What to Consider before Buying Stud-Welding Equipment

With any kind of manufacturing tools, you need to do your research to determine what specifications, sizing, materials, and other details you’ll need depending on the job. Even with a simple tool type like a screwdriver, there is a large range of variations. When it comes to more complex manufacturing tools or whole systems like with stud-welding equipment, there are even more technical aspects to consider before purchasing even the studs you will use. Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) provides a complete range of stud-welding supplies from tools for rent or purchase to studs of any dimension, including customs options. In addition to a comprehensive supply of stud-welding equipment, our staff of knowledgeable technicians will guide you in selecting exactly the right tools, studs, and accessories you need.

While we at NFS make all our welding supplies as affordable as possible, we don’t want you to waste your time and/or money purchasing a tool or stud that won’t work for your job. To save yourself the headache of returns or wasted money, consider the following issues before buying stud-welding equipment:

Materials: Different stud-welding processes work best with different materials. If you’re working with thin stud-welding pins for stainless steel, food-grade welding, the best tools to choose will be for CD stud-welding operations. On the other hand, composite construction with bar anchors requires more heavy-duty tools for drawn arc welding. The surface material and the stud materials are both significant factors that will guide your stud-welding equipment choices.

Dimensions: Like the materials, the dimensions of the studs you’ll be working with will guide your selection of all stud-welding equipment.  CD stud-welding operations are suited to smaller studs like pins, insulator fasteners, and sheet metal connectors. Additionally, CD studs are best for thin surface materials because they don’t leave through-marking discoloration or warping. Drawn arc stud welding tools can handle larger stud dimensions and thicker base materials. Because they can handle much heavier duty dimensions, drawn arc welding studs are also used in building construction, structural steel applications, and composite construction for large-scale structures like bridges.

Automation: Another important aspect to consider before purchasing stud-welding equipment is whether you need options for automation or you’ll only be performing welds with hand tools. Automated tools can require different power calibrations, facility setups, and maintenance treatment. While handheld tools still perform rapid welds and are often useful as portable tools in the field, fully automated systems are key for many large-scale production operations. Determining whether you need automated tools for faster production will be a large factor in choosing the right stud-welding equipment.

To learn more about what you should consider before purchasing stud-welding equipment or to get started with us today, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.

 

 

 

Riveting vs. Welding: Why Stud Welding Is Still Used in Shipbuilding

Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has provided comprehensive stud welding supplies for over 30 years to customers working with capacitor discharge, drawn arc, and short cycle welding. From large-scale construction to fine food-grade stud welding, we offer the right tools for rent or purchase, studs in various dimensions, custom stud options, welding accessories, and the expertise of our own stud welding technicians. Since our start in 1987, NFS has seen the many changes in welding operations, developments in technology, and advancements of technique. Today, stud welding is a highly precise process that can be fully automated for rapid, exact production applications. Even from the 1980s, significant and positive changes have come into the industry around safety, quality, and capabilities. However, some things in the welding industry haven’t changed much since the beginnings of stud welding. These applications were used in shipbuilding during World War I and the early 20th century.

In the shipbuilding industry, in particular, both stud welding and riveting operations have a notable place in the manufacturing repertoire. Stud welding is a newer manufacturing tool that developed as a technique for the type of shipbuilding that arose from the turn of the century, the Industrial Revolution, and the requirements of the U.S. Navy during both world wars.

Stud welding was key to the shipbuilding process because it could create a strong connection that was watertight, resistant to corrosion, cosmetically clean, and flexible. In addition to stud welding developments during the early 20th century, metal riveting continued to be used heavily in the manufacturing of many types of ships.

Riveting is a fabrication technique that dates back as far as the Bronze Age. Modern riveting is a very versatile operation in many industries, and it’s used in shipbuilding for several reasons. Not only is riveting fast and cost-effective, but it can also form connection points between many different types of materials, including most metals, plastics, and even wood.

Although riveting is used extensively in many kinds of shipbuilding, stud welding is still an important operation that offers results that can’t be achieved through any other types of rivet fastening systems. In particular, stud welding provides a much stronger connection point than riveting. A properly performed stud weld will have a connection point to the surface material that is stronger than the stud itself. This alone differentiates stud welding as a key operation for structural integrity in ships of all sizes.

