For over five decades, Norstan has served the industry by manufacturing specialized precision electrical contacts and stampings in short and long production runs. Our products are expertly produced per our customer’s specifications and made from highly conductive metals, such as brass, copper, gold, palladium, platinum, and silver. In addition to our precision stamping and welding capabilities, we also leverage furnace brazing when needed for a custom metal part.
What Is Furnace Brazing?
Furnace brazing is a metalworking process that employs heat and a dissimilar metal filler material to join two metal pieces together. Compared to soldering, which also uses filler material to bind parts together, the process relies on brazing alloys for higher melting points. Additionally, it serves as a more cost-effective method of producing strong and durable bonds in high volumes.
Depending on the specifications of the part and project, industry professionals may use a variety of different furnaces to provide the necessary heat for the brazing process, such as vacuum, continuous, controlled atmosphere, or reduced atmosphere furnaces. At Norstan, we utilize both controlled atmosphere and continuous (also known as mesh belt) furnaces for our furnace brazing operations.
Brazing operations typically involve the following steps:
- Checking the fit of the joint. A too-wide or too-narrow gap between the metal pieces weakens their bond. As different metals have different expansion and contraction rates, this factor must be accounted for when preparing parts for brazing.
- Cleaning the metal surfaces. Contaminants such as grease, oil, rust, and scale can weaken or prevent the formation of a bond between workpieces.
- Assembling the parts. Components must remain precisely aligned throughout the brazing process. Clamps or support fixtures can help with proper positioning.
- Brazing the assembly. As the assembly heats up in the furnace, the filler material melts and flows between the metal pieces. Once cooled, the filler material rehardens, forming the finished joint.
- Cleaning the finished assembly. As required.
Benefits of Furnace Brazing
Although furnace brazing may not be the right choice for every application, it does offer several advantages over other metal-joining methods, such as:
- Lower risk of thermal distortion (due to uniform heating and cooling within the furnace)
- Greater tensile strength in the end product than the base materials
- Tighter tolerances (due to the process not melting the base material)
- Cleaner joints (minimizing the need for additional finishing operations)
- A wider range of material capabilities (for dissimilar metals, various thicknesses and lengths, multiple joints, and complex or intricate assemblies)
- Broader production versatility (for automated and mass production)
- Better cost-effectiveness (due to lower operator skill requirements, faster lead times, and greater consistency from batch to batch)
What Can Norstan Do for You?
Furnace brazing is suitable for yielding a strong bond in high volumes at competitive prices. At Norstan, our furnace brazing capabilities allow us to produce high-quality precision electrical contacts and custom metal products for use in a wide range of electromechanical devices. To learn more about our furnace brazing capabilities and what the Norstan team can do for your next project, contact us today.