When discussing the joints of a particular assembly or manufactured item, one is referring to the location in which two or more components are permanently or temporarily attached to one another. There are various benefits to both variations, the permanent joint allowing for a strong anti-loose assembly while the temporary joint can enable more ease in separation for maintenance or replacement. Welding and riveting are both common methods for creating joints, often being used for the assembly of aircraft components, industrial machinery, and much more. To better understand the differences between welded and riveted joints, as well as their various advantages and disadvantages, we will provide a brief overview of each.
Welding is a method of conjoining different parts with the application of high heat at a specific point so that metals, thermoplastics, or other material types can melt together and create a fusion joint through the cooling process. Welding can be conducted through a number of processes, and such methods can be relied on for establishing alp joints, butt joints, T-joints, and other various joint types. Additionally, welding also forgoes any requirement for drilling into the surface of components as there is no need for fastening materials together.
Riveting, on the other hand, requires the use of pre-drilled holes and fasteners known as rivets. Rivets are a type of permanent mechanical fastener, often coming in the form of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one side. When passed through the hole of two or more components, a special tool is then used to deform the tail-end of the fastener, creating a second head on the opposite side of the assembly. While requiring the drilling of holes that are specifically sized for particular rivets, rivets provide a cheaper alternative to welding and have no need for specific materials to create an attachment.
Weld joints and rivet joints provide various overlapping similarities, such as their lack of a chemical reaction to attach parts to one another. They are also both permanent joints, meaning that disassembly would require breaking parts apart. This is in contrast to more temporary assemblies that are provided by cotter joints, press fit, and other fastening solutions. Finally, both options are great for creating a strong and sound joint that can be relied on.
Despite these various similarities, there are numerous differences between both joint types that should be considered when attempting to find the right fit for a particular application. For one, creating holes in components as is necessary for the implementation of rivets will often decrease the load carrying capacity of the assembly, that of which is an issue not present in welded joints. Despite this, welding can change metallurgical properties of a component, while such properties remain unchanged with riveting. Riveting is also intermittent with small gaps between fasteners, while welding is much more seamless. This also permits quicker installations while the rivet assembly requires various calculations and processes which may take time. Beyond such examples, various other differences set the two joint types apart, thus it is important to ensure that all characteristics of a certain joint type accommodate the assembly in question and its requirements.
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