Automated Fastening Systems Entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industries are always changing as new technology develops and becomes commonplace. As new equipment and practices come into any industry, regulations and standards come with them, and manufacturers adapt to meet these requirements. In the stud welding industry, we use very different models and systems today than the formats that were used in the early 1900s for shipbuilding. The first stud welding operations were essentially manual stick welding or resistance welding, used for composite construction on navy vessels and other large ships. Today, stud welders have several operations at their disposal, including drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle fastening systems. No matter what kind of modern stud welding you use, you can find the supplies, repairs, and advice you need at Northland Fastening Systems. NFS provides a complete range of supplies, from tools to accessories and everything in between.

Global Industrial World

The global industrial world has gone through several significant changes in the form of three major eras. The most significant early changes began with the First Industrial Revolution, from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. This marked the change from handmade products to fabrication with steam and water-powered machines.

Second Industrial Revolution

The Second Industrial Revolution spanned the turn of the century, from around 1870 to 1915. This marked a time of economic growth, the development of larger railroad systems, and the modern production line.

Third Industrial Revolution

The Third Industrial Revolution began towards the end of the 1900s as digital technology, computers, and the internet changed the manufacturing landscape. This revolution led to today’s current status as the time of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.

What is Industry 4.0?

The foundation of Industry 4.0 is the increased use of artificial intelligence, smart automation, data sharing, and interconnectivity. The internet and cloud systems allow for direct, in-depth data sharing between every production stage, engineers, customers, and third parties. This creates an immersive manufacturing environment that borders on augmented reality, guided through extensive technical assistance. Industry 4.0 gives all levels of manufacturing greater intelligence, the ability to make decentralized decisions, and data transparency.

What does automated stud welding mean for the industry?

Although Industry 4.0 has been slower to affect the stud welding industry and fastening systems in general, there are still new technologies, operations, and capabilities entering the field. Automation has been growing rapidly, material sourcing is improving constantly, and production speeds are at an all-time high. Innovative applications of stud welding are also growing, especially in the fields of design and infrastructure. Most importantly, safety standards, sustainable policies, and economic responsibility have shifted the paradigm of the industrial world, including for stud welding. Industry 4.0 is moving stud welding towards better data, less waste, and smarter tools.

To learn more about the high-quality fastening systems supplies we provide, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online today.

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.


Why the Stud Welding Process Speeds Up Production

Welding operations of all kinds are used across industries in many capacities, from forge welding to plastic welding. While there are four to seven main types of metal welding, depending on the application and industry, within those groups there are many more variations. In the category of stud welding, there are at least three main types of operations: drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle. Stud welding is a highly valuable operation for many manufacturers because it provides several benefits in addition to the powerful connections it can form. Not only is stud welding used in multiple industries to connect studs for fastening systems and support structures; it’s also used in composite construction to attach concrete and steel or provide shear strength in infrastructure. No matter what industry you work in, you can find the supplies you need at Northland Fastening Systems. We provide a comprehensive range of studs, tools, accessories, and anything else needed for your stud welding process.

Fastening Systems

Drawn arc, short cycle, and CD stud welding each offer a unique solution for fastening systems. Short cycle and CD stud welding are generally used in automated or quick welds for smaller stud diameters or pins. These operations are ideal for clean, strong connection points. Drawn arc stud welding is used for larger diameter studs, bar anchors, and shear connectors.

Stud Welding Process

All of these operations are part of a stud welding process that can speed up your production line much better than any other fastening system. The main reasons why stud welding can increase manufacturing speeds include:

No secondary operations:

Stud welding can often be performed without grinding or polishing surfaces. Some stud welds can even be attached over paint and other surface treatments. There is no need to drill or tap holes or use rivets, bolts, nuts, or washers. This also eliminates the cost of secondary equipment needed to perform all of these operations.

Rapid weld time:

In many cases, welds can be performed up to 30 times a minute. In the most rapid cases on automated production lines, up to 1,800 studs can be installed per hour.

Single-person task:

Handheld stud welding tools and automated stud welding machines can often be operated successfully by just one worker. The equipment needed to stud weld is also typically lightweight, portable, and easy to operate when following manual directions.

