Local Contaminants to be Aware of When Using Stud Welding Fastening Systems

Northland Fastening Systems provides supplies for operators using stud welding worldwide. From small shops to manufacturing plants and large construction sites, we supply tools for rent or purchase, studs in a complete range of dimensions, custom stud options, welding accessories, and the expertise of our welding technician staff. For drawn arc, capacitor discharge, and short cycle stud welding processes, NFS can provide everything you need to get the job done. If you’re working with stud welding fastening systems, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems that can be caused by a weld site’s exposure to local contaminants.

The most common issues welders face with local contaminants includes the following:

  • External gases: In many welding applications, shielding gas is a critical component of the process to protect the connection point from external gases that exist naturally around us. Exposure to prevalent gases like oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide around a welding site can cause porous, brittle connections. The use of shielding gases like argon or helium will create a protective bubble around the weld point, lending to stronger fastening systems.
  • Cold: While it’s not typically an issue, extreme temperatures can cause problems with stud welding fastening systems. Because welds will cool much quicker in cold weather than other more temperate conditions, cracking can occur with the shock of that temperature drop. Also, because the rest of a metal welding surface is typically much colder than the weld point, warping is also a potential issue. The easiest way to prevent these problems when welding in cold weather is to preheat a large area on your welding surface.
  • Particulates: Dust and other surface contaminants are one of the most significant concerns for welders using stud fastening systems. Particulates blown into a weld point can create a poor connection that is brittle or porous. Creating barriers outside and keeping your indoor welding spaces clean can solve many issues that dust causes.
  • Moisture: Humidity or other sources of moisture can cause issues for welders like corrosion on machines or damages to electrical systems. In severe cases, moisture can short circuit welding units and pose significant danger to operators and other workers. Keeping tools stored in dry, covered areas and maintaining a dry workspace solves many moisture issues.

There are other issues to be aware of such as tool maintenance, welding calibrations, material compatibility, and many additional aspects of the welding process, but these are the most common problems that operators face from contamination of a weld. NFS technicians can provide advice and guidance for working through any issues and equipment specifications you may need.

To learn more about stud weld fastening systems and our supplies and services, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770 today or request a quote online.


All About Ceramic Ferrules for Drawn Arc Stud Welding

Northland Fastening Systems is a complete supplier of tools, studs, accessories, and operations knowledge for CD, short cycle, and drawn arc stud welding. Whether you need a stud welding tool for rent or purchase, studs in custom or standardized dimensions, or even guidance from our expert technicians, you can count on NFS.

Stud welding is an operation heavily used across industries, but each type of stud welding technique requires an understanding of how the weld is generated and what tools and accessories are necessary for a successful result. An ideal stud weld point will be much stronger than the stud itself. That result can be tested in various ways with visual, tensile, and bend diagnostics.

While weld operations that achieve the best results possible may seem generally straightforward, they still require knowledge of how the weld is generated depending on welding type, calibrations for materials used, and accessories. For drawn arc stud welding, the understanding of what, why, how, and when ceramic ferrules are used is a critical part of performing a successful weld.

What are they?

Stud welding ferrules are rings made from refractory ceramic materials. They are protective shields for many operations, including drawn arc stud welding. They are also sometimes called ceramic arc shields, and they are made in a variety of shapes, sizes, and ceramic material specifications.

Why use them?

As a protective shield, ceramic ferrules are an important part of forming a clean, strong weld with drawn arc currents. Ferrules applied at the weld point will contain the pool of molten metal formed on the stud tip and welding surface. This creates a neat connection point. Ferrules are also important because they protect the weld point from the surrounding environment, preventing porosity in the weld from exposure to air, dust, gases, and UV light.

How do I use them?

Ceramic ferrules are attached around the stud tip on the welding gun. Place the correctly sized ferrule around the gun tip/stud by following the instructions specific to your tool model. After you complete the drawn arc stud welding cycle and the connection point has cooled, chip the ceramic ferrule away from the finished weld. Ceramic ferrules can only be used one time because they are broken in the removal process.

When do I use them?

While there are some rare times when ceramic ferrules are not used in the drawn arc stud welding process, you can almost always expect them to be a requirement for a successful weld. Though ferrules are used in (almost) every drawn arc stud weld, they are not used in CD stud welding or short cycle welding operations. Instead of a ferrule, other welding operations use shielding gas to protect and contain the weld point or don’t require either a ferrule or gas due to the small weld point.

To learn more about ceramic ferrules and their use in the drawn arc stud welding process, contact Northland Fastening Systems today at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.

Comparing DC and AC Stud Welding Machines

Within the welding industry, there are a broad range of different operations to achieve metal or polymer fusion. The first forms of welding were developed long ago in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Today, many other formats for welding exist, from thermochemical welding and resistance welding to laser welding and ultrasonic welding. In each of these types of welding, other variations of process and application occur. For example, within the category of stud welding, the primary operations are drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle welding. Whatever type of stud fastening or composite stud construction you’re working with, you can find the supplies and tools you need at Northland Fastening Systems (NFS). NFS provides a complete range of stud dimensions, welding accessories, technicians’ expertise, and a variety of stud welding machines.


Apart from the differences among each of the three primary stud welding operations—drawn arc, CD, and short cycle—there can be changes in the way a tool is calibrated for a job or even in the type of electrical current.


Like most other operations using an electrical power source, stud welding machines will either be built to handle direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC), both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. The appropriate current pattern for any welder simply depends on the welding circumstances.



DC welding units are lightweight and highly portable, making them ideal for job site operations. Because they can be hooked up to most power sources, they can be installed and removed easily between production environments.


Though they are a portable option, DC stud welding machines are less energy efficient, using only about 30% to 50% of a power source. They can also require more maintenance than AC welders because they are moved about often.


With a DC welder, any arc blown over 300 amp can be difficult to control. Comparatively, AC welders take no effect from an arc blow. Also, DC welders will have polarity in the arc, whereas AC welders have a neutral arc.



AC units source power cyclically from their main power supply. The power fluctuates between negative and positive around 50 times a second. This rapid shift creates an even energy flow that generates heat at the weld site.


AC stud welding machines tend to be larger than DC machines. They are not portable because they have to be hooked into a transformer for an accurate power source.


However, AC stud welding machines have between 70% to 90% energy efficiency, and they are less costly to run long term than DC tools. They also require less maintenance because they are static. Overall, they are cheaper to establish as a workhorse stud welder.


Whether you need the benefits of a portable DC unit or an in-house AC welding unit, NFS has a collection of both for rent or purchase. To learn more about our stud welding machines and other supplies, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.