X-ray photoelectron emission microscopy (XPEEM) was used in combination with other microscopic and spectroscopic techniques to follow the surface development of an aluminum brazing sheet during heating. The studied aluminum alloy sheet is a composite material designed for vacuum brazing. Its surface is covered with a native aluminum oxide film. Changes in the chemical state of the alloying elements and the composition of the surface layer were detected during heating to the melting temperature. It was found that Mg segregates to the surface upon heating, and the measurements indicate the formation of magnesium aluminate. During the heating the aluminum oxide as well as the silicon is observed to disappear from the surface. Our measurements is in agreement with previous studies observing a break-up of the oxide and the outflow of the braze cladding onto the surface, a process assisted by the Mg segregation and reaction with surface oxygen. This study also demonstrates how XPEEM can be utilized to study complex industrial materials.