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The previous Job Knowledge articles looked at fillet and partial/full penetration butt

welds. The final three weld types to be dealt with in this series on weld design are the
edge weld, the spot weld and the plug weld.

The edge weld is a specialised weld that has limited fields of application and is mostly
used for the joining of sheet metal components although it may be used for the
fabrication of tube to tubesheet welds. The edge weld is frequently used as an
alternative to a corner weld where achieving an accurate fit may be difficult, particularly
on thin section components. Instead, by raising a flange on one of the components and
clamping the two components together a weld can be made along the edge. Sealing the
lid on a can is one ideal application as the lid can be pushed in to the can, resulting in a
minimal gap and a self jigged joint (Fig.1). The weld size and penetration is limited so
this weld type is generally only possible on thin components using methods such as
TIG, plasma TIG or the power beam welding processes.

Fig.1. Edge weld used to seal container lid

This type of edge weld may also be used for tube to tubesheet welding where, by
machining a pintle onto the tubesheet, the tube can be inserted through the tube hole
and an edge weld made, (Fig.2) This has the advantage that the heat sink is more
evenly balanced when attempting to weld a thin tube to a thick tubesheet. In tubesheets
of limited weldability or where postweld heat treatment is essential it is possible to
deposit a ring of weld metal round the tube hole. This ring may then be machined to
provide the pintle so that the residual stresses are reduced and the tube/tubesheet weld
is made in good weldability weld metal. This results in a reduction in residual stress in
the tubesheet and a reduction in the risk of cracking.

Fig.2. Edge weld used to weld tube to tubesheet joints


Alternatively, if PWHT is required the tubesheet and its weld rings can be PWHT'd, the
pintles machined on and non-destructively examined (NDE) and the tube/tubesheet
welds made in the thin section, removing the need for a second PWHT cycle. Because
of the accuracy of these machined joints the welding process, generally TIG, is
frequently mechanised or fully automated.

The spot weld, Fig.3, is normally associated with resistance welding where two thin
sheets are overlapped and held in close contact by pressure from the welding
electrodes during the welding cycle. The resistance spot weld could therefore be
regarded as self jigging. Spot welding with the arc welding processes also uses a lap
type joint but presents a more difficult problem in that the joint must be firmly clamped
together such that there is no gap between the two surfaces. Failure to do this means
that the weld metal may spill into the gap and full fusion to the underlying plate may not
be achieved. Good jigging and fixturing is therefore essential.