Welding is as old as manufacturing itself and had become the method of choice for joining metallic components until the environmental lobby required the increased use of lighter materials. Paul Gay reports In the manufacturing world, designers come up with clever components which need to be joined together in such a way that they form the desired assembly or product. Environmental pressure is demanding reduced emissions from power consuming equipment and this can often be achieved by weight reductions. Quite simply, a lighter structure requires less energy to drag itself around. Less energy means lower fuel consumption and therefore less carbon emissions.With the continuing need to reduce weight, plate gauges have been reduced and manufactured from exotic alloys more reactive than steel so that they become very difficult to weld by conventional means. In these environmentally conscious times, weld, bond or fasten is the conundrum facing today’s industrial designers especially with the trend for lighter materials and the benefits of using dissimilar materials. Lighter materials are often non-metallic and when used in plate form, too thin to weld effectively. Welding dissimi...