Using Construction Welding to Retrofit Older Buildings for Sustainability

As the construction industry starts to implement more environmentally friendly, sustainable systems with longer lasting, high-quality materials, all new buildings are becoming some of the greenest we’ve ever seen. Even large industrial complexes and city centers are built with low-impact carbon emissions and sustainable energy in mind. While these new constructions are better than ever in terms of how they affect the earth, there are still many older buildings in use that could be improved with more sustainable retrofits and modernization. Around 50% of commercial buildings in the United States alone were built more than 50 years ago. There are many ways these older buildings can be improved for a lower carbon footprint by adjusting the existing structure without necessarily changing the historical significance. At Northland Fastening Systems (NFS), we know that stud welding and construction welding, in general, can be a large part of that retrofitting process.

Composite Construction Welding

There are many steps in the building process that rely on stud welding operations for quality construction. Stud welding is used in composite construction for attaching beams, girders, and other skeleton components to other important materials like concrete. It’s also used to fasten insulation sheeting to enclosed walls, build scaffolding needed in the construction process, create protected electrical systems, and more.

Construction Welding

The process of modernizing older buildings for sustainability with the use of construction welding takes several steps. Some of the most important steps include updating the following building components:


How a building generates electricity can affect how much energy is utilized on a daily basis. Retrofitting an electrical system can seriously change how energy is spent. Better power blueprints, longer lasting lighting, energy storage, and more can improve building sustainability. Electrical enclosures in buildings are almost exclusively built with capacity discharge (CD) stud welding operations.


CD stud welding is also used to install insulation pins quickly and effectively. Most older buildings have poorly installed, outdated insulation that doesn’t hold up to modern building conditioning. With the installation of better insulation sheeting throughout an older building, energy spent on maintaining well-conditioned indoor temperatures will drop almost immediately.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC):

Another part of conditioning an older building that could be updated for better sustainability is the HVAC system, which can be a huge energy cost, especially for larger buildings that are not well designed or insulated with eco-conscious goals. If older buildings receive better HVAC systems (often installed with stud welding) with new motors, cooling agents, boilers, and filters, then emissions are greatly reduced in that area and the air quality will also likely improve.

Other adjustments can be made to the building’s main structure, roof, and even foundation for better sustainability, but the three areas discussed are the quickest and least invasive retrofit options for old buildings. To learn more about how stud welding and construction welding is involved in this process, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.

More About the Short Cycle Stud Welding Process

Within the stud welding world, technicians can utilize several different types of operations, depending on materials and other specifications. While stud welding is one of the older branches of electrical welding, dating back as far as the early 1900s in the shipbuilding industry, the operations and technology have developed greatly beyond their original purposes. Today, welders can use drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short-cycle welding for anything from composite construction to electrical enclosures. The supplies required for stud welding can be equally wide-ranging in dimensions, materials, and function. No matter what kind of stud welding process you’re using or how big or small your project, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) provides a comprehensive range of tools for rent or purchase, studs, welding accessories, repairs, and technical guidance.

Stud Welding Process

The short-cycle stud welding process can sometimes be considered a combination of drawn arc operations and CD studs. While this is partially true, short-cycle welding as a complete operation is much more complex and multifaceted than simply that.

Short-cycle Operation

The welding sequence of a short-cycle operation follows the same pattern as drawn arc welding, but it uses higher currents and shorter welding times (about 10-100 milliseconds). Overall, short-cycle welding is also best suited for installing studs with no greater than ½″ diameters on thin metal sheets. Most welding technicians will use shielding gas to improve the weld result of a short cycle process.

Useful for Installing Studs

Compared to drawn arc or CD operations, short-cycle welding is useful for installing studs that are not in a vertical position. Due to the quick weld time, molten metal at the weld point doesn’t have time for gravity to create drips and runs. With the fast weld, technicians don’t need to use ceramic ferrules, and in controlled environments they may even be able to eliminate shielding gas requirements.

Dimensions best suited to a short-cycle weld operation range from 1.7mm to 2mm for welding surfaces and thinnest CD studs to ½″ drawn arc studs. Three phase power supplies of 415 volts are recommended. Keep in mind how extension cables may affect your power.

Short-cycle welding can have risks of porous connection points if not performed correctly and with the right stud dimensions and welding surface materials. When done correctly, short-cycle stud welding has lower equipment costs, can be done with greater tolerances, and can even be worked into automated systems. For the right application, short-cycle welding is a convenient process that requires fewer accessories and additional tools than CD or drawn arc operations.

To learn more about the benefits of any stud welding process or for our supplies, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.

Comparing Different Fixing and Fastening Systems with Stud Welding

From tools as simple as a nail and hammer to as complex as an industrial-grade adhesive, many parts attach systems together. The right attachment method depends on the materials used, function of the assembly, operational stress, and aesthetic finish. When it comes to attaching metals together or to other materials, several techniques are available to manufacturers. One common application of metal fastening systems is welding. Different kinds of welding have been around for thousands of years, with rudimentary forge welding dating back to the Iron Age around 1200 BCE. Today, there are four main types of welding with multiple subtypes in those categories. Stud welding is one type of welding operation that was developed in the early 1900s for the shipbuilding industry. If you are working with stud welding, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has a comprehensive supply of studs and welding accessories as well as tools for rent or purchase, and our repair services to help you get the job done.

Fastening Systems

Unlike the commonly used tungsten inert gas (TIG), metal inert gas (MIG), and stick welding, which are used to connect metals along a linear path, stud welding operations are unique formats that connect metals at a point. As far as fastening systems go for attaching metals, we consider stud welding to be the superior operation for a variety of reasons.

For a full picture of why we like stud welding better than other operations that could be used in its place, we’ll take a look at those options.

Drilling and tapping:

This combo operation creates an insert for a fastener that can then be drilled into the surface material and secured with a bolt. While effective in many cases, drilling and tapping is a slow process. It also requires a lengthier stud, and can only be used in cases when the parent material is thick and doesn’t have a backside.


To install a metal backed insert, the parent material needs to be punched and deburred, which can weaken it. Inserts can also work loose over time, and they tend to crack paint and stain surfaces. Additionally, the backside of the parent material can be bent outward or otherwise warped.

Back welding:

Back welding installs fasters by welding on the reverse side of the parent material while the stud is held in place. This significantly alters the backside of a surface unless the excess weld is ground down. This entire process is slow and weakens the parent material.

Through bolting:

Through bolting is effective, but requires access to the backside of the parent material for two-handed installation. Bolt heads can also stain surfaces, weaken the parent material, and create an unsealed leak point.

Welding as a fastening Systems

Consequently, stud welding is the best system because it’s a strong connector, it doesn’t weaken the parent material, it can be done in a single step, it leaves a mark-free reverse side, and it’s a fully sealed connection point.

For more information about stud weld fastening systems contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.