"Seam welding" redirects here. For the geometrical welding configuration, see welding joint.
Resistance seam welding is a process that produces a weld at the faying surfaces of two similar metals. The seam may be a butt joint or an overlap joint and is usually an automated process. It differs from butt welding in that butt welding typically welds the entire joint at once and seam welding forms the weld progressively, starting at one end. Like spot welding, seam welding relies on two electrodes, usually made from copper, to apply pressure and current. The electrodes are disc shaped and rotate as the material passes between them. This allows the electrodes to stay in constant contact with the material to make long continuous welds. The electrodes may also move or assist the movement of the material.
A transformer supplies energy to the weld joint in the form of low voltage, high current AC power. The joint of the work piece has high electrical resistance relative to the rest of the circuit and is heated to its melting point by the current. The semi-molten surfaces are pressed together by the welding pressure that creates a fusion bond, resulting in a uniformly welded structure. Most seam welders use water cooling through the electrode, transformer and controller assemblies due to the heat generated. Seam welding produces an extremely durable weld because the joint is forged due to the heat and pressure applied. A properly welded joint formed by resistance welding is typically stronger than the material from which it is formed.
A common use of seam welding is during the manufacture of round or rectangular steel tubing. Seam welding has been used to manufacture steel beverage cans but is no longer used for this as modern beverage cans are seamless aluminum.
There are two modes for seam welding: Intermittent and continuous. In intermittent seam welding, the wheels advance to the desired position and stop to make each weld. This process continues until the desired length of the weld is reached. In continuous seam welding, the wheels continue to roll as each weld is made.