Tips for Thru-Deck Structural Steel Welding

Stud welding is used extensively throughout the construction industry for residential and commercial buildings, industrial facilities, infrastructure, and more. The widespread use of stud welding in construction is largely due to the powerful fastening and composite building capabilities that different operations provide. With shear connectors, builders can secure concrete onto steel beams; bar anchors allow connections between bearing plates and concrete; and many other studs are key in structural steel welding processes. If you’re using stud welding operations in your construction projects, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has the tools, supplies, and expertise you need. We provide a complete selection of drawn arc and CD welding studs, welding tools for rent or purchase, welding accessories, and the advice of our own welding technicians. We also provide repairs and services for many standard stud welding tool models.

Structural Steel Welding

Within the structural steel welding industry, one of the most valuable operations is thru-deck welding. Thru-deck welding allows builders to attach various sizes, thicknesses, and materials of steel decking to beams and other building components. Decking materials are used in several kinds of building construction for its strength, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Thru-Deck Studs

When welding thru-deck studs, the following steps should be taken into account.

  • Make sure you are using the right tools for the job, including thru-deck studs, a drawn arc welding unit calibrated correctly, the best power supply suited to the task, and thru-deck welding ferrules. Thru-deck welding ferrules have wider gaps between teeth than other ferrules. These gaps allow more oxygen to reach the weld, creating better stud penetration through the deck to the underlying beam.
  • Attach the decking as securely to the beam as possible and use grounding correctly. Grounding can be done with a welding ground C-clamp attached in a spot on the beam that has been ground down to bare metal.
  • Check your power source(s). Thru-deck welding sites can be larger than others. This means you often need power extensions to reach far away welds. This can be done successfully, but keep in mind how cable length and wire size can impact power supply.
  • Clean and dry the decking. For accurate thru-deck welding, sweep away dust and debris before each weld. If there are unavoidable wet conditions, the weld point should be dried with a blower or heat gun to remove moisture from in between the beam and the deck.
  • Monitor temperatures. Thru-deck welding temperatures should be above 0ºF according to the American Welding Society (AWS) “Ambient and Base-Metal Temperature Requirements.”

Standardized Procceure

Thru-deck welding is a highly standardized procedure used today on many construction sites. However standardized, it still is a technical process that requires a deep understanding and well-manicured conditions.

To learn more about thru-deck structural steel welding, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.

Importance of Testing Practices in the Stud Welding Process

In any industry, diagnostics, testing, and quality control are all critical parts of the fabrication process. In the stud welding industry, suppliers and manufacturers alike follow ISO 9001, ISO 13918, and many other regulations for testing in order to provide reliable, high-quality services, construction, and equipment. The stud welding process has several different operations, including drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle welding. With each of these welding processes, welders should perform tests at the beginning of each job to ensure their tools are calibrated correctly, the right materials are used, and the surface is prepared sufficiently. Without these tests, operators could go on to finish a job with weak, brittle, or messy welds. Whether you’re working with handheld, portable units in the field or you operate a fully automated production line in a facility, you can find the supplies you need at Northland Fastening Systems (NFS). We offer a comprehensive range of studs, welding accessories, and tools for rent or purchase. We also provide a repair service for most models, and our own welding technicians are happy to give advice and guidance.

Stud Welding Process

While some tests in the stud welding process can vary from operation to operation, there are three standard tests that should be performed on at least 10 weld samples before a full project is begun. These tests include:

Bend test:

The bend test is a typical test that either confirms or denies the strength of the weld connection point. The stud is bent back and forth at opposing 30º-angles until the stud breaks or the connection point fails. If the stud fails first, the weld is correct. Another version of this test bends studs at a 90º-angle over a pin with four times the diameter of the stud. Studs that bend over the pin without the connection point failing are performed correctly. Fractures in the plate metal or the weld point are signs of a poorly performed weld.

Tension/tensile test:

Weld quality can also be measured for tensile strength. Tension or tensile tests are typically done on shear connectors and other stud systems that will face large amounts of tensile stress. In a tensile testing machine, force is applied to a stud until failure. If the stud fails at the tension point before the weld connection or welding surface shows damage, that weld is accurate.

Torque test:

With a torque test arrangement or torque testing device, welding points can also be measured for accuracy. While bend tests are destructive tests, causing the weld to fail, torque tests can be done without serious damage to the weld point. Torque tests use a torsion meter as defined stress is applied. If the deformation of the stud falls within acceptable ranges, the weld was performed correctly.

To learn more about testing in the stud welding process, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.


How New Technology and Better Stud Welding Products Make Industry More Sustainable

Since the beginning of the 20th century, stud welding began to be used more prevalently throughout industries beyond its original applications in shipbuilding. The several wars that the United States and much of the rest of the world faced also played a large role in the expanded use of strong, fast connecting systems like stud welding in manufacturing. Today, stud welding is used in most industries, from automotive to food grade equipment. However, many changes in the way people build are causing stud welding to develop once more to keep up with sustainability and energy-efficient designs. Over the last 10 years, engineers and fabricators have worked to improve the functioning lifespan, weight, and other properties of welded studs. If you are a manufacturer working with drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), or short cycle stud welding operations, you can find the high-quality supplies you need at Northland Fastening Systems (NFS). We provide a complete range of stud welding products, including tools for rent or purchase, studs, welding accessories, and our own welding technicians expert advice.

Stud Welding Products

Modern stud welding products already offer some of the most efficient systems for installing quick, powerful connection points and fastening technology. However, fabricators and manufacturing companies are still working to increase the range of those capabilities.

Setting Standards

Two major industries are setting sustainability and cost-saving guidelines for the rest of those who use stud welding on a large or heavy-duty scale. Power plants and shipbuilders have both researched and found ways to improve their use of studs with less waste and for longer use.

Power plants:

Most power plants use studs installed in operating furnaces to act as heat transfers into boiler tubes. These studs are typically made of 430 stainless steel with a refractory coating, and they have to be fully replaced about once a year. The replacement of these studs requires a large factory shutdown, which is both expensive and time-consuming. Some newer kinds of studs made from an iron and aluminum alloy have shown to last three to four times longer than 430 stainless steel studs. This new stud technology runs colder than older studs, transfers heat better, and forms anticorrosive aluminum oxide when exposed to furnace temperatures of 1,600-1,800ºF.


Shipbuilders, especially those manufacturing naval vessels, have also found a way to eliminate cost and improve sustainable designs. A study released in 2012 showed that newer studs welding equipment with lower energy consumption during idle (between welds) could reduce shipbuilding costs on large vessels by $0.128 to $0.154 per stud. For shipyards that build destroyers and other navy warships, that could mean a reduction in cost of $589,000 to $708,000 in energy alone.

Newer technology across industries using stud welding products will only continue to prove how much more efficient and sustainable they can be. To learn more about the newest stud welding machines and the other products we offer, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.