Automatic Seam Welding Machine – Seam Welding Process

Posted on Jan 7, 2021

An automatic seam welding machine, also known as the automatic seam welder, is a type of welding equipment that is capable of eliminating wait time for loading and unloading seam welded parts.

What Is an Automatic Seam Welding Machine?

An automatic seam welding machine, also known as the automatic seam welder, is a type of welding equipment that is capable of eliminating wait time for loading and unloading seam welded parts. As the name suggests, an automatic seam welding machine is programmable to enable the automated machining system, capable of accommodating high-volume, longitudinal seam welding applications. Automatic seam welders typically operated with a full-function sequencer controller.

Automatic seam welding machines come with a seamer bed, ranging from one foot to three feet. A dual station model is especially ideal for high-volume automatic weld seaming of parts applications. The weld control also allows operators to switch between seam welding different size parts easily. A simple weld selection allows changes on the seam welder’s PLC welding control, and then the automatic seam welding machine is poised to machine the subsequent parts.  


How Does Seam Welding Work?

The seam welding process, also known as the resistance seam welding, is to join two similar metals at their faying surfaces by the use of electric current and pressure. The seam may be an overlap joint or a butt-join and is often an automated process, hence the name of the equipment. Resistance seam welding is typically done on metals because of their electrical conductivity and the capability of sustaining relatively high pressures. As a matter of fact, seam welding is possible because of the contact resistance produced between the two metals. When current passes through these metals, heat is generated at the small gap; the electrodes make sure the flow of electricity is maintained and controlled. 

:: Read more: Why Seam Welders are underrated


Types of Seam Welding Process

There are primarily three types of resistance seam welding: intermittent motion seam welding, continuous motion seam welding, and laser seam welding. 


● Intermittent Motion Seam Welding:

In this type of welding process, the electric current applications and the rollers remain active until the weld position is obtained. This pertains to welding at a continuous line rather than a specific area or spot. Intermittent motion seam welding is ideal for welding thicker metals where a continuous weld is otherwise possible. The two main types of intermittent motion seam welding include the roll spot weld and overlapping seam weld.


● Continuous Motion Seam Welding:

In this type of seam welding, a continuous weld is possible, hence the name. Similar metals join together as they pass through the electrodes while the roller moves at a constant speed. As the workpiece remains under constant pressure, a uniform overlapping weld is produced. The type of electrodes used in the seam welding process is based on the materials to be welded. For example, if aluminum is to be welded, copper electrodes are often not used. This is because copper alloys with aluminum can lead to much faster deterioration of the electrode.  


● Laser Seam Welding:

Laser seam welding is often an interchangeable name with resistance seam welding. However, there is another laser seam welding process that is differentiated from resistance seam welding. Laser seam welding is very similar to laser spot welding, where the melting and welding are undertaken by pointing a high-intensity laser at the desired spot. But in the case of laser seam welding, the head of the laser tool is stationary; the laser beams along the side produce a constant weld. This type of welding technique is usually used to weld sensors, insulin pumps, battery housing, radar components, and peacemaker cases. 


Advantages of Automatic Seam Welding Machine

Seam welding has several advantages which allow it to prevail in many industries:


● Airtight Welds:

One key advantage of the continuous welding process is that airtight and watertight seals can be created. This is especially important when you need to create metal structures that require maximum air leakage or water leakage protection, such as air or liquid-tight vessels.


● Fast Welding Process:

Seam welding using automatic seam welding machines can be undertaken at high speeds. Since the entire process is automated in most cases, resistance seam welding is much faster compared to other alternatives such as spot welding. 


● No Filler/Flux Required:

The resistance seam welding process is feasible without having to use any flux or filler material. 


Limitations of Automatic Seam Welding Machine

The seam welding process does come with certain disadvantages:


● Limited Weld Lines:

Since a seam welder contains rollers, only straight line welds or evenly curved line welds are possible. 


● Thickness Limitations:

Seam welding is not particularly ideal for welding metal sheets that are exponentially thick. Therefore, there is often a limitation by which the sheet metal must be – typically less than 3 mm. 


Applications of Automatic Seam Welding Machine

The primary application of an automatic seam welder lies in the assembly of fuel tanks since it is adept at welding liquid-tight parts. The seam welders are also used to weld vessel parts that need to be completely watertight or airtight. Although other types of welding processes are also capable of creating airtight and watertight seals, but not more so than seam welding as they are sometimes not able to ensure clean welds. And seam welding on the other hand can achieve both. 

Another common application of the seam welders is the welding of pipes and tubes. This is because resistance seam welding can be undertaken in the relevant field without having to use any fusional metals in the process. Therefore, the pipes and tubes will not turn out unsightly because there are no weld beads that may possibly ruin the aesthetics. The welding techniques used in the pipes and tube field is able to produce seamless joints which you can barely feel at the joining surface.


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