In addition to forming a powerful, long-lasting connection, stud welding provides a very specific, clean aesthetic in an industrial setting. Stud welding generates the strength needed in a mark-free result that doesn’t require further finishing work. While riveting may be faster than stud welding overall, the majority of stud work done in shipbuilding is still considered a rapid operation.

Thanks to its speed, strength, and aesthetics, stud welding is still used in shipbuilding and other industries. To learn more about the stud welding services we provide, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.

 

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

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

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.

Building Improved Electric Cars with Aluminum Fastening Systems

In the automotive industry, stud welding operations are heavily utilized in many applications. From exhaust systems to electrical wire routing, multiple types of stud welding operations are used as fastening systems in various sections of most automotive construction. If you’re working in the automotive industry or any other business that uses stud welding, you can find everything you need to get the job done with Northland Fastening Systems (NFS). We provide stud weld tools for rent or purchase, a complete range of stud types and dimensions, stud welding accessories, and the expert advice of our staff of experienced technicians. For capacitor discharge (CD), drawn arc, and short cycle weld fastening systems, NFS is a one-stop shop.

Stud welding today is used largely for attaching types of steel in composite construction, fasteners, food-grade welding, and more. When it comes to cars and other vehicles, steel is used in many parts of gas-powered combustion engines, chassis, and frames. However, with electric-powered vehicles becoming more and more prevalent, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to make the end product lighter and powered with less energy while still being safe for drivers.

Using stud welding for fastening systems is a highly efficient technique, so instead of swapping it for an operation that uses lighter materials, more commonly, automotive manufacturers are utilizing aluminum stud welding systems, and broadening and improving the capabilities of those methods. When it comes to selecting a welding operation to calibrate for aluminum, manufacturers usually choose CD over drawn arc resistance welding because of the conductivity of aluminum compared to steel.

CD Welding for Aluminum

CD stud welding forms a connection point by generating a burst of energy from low-voltage electrostatic capacitors with direct current. That burst of energy heats the stud tip, vaporizing it and creating an ionization path that allows complete flow of current through an arc that, in turn, heats the stud and connection point. Applying pressure of the stud to the surface then completes the weld.

The conductivity of aluminum makes CD stud fastening systems more effective than drawn arc welding because the electrical current can move more easily. The arc current in drawn arc welding requires a great deal more energy to weld aluminum, making it less useful for lightweight, rapid welding. CD welds are performed within milliseconds and they leave no marking on the opposite surface. Because of this and the conductivity of aluminum, they are the primary choice in automotive manufacturing for electric cars.

CD stud welding for aluminum can be used extensively in nonstructural automotive construction. For example, CD studs are applied in cosmetic aluminum paneling for the framework, electrical routing, insulation, power-steering columns, heat shields, exhaust systems, lighting, and more.

To learn more about the use of stud welding for aluminum in electric cars and other applications, or about other stud welding fastening systems, call Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.

 

 

Testing Stud Welding Results

Like in any manufacturing industry, diagnostics are critical for production utilizing stud welding in any capacity. Since its first use in the shipbuilding industry during the early 1900s, stud welding has expanded into many types of fabrication, from composite construction with shear connectors to thin insulation fasteners built into many structures. No matter what type of capacitor discharge (CD), drawn arc, or short cycle stud welding applications you work with, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has the supplies you need. Our selection of stud welding supplies includes tools for rent and purchase, studs in a comprehensive range of dimensions, custom stud options, welding accessories, and the expertise of our own staff technicians.

 

Stud welding operations can be complex, depending on the weld, stud, and material types. Because of this, results diagnostics are key to determine whether a weld process needs any adjustments. Even simple welds with pre-calibrated tools require basic testing to see if a connection point is strong.

