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.

 

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

In many manufacturing industries, stud welding is often relied upon for its ability to create powerful fastening systems quickly and cleanly. The industries that the stud welding process is utilized in range from food grade manufacturing to composite large-scale construction.

 

As a type of arc welding, the stud welding process is capable of forming connection points that are stronger than the stud or base material. There are several types of stud welding processes, including drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle welding.

 

At Northland Fastening Systems, we provide a comprehensive supply of tools, studs, and accessories for each stud welding process as well as the expert advice of our own technicians.

 

Compared to other types of arc welding, stud welding is a relatively straightforward process with few bells and whistles required to perform a strong weld. For example, technicians performing other welding processes require significant personal protective equipment and often shielding gas, slag, vapor, or other weld protective measures must be taken. The stud welding process is designed to be performed rapidly, easily portable in the field, and require only basic training for the welding technician.

 

CD and short cycle welding in particular are streamlined, fast operations compared to many other welding techniques. However, they are only suitable for a “lightweight” range of duties and are limited to smaller studs and overall moderate applications. Drawn arc welding, on the other hand, can be used in large-scale applications like composite construction for bridges and buildings. Because drawn arc welding utilizes additives like shielding gas and ceramic ferrules that other arc welding processes use for various operations, it’s capable of installing larger studs and heavy-duty manufacturing.

 

Typically, drawn arc welding uses a ceramic ferrule ring to contain the heat generated at the weld point and a flux tip to control the melt temperature. Using these additives in the stud welding process helps control the fusion and create a clean weld result. Welders can also use shielding gas in the place of a ferrule ring.

 

Shielding gases like argon, carbon dioxide, and helium are inert, and when applied during the welding process will protect the weld from air contaminants like water vapor and oxygen that would otherwise create a porous weld prone to cracking and corroding. When applied in a drawn arc stud welding process, shielding gas also helps control the arc, prevent splatter, vary penetration depth, and more.

NFS Welding Studs 101

Since 1987, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has supplied the stud welding industry with quality tools, welding studs, accessories, and our own expert advice. Our supply of welding studs and accessories covers a comprehensive range of dimensions, materials, and additional specifications. Welders working with drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), or short cycle welding can find the welding studs they need with NFS, including any specifications from threaded studs used in an automated system to CD pins hand-installed in the field to shear connectors used in composite construction. As a specialty welding operation, manufacturers using stud welding take advantage of its speed and ability to form a connection stronger than the stud itself. When done correctly, stud welding is a highly clean and efficient operation that poses little physical danger to the welder. You can incorporate the benefits of stud welding onto your production floor with the help of NFS technicians, our tools—for rent or purchase—and our complete collection of welding studs and accessories.

 

The most common types of stud welding include drawn arc and CD. Studs suitable for each welding operation will vary, and depending on what your surface material, fastening system specifications, and dimension requirements are, the welding studs will vary within each category. All of the following studs are available in multiple diameters and lengths, and we offer custom stud-sizing options.

 

Drawn Arc Studs

Typically speaking, drawn arc welding studs are slightly more heavy-duty than CD welding studs. They fit in larger dimensions; are made from mild, low carbon, or stainless steel; and take longer to weld. NFS offers fully threaded or partially threaded arc welding studs, headed anchor welding studs for concrete connections, shear connectors for composite constructions, and deformed bar anchors for weld and bearing plates.

 

CD Studs and Pins 

CD stud welding is used as a rapid, lightweight, clean fastening operation for smaller studs and CD pins. We offer flanged and threaded CD studs in standard and small sizing and non-flanged and threaded studs in standard sizing. NFS CD studs are fabricated with aluminum, mild steel, stainless steel, or brass. Mild steel CD insulator pins are also available in standard sizing.

 

Accessories

For both drawn arc and CD welding, we have a range of accessories that are necessary to make adjustments to tools, work with ferrules, and more. We offer a variety of cable connectors, ferrule plates, split feet, closed feet, chucks, spark shields, collets inserts, tube adapters, B stops, and more.

 

Whether you’re working with drawn arc, CD, or short cycle welding operations, our goal is to provide you with all the stud welding supplies you need to help your job go smoothly. To learn more about our available welding studs and all our other welding supplies, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.

Resistance-Welded vs. Arc-Welded Fastening Systems

At Northland Fastening Systems, we provide a comprehensive supply of stud welding supplies, from tools for rent or purchase to studs in a complete range of dimensions with custom sizes available. Whether you need tools, studs, and accessories for drawn arc, CD, or short cycle stud welding, NFS has the products and the expertise of our stud welding technicians to help you get the job done.

