Silicon Nitride – A Breakthrough In Welding Technology
Silicon Nitride Replaces Steel Components in Resistance Seam Welding
Silicon nitride, an advanced engineering ceramic, has a unique portfolio of properties that make it ideal for a variety of industrial applications. As a technical ceramic with high strength, toughness, and hardness, it is extremely resistant to thermal shock and impact.
Silicon nitride has recently made a breakthrough in the electric resistance welding industry, where welding roller components manufactured from silicon nitride are outperforming those made from steel by 20 to 30 times.
Welding rollers made from silicon nitride show significantly fewer signs of wear over their lifetime in comparison to those made from steel. This outcome translates to far less maintenance, expense, and downtime for welding facilities to stay operational and profitable.
What Makes Silicon Nitride Ideal for Seam Welding Equipment?
Electric Resistance Welding Process
In resistance seam welding, materials are joined by means of electric current and pressure. A subset of electric resistance welding, this method uses wheel-shaped electrodes, or welding rollers, to deliver force and welding current to the parts. The difference from resistance spot welding is that the workpiece is rolled between the wheel-shaped electrodes while weld current is applied.
The welding current is of primary importance in seam welding. The amount of heat generated at the seams will depend on the magnitude of the current flowing through the workpiece. Because of the heat generated, the material of the welding rollers must have low thermal conductivity. This ensures that the heat being generated remains at or close to the bond line, where it is needed to make a secure weld.
The entire resistance seam welding process is intensive, requiring high-strength, wear-resistant materials that can withstand severe thermal shock. However, the benefits of the process include air- and water-tight seams, ideal for storage tanks and pipes.
The Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Silicon Nitride
Silicon nitride ceramic materials are deployed across many industrial applications. Silicon -strength and hard-wearing nature, combined with excellent corrosion resistance, make it a good choice for cutting tools, aircraft and automotive applications, and even wind and gas turbines.
Silicon nitride is well known for its fracture toughness, high abrasion wear, and thermal shock resistance, making it ideal for use in seam welding equipment. It also offers low thermal conductivity, ensuring that the heat will remain localized where it is needed.
Silicon nitride’s low thermal conductivity results in energy savings of 30% relative to steel for welding rollers. Additionally, welding rollers manufactured from silicon nitride have been known to outlast those made from steel by 20 to 30 times, due to the rate at which steel welding rollers fail thermally or mechanically.
Is Silicon Nitride the Future of Welding Technology?
Clearly, the beneficial properties of silicon nitride thermal resistance, toughness, and hardness lend themselves to the demands of seam welding equipment. Surprisingly, though, using silicon nitride to manufacture welding rollers in lieu of steel is a fairly recent advancement in welding technology.
For companies already using silicon nitride welding rollers, the advantages over those made from steel are clear:
- 20 to 30 times longer service life
- Significantly fewer signs of wear
- Higher energy efficiency
The use of silicon nitride in resistance seam welding can be incredibly impactful to a company’s bottom line, as maintenance on welding machine components manufactured from silicon nitride has been considerably reduced, thereby resulting in increased efficiency and less downtime.
Other applications include welding tips, nozzles, gas shrouds, as well as fixtures used in tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, plasma welding, orbital welding, induction welding, and metal inert gas (MIG) welding operations.
SINTX industrial silicon nitride is a dense version of silicon nitride focused on industrial applications where strength, toughness, and wear resistance are important. Industrial Silicon Nitride has exceptional durability and hardness and is ideal for severe service applications, such as resistance seam welding.
OEM Partnerships with SINTX
What silicon nitride holds for the future of welding technology is yet to be fully realized. However, SINTX can help you explore new innovations that can reduce maintenance and downtime and increase efficiency.
SINTX is a flexible partner that can deliver high-quality silicon nitride welding rollers, perfected by years of experience. Our unrivaled in-house manufacturing capabilities allow for intricate designs and shapes that can be rapidly developed, prototyped, and tested across a wide variety of applications. Our leading R&D and manufacturing teams are ready to collaborate with you on specialized and niche welding machine components for your company. Get started by requesting a quote.