Resistance spot welding is a process where the surfaces of the metals are joined together by heat generated by resisting the electric current. This is a relatively old process in welding which came into existence in the 1900s. This process is adopted widely for welding purposes. The main aspects are the pressure applied to the metal surfaces, the electric current passed through the electrodes, contact resistance, the electrode material properties, the surface condition and the timing. If the current applied is more, a hole would be generated on the spot of the weld instead of the surfaces getting joined together. The voltage depends upon the resistance the metals surfaces. Even low current is not advisable as it would melt the metal surfaces due to low resistance (the resistance increases with increase in voltage) and hence optimum voltage based on metal surfaces and their resisting abilities is considered. The quality of resistance spot welding can be judged by the joint strength and the nugget size.
The advantages of resistance spot welding are driving the growth of the market. The resistance spot welding has many benefits such as the initial cost involvement is less (except maintenance cost), distortion of parts is eliminated, resistance spot welding technology does not need skilled man power, there is uniformity in the joints made (if the ideal process conditions and method is followed), semi-automatic as well as automatic operations can be carried out, no requirement of edge preparation and the welding can be carried out in quick succession as it needs just few seconds to make the joint. The resistance spot welding is significantly important in car, railways and bus owing to its adoption to automatic operations and fast processes.
The restraining factors affecting the growth of the resistance spot welding are linked to the limitations faced by the system. Maintenance costs are high, it is not easy to weld and join thicker surfaces, some surfaces need special preparation prior to the resistance spot welding process which can take time and involve additional costs. Moreover, the welded joints can have problems in case of poor control on the entire process and the parameters involved. Two types of fractures can develop in the joints – “nugget fracture” or the interfacial mode and “sheet fracture” or nugget pull out. The first one occurs for small diameter spot welds and second one is seen when large diameter spot welds are concerned.
Improper control on the parameters involved in the process can cause the quality of the weld to hamper. The joint might look unattractive and it might have adverse effect on the joint strength. If one of the parameters changes, the alteration in the strength if bound to happen. Hence it is of utmost importance to control the parameters and this poses a challenge to the adoption of the resistance spot welding. However, there are methods for optimizing the resistance spot welding process by maintaining standards with regards to thickness of the surfaces, the width, length, contact overlap and the respective voltages to be applied.
The manufacturers involved in resistance spot welding are Kecy Metal Technologies, Advanced Spotwelding Company, Ultratech Inc., Bassett Industries Inc. and Boker’s Inc.
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