 

Basic Testing

There are standard mechanical and visual diagnostics that can be done to check the first few welds after calibrating a tool for the dimensions, weld type, and surface material, including:

 

  1. Form two test welds to an approved base plate material sample.
  2. Inspect the weld to see if there are visible flaws such as spattering, burring, slag, and so on.
  3. Bend each test weld to a 30-degree angle from its vertical point. This bend can be done with a hammer, pipe, wrench, or other tool depending on the stud diameter.
  4. Inspect the weld connection to see if cracks or other flaws have appeared after the stud was bent.
  5. If no flaws appear and the test weld passes initial visual inspections, you can continue with that calibration for the rest of your job using those stud and base plate specifications.

 

Threaded Stud Testing

When using threaded studs, similar basic mechanical and visual tests can be done. Like the preceding weld tests, inspect two welds to an approved base material sample to see if visual flaws are apparent.

 

To perform a mechanical test for a threaded stud, set it in a secured steel sleeve. Then apply a tensile load by tightening a nut and washer down to the sleeve with a torque wrench.

 

Other Tests

 When testing studs that must be attached to non-approved base plate materials, apply visual, tensile, and bend tests to at least 10 weld samples. These tests should be done until a stud failure. An accurate weld will see failure in the stud from metal fatigue, caused by repeat bend tests, rather than at the connection point.

 

Low-temperature welds can also be tested with a slow bend to 30ºF using a pipe. Impact tests are not useful when welding in low temperatures (50ºF or below).

 

Accurate testing can protect your final results from potential failure in any stud when applied in an assembly. To learn more about stud welding and the supplies and expertise we provide, contact NFS by calling (651) 730-7770 or requesting a quote online.

Growing a Profitable Stud Welding Venture

At Northland Fastening Systems, our expert staff provides a comprehensive range of stud welding supplies to a variety of customers. Our clients range from single-person welding services to fully automated industrial facilities. We offer tools for rent or purchase, studs in a complete range of dimensions, welding accessories, and the skills and advice of our own technicians. All our supplies support quality stud welding practices, and NFS is dedicated to upholding the best industry standards proven globally. If you own a small welding company or are just starting out as a commercial welder, holding your work to these standards and utilizing high-quality tools can help you grow a profitable stud welding venture and gain a reputation as a reliable welder offering great results.

 

At NFS we love to see new companies growing and small businesses thriving. Our supplies help to support the growth of well-respected welding providers, but there are also a few things you can do to ensure positive growth and profit without compromising the quality of your services. For example:

 

  • Work as a customer-focused provider. Understanding customer needs and communicating throughout the process of any project will help you gain client trust and positive word-of-mouth advertising. Customer-focused practices will result in more repeat clients and growth of your customer base through referral.
  • Work as an employee-focused company. The most successful welding providers adopt both customer- and employee-focused practices. Supporting your workers with the best pay, benefits, training, and personal protection possible will help prevent costly turnover and promote workplace happiness. Better staff morale and education means your company will provide better services on the job.
  • Keep meticulous records. Using a software system that can tackle inventory management, job records, maintenance requirements, and any other schedule history is the best way to keep company records. If you don’t have access to a digital record system, paper files work just fine but can be more easily lost, generally contain less data, and are less professional. Keeping strict records will help you with future jobs, avoid unnecessary repair costs, maintain a correct schedule, and improve your client relations.
  • Spend time and money on an online presence. Every company in today’s internet-based world should have a quality website that’s easy for users to navigate. Once you have your website up, taking the time to generate a regularly published blog or news page will also help you gain a natural following of users interested in the information you put out. Additional resources like social media can also help establish your business in the contemporary industrial and commercial community.

 

Every company is different, and you’ll find your own ways to grow and become successful, but these are good standards to work by. As for finding the best supplies to get the job done, Northland Fastening Systems is your one-stop-shop for all the quality stud welding supplies you need.

 

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

Integrating an Automated Stud Welding Process

Stud welding operations are streamlined, quick processes that allow technicians to install a broad range of stud types in many applications with powerful connections and clean finishes. Even handheld welding guns and lightweight or portable units can increase production speed and improve results. However, with an automated stud welding process installed in your production line, you can greatly increase the speed and quality of your welding operations while eliminating unnecessary costs and material waste. At Northland Fastening Systems, we offer a complete range of supplies for any stud welding process, automated or not. We provide a large collection of studs in varying dimensions and materials, welding tools for rent or purchase, welding accessories, and the expertise of our own technicians for advice or tool services.

