Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from TWI:

Subscribe >
Skip to content

How do clinching and self-piercing riveting compare with spot welding for sheet materials?


Frequently Asked Questions

It is difficult to generalise the comparison of processes, as there are a number of factors that determine the best process for a particular application. As fitness-for-purpose is the main consideration, factors such as high joint strength are not necessarily required in all cases. In addition, there are process variants in each case that modify the general capabilities. Some of the things that need to be considered and the relative comparisons for thin sheet materials are listed below.

FactorClinchingSelf-piercing rivetingSpot welding
Base material suitability Most materials with reasonable ductility; harder materials use semi-piercing tooling Most materials with reasonable ductility Most sheet steels. Aluminium alloys more difficult
Metal coatings, e.g. zinc Can be joined Can be joined More difficult for thick coatings and if passivated
Organic coatings/lubricants Thick coatings can affect joint properties Thick coatings can affect joint properties Only thin, weldable coatings possible
Dissimilar metals Possible Possible Metallurgical compatibility necessary
Al to steel not possible
Joint shear strength Medium High High
Joint peel strength Low Medium Medium
Fatigue performance Medium High Low
Cosmetic appearance Hole one side, button on other Flush one side, button normally on other Slight indent both sides
Coatings damaged
Corrosion issues Low susceptibility Low susceptibility but special coatings required on steel rivets Low susceptibility but some damage to protective coatings
Basic equipment cost Low to medium Medium to high Medium to high
Consumables None Rivets Electrodes
Cost per joint Low High Medium
Workplace environment Good Good Possible weld splash and fume

Choice of process, which will also be influenced by component design, will need to be made on a case-by-case basis. All processes can be operated as simple manual operations through to automated robotic or multi-headed, dedicated machines. Joint performance data and manufacturing options are available from system suppliers.

For more information please email: