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Together with PVATePla, a new system concept was developed with the c.BOND system, which has a hybrid heating system. This consists of directly heated press plates, which conduct the thermal energy directly into the component by thermal conduction. A conventional support heater ensures that radiation losses are kept to a minimum. This system has been available to ifw Jena since April 2022 and sets new standards in process design for diffusion welding of light alloys. Comparative tests in conventional diffusion welding systems have shown that the C.BOND system allows the parts to be heated to the joining temperature much faster, more uniformly and with significantly lower energy consumption. This saves valuable process time and reduces power consumption.
With the conductive heating concept, the heating time for welding components made of AW6082 could be reduced by 28%. Since fewer radiation losses occur, the energy consumption for the overall process was reduced by 40%. Furthermore, a more homogeneous temperature distribution of less than +/- 3 K was demonstrated in the press plates. The tests at ifw Jena clearly showed that conductive heating significantly improved the quality of the components.
This is reflected in the fact that the upsetting of the components occurring in the diffusion bonding process shows a significantly lower dispersion compared to welding with conventional heating. This is primarily due to the more homogeneous temperature distribution in the test components, since the strength (deformation resistance) of the materials is directly dependent on the temperature. With the increase in component quality, scrap can be significantly reduced or the need for rework is avoided.
"Another highlight and subject of future research projects is to apply the pressing force also dynamically, i.e. pulsating. Particularly for materials with a stable passive layer, further optimization effects can be expected through dynamic force application. From the point of view of ifw Jena, the compact design should also be emphasized. Research institutes notoriously suffer from a lack of space, but the c.BOND design makes it possible to utilize the limited laboratory space much better than a typical system layout with distributed units," says Felix Gemse, Dipl.-Ing. SFI (IWE) and Deputy R&D Coordinator at ifw Jena.