 

If your production schedules have expanded to the point of considering integrating an automated stud welding process into your facilities, there are a few things to consider to determine if a fully automated system is the right choice.

 

  • Production: The main thing to consider before automating is if your production output and operation types fit an automated rate and facility set up. When automating the stud welding process, you will also have to increase assembly speeds. Consider the bottle necks for assembly in your facility and workers. Analyze your current production cycle time and determine where parts of the assembly process that won’t be automated can be sped up.

 

  • Safety: Worker safety should always be considered before making changes to your facility. When installing an automated system into existing facilities, the effects of that integration should be diagnosed before moving forward. Consider ergonomics, torque, tool weight, operator fatigue, and more. Make sure everything fits together correctly, and provide extensive training and safety procedurals to workers whenever new equipment is introduced.

 

  • Quality: Finally, you need to ensure that installing an automated system for your stud welding process won’t compromise quality in any way. If an automated system will change products in any way, the assembly process must be altered to fit those changes. Stud installation should be done with perfect accuracy if your automated system is properly functioning. Collect data before and after installing an automated system and compare to see improvements, or lack thereof, in quality.

 

Working with highly rated, expert providers like Northland Fastening System will help you find the right automation options and install new equipment successfully. We offer user-friendly, effective automation options for drawn arc, CD, and short cycle welding. To learn more about our automated equipment for the stud welding process, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. Request a quote online to get started with us today.

Part Two: Shielding Gas and Its Role in the Stud Welding Process

In the first part of this two-part blog, we covered the use of shielding gas in arc stud welding and the role it plays in helping to form a strong weld. Shielding gas essentially protects a weld point from exposure to potential contaminants like oxygen and moisture. With shielding gas, welders can eliminate potentially porous welds prone to corrosion. In the stud welding industry, shielding gas is typically used with drawn arc welding to replace the need for a flux and ferrule ring system. If you’re working with the stud welding process for any project, Northland Fastening Systems can provide any tools, studs, and welding accessories you might need, in addition to the expert advice of our own staff of stud welding technicians. As a comprehensive supplier for the stud welding process NFS has what you need for drawn arc, CD, and short cycle welding.

 

There are several types of shielding gas available to the welding industry, varying in price, production capabilities, and overall effectiveness. Choosing the right shielding gas for your stud welding process depends on your budget, desired finished properties of your weld, welding materials, pre- and post-weld cleanup abilities, and production schedule.

 

There are four common shielding gas types used in most welding processes: carbon dioxide, argon, oxygen, and helium.

 

  1. Carbon dioxide: The most common and least expensive shielding gas on the market, CO2 is the only gas that can be used in pure form without inert gas added. CO2 also helps to achieve a deep weld on thicker materials. However, it can create a low stability arc resulting in spatter when other gases are added, and it’s only useful in short circuit operations.
  2. Argon: The results of using an argon shielding gas are generally considered the best quality, both cosmetically and functionally. A mix of 75 to 95% argon with 25 to 5% CO2 is an ideal ratio for arc stability, minimal spatter, and a controlled puddle. Argon can also increase production rates with a spray transfer technique. Although argon is an abundant resource, it’s slightly more expensive than other shielding gases because of the difficult containment process.
  3. Oxygen: When used in small ratios, oxygen can help control fluidity of weld puddles, penetration, and arc balance. Oxygen is useful for mild carbon and stainless steel, but it can cause oxidation in aluminum, magnesium, copper, and other metals.
  4. Helium: Used with argon in similar ratios as argon/CO2 mixes (25% helium to 75% argon), helium provides deep penetration. Ratio adjustments offer control of arc heat/travel speed and increased productivity. Helium is also generally used in a mix of argon and CO2. Overall, helium is on the pricey side so it’s often added in as small amounts as possible.

 

Choosing the right type of shielding gas will go a long way in supporting quality weld results and increasing your production schedule. To learn more about the stud welding process and the complete line of supplies we offer, contact Northland Fastening Systems today at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.