"XuperPhos brazing alloys save customers' money," says Castolin Eutectic European expert
Interview with Arantxa Núñez, European Brazing Business Unit Manager
What are the advantages of the newly developed Castolin Eutectic XuperPhos brazing alloy range?
Arantxa: The main advantage of the new XuperPhos range is that we avoid the problem of boiling during the heating process. And this way, we prevent leaks from appearing in the joints. We have metallographics showing that after the brazing process with a standard product, we can find pinholes in the joint, whereas when using XuperPhos, no leaks occur. For a traditional brazing product, when production is finished, even if the leak test doesn’t initially reveal any defects, as soon as the machine is running then the leaks appear, normally one or two months later, sometimes longer. So that means the customer must send a technician to repair these leaks. Consequently, he has to invest too much money to repair this machine, whereas with XuperPhos, he has to pay more for the product, but avoids this problem in the future. It’s a reliable long-term product.
What industries can the newly launched XuperPhos brazing range be used in?
Arantxa: The main industry for this type of alloy is the air-conditioning industry - companies that manufacture big air-conditioning machines for buildings or supermarkets, also for the cooling industry. We address not only manufacturers who make refrigerators, but also big cooling rooms or systems for supermarkets, those that also manufacture cooling systems for bars or restaurants. These types of producers are the targets for XuperPhos brazing range.
Do we already have XuperPhos in tests at customer premises?
Arantxa: Now we are testing in Poland in a big, famous air-conditioning company, and we are having good results. The customer ran the first tests with 5 kilograms of XuperPhos, and now, they ordered 30 kilograms more, because they are really happy. Moreover, one of the advantages when employing XuperPhos is that you can control the fluidity of the alloy. That means you can add the exact necessary quantity of alloy in the joint. You are not going to spend more money on adding more product than is required. This is another way to save money: if you can control the fluidity and how to apply the alloy, it is easy to control the entire process and you use less product.
What are the Castolin Eutectic future projects in brazing?
Arantxa: Now we are working on three different projects. Maybe the most important, if we can find the solution, is to develop a new alloy that diminishes the quantity of silver used in the silver rods, giving us the same kind of characteristics as having the initial quantity of silver. We are investigating using indium, gallium, and some strange new metals. Working on that is not easy, because metallurgy is not piece of cake, but we are making great progress. Nowadays in the R & D department in France, we are working on developing a new special paste, very specific to one application, according to a request from a customer. We are on the way and obtained already good results, but we are still working together with the customer to fine-tune this paste. As always, we are constantly aiming to improve our existing fluxes, because they are the most important product for us. And we keep on developing new alloys, because the world is changing and the norms are evolving as well for some chemical compounds, which is why we seek to improve and create more fluxes.
Castolin Eutectic seems very responsive to customer requests. Are we able to formulate a new flux based on customer demands?
Arantxa: Yes, we are. But in this case, it is not a request from a customer, it’s the norms, the regulations, asking for products to be environmentally-friendly. We follow the norms and we want to be forerunners. We don’t want to start doing investigations as soon as the norm is introduced, we want to do it beforehand, because we have a lot of knowledge, we know what is going to happen, and we also wish to promote eco-friendly products.
Are we delivering the US and Canadian customers from our brazing factory in France?
Arantxa: Yes, we are trying to use some products from our French plant, because only France produces them, and some coming from our factories in the U.S. and Brazil. We are working with both sides together, because we are trying act more and more as a group and as partners. We want to have a worldwide network in brazing, and we have to use everything we have in our hands.