Seam Welding

Questions and Answers

The answer to this depends upon the material being seam welded. Highly conductive softer materials (Aluminum) will be seam welded with Class 1. Stronger more resistive material (low carbon steels) would use Class 2. High strength resistive material (nickel base and stainless steel) would use Class 3. This is the same as for spot welding electrode selection and can be found in various industry charts in AWS and other publication.

The person making this inquiry was not sure what wheel material he had in this stainless cloth to stainless sheet application. He was experiencing excessive pickup on the wheel face. This could be due to the unknown alloy wheel or it could be normal. Wheels just like spot welding electrodes will experience pick up and mushrooming during normal use.

In many seam welding applications a knurling wheel is installed on the wheel periphery which continually trims the edges and roughens/knurls the face. This makes sure that the weld wheel is always in the same condition without build up. This is a continuous dressing operation. Sometimes the knurler functions as the wheel drive mechanism. In other designs it rides on the wheel and merely dresses.

A seam welder is a spot welder using a wheel for an electrode. The shunting current rules apply the same for seam welding just as they do for spot welding. In the case of a traveling head seam welder the first issue is – How many wheels are mounted? Sometimes there are two. Their spacing/separation will be an issue to include. The next of course is the spacing of the spots. If this is a liquid tight seam weld then shunting currents will be present and must be allowed for. If this is a roll spot seam, the distance can be adjusted/increased to prevent shunting currents.

A stitch weld is a series of spot welds made in a row down two pieces of material. It is similar to a seam weld but is a weld gun or machine cylinder applying the individual welds rather than a rolling seam welding wheel.

A1 174b Roll Spot Weld 


The answer to the question is maybe. It depends upon the coating and how the schedule and wheel geometry are set up to handle the change in the material surface. If this is a galvanized coating which will melt at a low temperature and could squeeze out of the weld joint area. Yes, one might expect a little more material pushed out of the seam area. This may or may not be noticeably more than with the bare material. This would need to be addressed in how the schedule and wheel are applied. However this could be a nonconductive paint or other coating which is another issue completely.

The answer is one would address the coated or non-coated material in a similar fashion as described in article:


To address this question we will assume that we are making a liquid tight seam weld. In this process the welds overlap as the weld wheels roll forward. In a seam weld the process current is developed to allow for shunting current through the trailing welds which have already been made.

This part has tack/spot welds occasionally to hold the two surfaces in place. When the weld wheels approach one of these tack/spot welds the weld conditions change. As the wheel approaches, increasing shunting current can now travel forward through the parent material and the tack/spot weld. This forward shunting path is not part of the normal current allowance. This portion of the current is no longer passing through the intended seam weld. Our seam weld will be cooler because less current went through the desired seam weld. This might lead to the seam weld decreasing in size and possible failure to meet specification.

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