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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there any advantages to vacuum aluminum brazing over aluminum dip-brazing?

A: Vacuum aluminum brazing is a high purity process and, unlike dip-brazing, there are no residual salts left on the surfaces or trapped within the recess features of the components to be brazed. If the units contain residual salts, there may be a possibility of out-gassing during the heating / introduction of certain process gases and chemicals.


Q: Are mechanical dimensions or surface finishes important to ensure high quality braze joints?

A: Absolutely! The surfaces to be brazed must meet high tolerance criteria, be flat, usually better than .003" and have an appropriate surface finish, typically 32-64 micro-inches. Altair Engineering will be happy to review your braze design.


Q: Are there any advantages to brazing over welding?

A: Brazing can be used to metallurgically bond dissimilar metals that cannot be welded, such as Copper and Stainless Steel. Braze joints also form bonds over the entire mating surface whereas welds have limited penetration. Brazing is performed at uniform temperatures, whereas welding uses intense localized heat which can impart stress into the materials to be joined.


Q: Do you braze ceramics, such as alumina and aluminum nitride?

A: Yes, we can braze almost any type of ceramic or composite material. This is typically accomplished by metalizing the ceramic or using an active metal braze alloy.


Q: How economical is brazing compared to other bonding techniques?

A: Brazing can be very cost effective, especially when large runs can be used to amortize the unit cost vs. the cost to run a braze furnace. The process is typically automated and is very competitive when compared to other techniques like welding that are labor intensive. Altair possesses furnaces of many shapes and sizes that can be most cost-effectively suited to your needs.


Q: What is the largest assembly you can braze?

A: Our largest braze furnace can handle 48” diameter X 60” high.


Q: Do you have machining capability in-house?

A: Yes, we are one of the only braze service providers in the country that also has machining, welding, cleaning and many other support services in-house.


Q: What is the depth of your engineering capability?

A: We have a large engineering staff who can take both large and small projects from conception to a final high-level production product. We offer a multitude of design capabilities, reaching far beyond braze design, but also include FEA, RF design and more.


Q: Can you provide a brazed turnkey product?

A: Absolutely, the majority of our business is build-to-print turnkey, where we handle the procurement and fabrication of components in addition to providing brazed or welded products.


Q: What are the advantages of purchasing turnkey products?

A: When purchasing turnkey products, the customer only has to manage one supplier – Altair. We manage the entire program and logistics (material procurement and any other outside processes needed). You receive a product that conforms to your specs. You don’t have to absorb any scrap costs incurred. Also, if ordering in large quantity over a longer period of time, material prices can be set at the time of ordering, avoiding the increasing costs of material over time.


Q: Can you build our ion pumps?

A: Yes, we can build to your specifications or offer an ion pump design of our own.


Q: Do you supply RF Windows and can you design one to meet our needs?

A: Yes, we have a number of Altair designed RF Windows and can design a RF Window Assembly to meet your requirements.


Q: Do you supply Electron Guns for linear accelerators or traveling wave tubes or X-ray tubes?

A: Yes, we have Altair designed Electron Guns and can design/build electron guns to meet your linear accelerator or traveling wave tube needs.


Q: Do you provide Bakeout services and what temperatures and pressures can you achieve?

A: We have two large double-vacuum, Bakeout Stations, which can hit temperatures above 600C and pressures into the 10-9 scale.


Q: Does Altair Technologies refurbish medical and security linear accelerators (LINACs)?

A: Yes, Altair has extensive technical knowledge and experience refurbishing linear accelerators. Beyond taking the LINAC through Bakeout, Altair will vacuum test, RTV pot the Electron gun and high voltage process each unit.


Q: What types of products does Altair Technologies specialize in?

A: We provide brazed assemblies for several industries and are not limited to any particular product, however the majority of work we do is associated with high vacuum products/systems with an emphasis in linear accelerators, traveling wave tubes, x-ray tubes and various brazements for the semiconductor industry such as pedestals, heater tables, cooling assemblies, electrostatic chucks, shower heads and water boxes.


Q: Can Altair Technologies provide both welding and brazing services?

A: Yes, we have expertise in both welding (TIG, spot and laser) and brazing (wet hydrogen, dry hydrogen, high vacuum brazing, vacuum aluminum brazing, active metal brazing and metal to ceramic brazing).


Q: Do you have facilities that can support customers and projects on the U.S. East Coast, Asia, Europe and Canada?

A: Altair Technologies Inc. has only one facility which is located in Menlo Park, CA, USA. From this facility we serve customers worldwide. Many of our customers outside of the continental United States use our services on a daily basis. In general, our customers -- regional, national and international - tell us that our services and team of professionals go above and beyond their expectations.


Q: Do you braze or process Brass, Bronze and Lead materials?

A: Due to environmental and equipment issues associated with Brass, Bronze and Lead, Altair does not braze or process these materials.


Q: Does Altair have a proven Quality System?

A: Altair has been ISO 9000 registered for 3 years with a proven quality record over its 17 year existence.