What is Resistance Welding

What is Resistance Welding

Resistance welding is the joining of metals by applying pressure and passing current for a length of time through the metal area which is to be joined. The key advantage of resistance welding is that no other materials are needed to create the bond, which makes this process extremely cost effective.

 There are several different forms of resistance welding (e.g. spot and seam, projection,  flash, and upset welding) which differ primarily by the types and shapes of weld electrodes that are used to apply the pressure and conduct the current. The electrodes, typically manufactured from copper based alloys due to superior conductive properties, are cooled by water flowing through cavities inside the electrode and the other conductive tooling of the resistance welding machine.

 Resistance welding machines are designed and built for a wide range of automotive, aerospace and industrial applications. Through automation, the action of these machines is highly controlled and repeatable allowing manufacturers to staff production readily.

Types of Resistance Welding Applications:

  • Spot Welding and Seam Welding

    • Resistance Spot Welding, like all Resistance Welding Processes, creates welds using heat generated by resistance to the flow of welding current between the faying surfaces, as well as force to push the workpieces together, applied over a defined period of time. Resistance Spot Welding uses the face geometries of the welding electrodes themselves to focus the welding current at the desired weld location, as well as to apply force to the workpieces. Once sufficient resistance is generated, the materials set down and combine, and a weld nugget is formed.
    • Resistance Seam Welding is a subset of Resistance Spot Welding using wheel-shaped electrodes to deliver force and welding current to the parts. The difference is that the workpiece rolls between the wheel-shaped electrodes while weld current is applied. Depending on the particular weld current and weld time settings, the welds created may be overlapping, forming a complete welded seam, or may simply be individual spot welds at defined intervals.
  • Projection Welding

    • Like other Resistance Welding Processes, Projection Welding uses heat generated by resistance to the flow of welding current, as well as force to push the workpieces together, applied over a defined period of time.  Projection Welding localizes the welds at predetermined points by using projections, embossments or intersections, all of which focus heat generation at the point of contact.  Once the weld current generates sufficient resistance at the point of contact, the projections collapse, forming the weld nugget.
    • Solid Projections are often used when welding fasteners to parts.  Embossments are often used when joining sheet or plate material.  An example of Projection Welding using material Intersections is cross-wire welding.  In this case the intersection of the wires themselves localizes heat generation, and therefore resistance.  The wires set-down into one another, forming a weld nugget in the process.
  • Flash Welding

    • Like other Resistance Welding Processes, Flash Welding uses heat generated by resistance to the flow of welding current, as well as force to push the workpieces together, applied over a defined period of time.  Flash Welding is a Resistance Welding Process which generates resistance using flashing action.  This action is created using very high current density at very small contact points between the workpieces.  At a predetermined point after the flashing process has begun, force is applied to the workpiece, and they are moved together at a controlled rate.  Rapid upset created by this force expels oxides and impurities from the weld.
  • Upset Welding

    • Like other Resistance Welding Processes, Upset Welding uses heat generated by resistance to the flow of welding current, as well as force to push the workpieces together, applied over a defined period of time.  While similar to Flash Welding, in Upset Welding the workpieces are already in firm contact with one another, so no flashing occurs.  Pressure is applied before the current is started, and is maintained until the process is complete.

Source: C1.1M/C1.1:2012 – Recommended Practices for Resistance Welding

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