 

In the industrial world, types of stud welding are typically grouped into a manufacturing category different from other welding operations. Other common welding types, such as resistance welding, can be used as fastening systems, but stud welding is generally considered the most effective method for installing fasteners and studs. Due to its unique ability to generate a connection point stronger than the fastener itself, stud welding is usually chosen over other fastening systems when manufacturing assemblies of any size that require studs, bars, anchors, and other fasteners.

 

While stud welding is the primary choice for fastening systems on the production floor or jobsite, resistance welding can sometimes have its uses when installing various fasteners.

 

Arc-Welded Fasteners

Stud welding connection points are created using an electrical arc generating enough heat at the base of the stud/fastener to put both stud tip and surface material into a molten state. In the stud welding process, the arc creates a true fusion of the two metals. Stud welding types include drawn arc, capacitor discharge, and short cycle. Arc-welded fasteners can be installed without leaving marks on the opposite side of the base material. They can also be rapidly installed, with some automated machines performing up to 60 welds per minute. Drawn arc welding can be done on angled or curved surfaces, and CD welding can be used to install fasteners on surfaces as thin as 0.016” for steel and 0.04” for aluminum without causing warping or discoloration. Stud welded fasteners are also leak-proof and pressure-tight.

 

Resistance-Welded Fasteners

Resistance welding includes spot and projection welding. These processes are used to install permanent fasteners with internal or external threading. To achieve an effective weld, both fastener and surface must be fit for resistance welding, which lessens the range of scenarios where resistance welding would be useful as fastening systems. Parts, equipment, and transportation costs of using resistance welding for fasteners are typically much higher than those of stud welding, so the recommended production volume to justify costs is over 1,000.

 

Overall, using arc/stud welding is lower cost, faster, and more effective than resistance welding for installing fasteners. To learn more about fastening systems and our stud welding supplies and services, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. Request a quote online to get started with us today.

Quality Stud Welder Highlight: MFI Sureshot for CD Stud Welding

Northland Fastening Systems is a global provider of high-quality stud welding supplies including stud welding tools for rent or purchase, a comprehensive range of welding studs, welding accessories, and the expertise of our own stud welding technicians.

 

In addition to a broad range of threaded and non-threaded studs for drawn arc and CD stud welding, insulation fasteners, CD pins, bar anchors, shear connectors, and anchor studs available in multiple materials and dimensions, we also have options for custom stud specifications. Our selection of tools available for rent or purchase also has a broad range of options. For those on a permanent production floor, we have multiple fully-automated fastening systems, but we also have lightweight, portable tools for welders in the field, as well as everything in between. This welding tool highlight covers a popular unit for rapid CD stud welding with relatively smaller studs that form powerful connections with a welding surface.

 

Thanks to its compact carrying case and weighing a total of only 18 lbs., the MFI Sureshot is ideal for welders working on a jobsite where multiple locations require welding operations. Easily portable, the MFI Sureshot allows welders to perform quick CD stud welding operations that are clean with little spatter and no marks on the opposite side of the weld surface.

 

MFI Sureshot Specifications

 

  1. Electrical: The MFI Sureshot operates with 110/220 VAC, 15/7.5 Amp, and 50/60Hz incoming and 35-160 VDC, 3,000-9,000 A, and direct current outgoing, with 100,000 uF capacitance.
  2. Welding range: This CD stud welding unit has a pin and stud range of 14 gauge through a 5/16” diameter at the weld base. The welding operation is effective with mild and stainless steels as well as aluminum. It operates quickly for a small unit with 24 welds per minute in the highest voltage. Each charge between welds is less than 3 seconds.
  3. Operation details: The MFI Sureshot unit features three indicator lights and a resettable breaker with additional safety shutdowns. The system is continually cooled with a thermal fan, and the 7-segment digital display offers welders direct control with ease.
  4. Welding gun: The welding gun weighs only 1.6 lbs. for long-term use without exhaustion. The gun is made from high strength, impact resistance polycarbonate. Gun dimensions are 4 ⅞” L x 2” W x 5 ¾” H.
  5. Cables: The MFI Sureshot comes with a standard set of #4 grounding cables and gun cables. The grounding cable reaches up to 15 ft and the weld cables reach up to 20 ft from the gun, allowing welders a broad range of motion around obstacles in the field.

 

The MFI Sureshot is one of many welding tools we have in our collection. To find out more about this CD stud welding tool and many others, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. Request a quote online to get started with us today.