Resistance spot welding (RSW) is a process in which contacting metal surfaces are joined by the heat obtained from resistance toelectric current.
Work-pieces are held together under pressure exerted by electrodes. Typically the sheets are in the 0.5 to 3 mm (0.020 to 0.118 in) thickness range. The process uses two shaped copper alloy electrodes to concentrate welding current into a small "spot" and to simultaneously clamp the sheets together. Forcing a large current through the spot will melt the metal and form the weld. The attractive feature of spot welding is that a lot of energy can be delivered to the spot in a very short time (approximately 10–100 milliseconds). That permits the welding to occur without excessive heating of the remainder of the sheet.
The amount of heat (energy) delivered to the spot is determined by the resistance between the electrodes and the magnitude and duration of the current. The amount of energy is chosen to match the sheet's material properties, its thickness, and type of electrodes. Applying too little energy will not melt the metal or will make a poor weld. Applying too much energy will melt too much metal, eject molten material, and make a hole rather than a weld. Another feature of spot welding is that the energy delivered to the spot can be controlled to produce reliable welds.
Projection welding is a modification of spot welding. In this process, the weld is localized by means of raised sections, or projections, on one or both of the workpieces to be joined. Heat is concentrated at the projections, which permits the welding of heavier sections or the closer spacing of welds. The projections can also serve as a means of positioning the workpieces. Projection welding is often used to weld studs, nuts, and other screw machine parts to metal plate. It is also frequently used to join crossed wires and bars. This is another high-production process, and multiple projection welds can be arranged by suitable designing and jigging.