoveries made at Titan," said Trillwood. "We take great pride in being part of scientific advancement and look forward to future projects aiding explorations into space."
The EBE engineers chose electron beam welding as their joining method, due to the sensitivity of the components welded. That process produces very little heat, reducing possible damage to the high-value components. In addition, it produces the most structurally sound welds for difficult-to-join metals, including the specialized titanium metals used on the probe. They also created specialty tooling for the project, then sold it directly to NASA for future use, along with a specialized electron beam welding machine, at the end of the project.
Electron Beam Engineering specializes in precision welding of high-value components for a variety of industries including space, medical and surgical devices, sensors, sporting goods and other high-value, small, precision components. The electron beam and laser welding processes introduce minimal heat and produce high-integrity welds, suitable for difficult-to-join materials.
Electron Beam Engineering, Inc., established in Santa Ana, Calif. in 1991, provides precision welding services to companies and agencies internationally in fields spanning commercial aerospace, biomedical services, sensors, defense and electronics. The company's trio of offerings includes: precision-welded parts using electron beam, laser and arc welding and component assemblies; manufacturing of tooling required for electron beam welding, and the refurbishment of electron beam welding machines for resale. For more information, see www.electronbeamwelding.com.