Zetamix Trailing shield

Orbital-service is a company founded in 2008 and specialized in orbital welding. The company aims to develop and retail tailor made products and solutions such as cutting-edge orbital welding systems, residual oxygen measuring devices, open welding heads or closed welding heads

For few years, they also experiment and sell 3D printing solutions adapted to this field. To achieve this goal, the group has launched BEE3D, a company specialized in the distribution of 3D printing solutions. Since March, BEE3D is an official distributor of Zetamix technology thus enabling Orbital-service to develop new solutions.

The problem

TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding consists on creating an electric arc thanks to a non-consumable tungsten . An inert shielding gas with argon or helium is sprayed around the electrode and the weld area to avoid oxidation and air contamination.

However, in the case of orbital welding, isolating the electric arc from oxidation is far from easy: the welding area is curved and not plane, and air contamination are more likely to occur and affect the quality of the welding. Because of the impressive size range of existing industrial tubes, tig nozzles adapted to all of them doesn’t exist. Previously, industrials had to reduce the pace of production or post process the weld when oxidation appeared, but both solutions were time consuming and did not guarantee the best results. This problem is even present with stainless steel , less likely to oxide than other metal but broadly used in a wide range of industries such as cosmetic or agri-food industries.

Pictures below: left picture : tradictionnal trailing shield, Right picture : Zetamix trailing shield

The solution


Orbital-service is familiar with this issue. Because they aim to provide the best products to their clients, they were looking for an efficient and cost-effective solution for a while. Thus, when their sister company began to distribute the brand Zetamix, it was the opportunity to exploit the limitless possibilities of the technology and find new solutions for orbital welding. Zetamix is particularly adapted to this kind of needs,as the line of filaments was thought for industrial and tooling uses. While Zirconia is a material of choice for prototyping and to resist corrosion and wear, alumina is perfect to withstand (the) extreme temperatures (generated by the electric arcs). Considering the release of the latest filament H13 steel, the line can fulfill almost all industrial needs.

For this application, Orbital-service has no choice but using Zetamix alumina filament, for it’s extraordinary temperature resistance properties. The R&D team decided to design a more complex part than the regular trailing shield and gave the nozzle a concave shape that perfectly conforms to the tube. Then, produced the part in less than a week, including the printing step and the post process. The result is indisputable: not only the new TIG nozzle allows to reduce the number of weld defects, but it also reduces the inert gas consumption. More broadly, by minimizing oxidation, tailor made TIG nozzles avoid rework and post weld machining.