Adaptable to many metals:

While the main materials used for studs and welding surfaces are different kinds of steel, most kinds of metal can be adapted to the stud welding process. Stud welders use metals of all kinds in various applications, including aluminum, mild and stainless steel, brass, copper, titanium, and even Inconel.

In addition to the speed benefits that stud welding provides, these operations also offer precision, uniformity, reliability, and a generally failsafe connection point. To learn more about the stud welding process and the supplies and services we provide, contact Northland Fastening Systems today at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online

Thru-Decking Procedures for Structural Steel Welding

Drawn arc stud welding operations are used extensively in the construction industry. Not only do drawn arc studs function as fastening systems for sheet metal fabrication, construction equipment manufacturing, and structural steel manufacturing, they are also used to build large-scale infrastructure with composite building. With drawn arc shear connectors, bar anchors, and other studs, manufacturers can build composite materials. Stud welding offers a rapid, clean operation that results in a connection stronger than the stud or the welding surface. At Northland Fastening Systems, we provide a complete selection of drawn arc welding tools, studs, and accessories. We also provide repairs and service for most welding tool models, and our expert welding technicians can give guidance and advice on any project. If you’re working with drawn arc structural steel welding, NFS is your one-stop-shop for supplies.

Structural Steel Welding

One of the most important uses of drawn arc operations for structural steel welding is the thru-deck installation process. Weld thru-decking (studs abbreviated WTD) fastens decking material to steel beams. Building with decking welded to beams is a common construction practice, used to fabricate components in many types of buildings, from homes to skyscrapers.

In order to accurately attach studs through decking to the beam underneath, specific welding procedures should be followed.

Surface Preparation

Both the surface of your decking material and the steel beams should be properly prepared for a weld. This means removing any paint, rust, mill scale, dirt, moisture, and other contaminants. Galvanized surfaces on beams should have the galvanization removed at the weld point. Moisture from rain or humidity should be dried with a heat gun at the weld point. Additionally, if you are welding in cold weather, the weld point should be warmed to the touch but not overheated.


Finally, the decking and beam should be properly grounded to prevent loss of welding current. Using C-clamps or welding grounds attached to a beam flange where the surface has been ground to bare metal will prevent poor weld connections due to inadequate current.

Weld Specifications

Thru-deck welding requires currents typically between 1,500 to 1,900 amps. Your welding unit manual will specify the exact power source requirements determined by stud dimensions, decking thickness, and materials. Keep in mind that extensions of cables and changes to wire size can impact the current and compromise a weld. If you must run a long cable, you may need to run parallel cables to generate enough power for the weld site.


Thru-deck welding requires a special ceramic ferrule with wider gaps between teeth. These gaps allow for a hotter weld that can successfully fuse the stud through the decking to the steel beam. Most thru-decking welds will take between 0.8 to 1.6 seconds to fuse, and studs will plunge approximately 1/4″ to 1/2” depending on their length and decking thickness.

If you would like more information about drawn arc structural steel welding with thru-decking or need to order supplies, contact Northland Fastening Systems today at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.

Building Class A Crafts to Small Research Vessels and Other Small Boats with Stud Fastening Systems

Stud welding is a widespread manufacturing operation today thanks to the powerful, fast, versatile, and clean results it provides. The first uses of stud applications with drawn arc welding began in the shipbuilding industry. During WWI, the rapidly increasing demand for military and seaworthy ships gave rise to the development of better stud welding technology. Using stud weld operations to perform strong, water-tight connections, the US Navy and industrial marine fabricators could meet the need for war-worthy vessels. After WWI, stud welding continued to be used in building vessels for military, commercial, industrial, and consumer use. During WWII, stud welding was again relied upon for shipbuilding, but also expanded as a manufacturing operation to the fabrication of other vehicles, containers, electrical systems, and more. With advancements in electrical technology, material design and processing, and automated systems since the end of WWII, stud weld fastening systems can be used to install connection points as thin as a 10-gauge pin to as thick as a 1” diameter shear connector stud. Whether you’re working small or large, you can find all the supplies you need with Northland Fastening Systems. Not only do we offer tools, studs, and accessories; we also provide repairs and the expert advice of our own welding technicians.

Fastening Systems

Although stud fastening systems have spread to so many industries today, those operations are still used frequently in the shipbuilding industry to manufacture a broad range of vessels. In addition to freighters, large military ships, and commercial liners, stud welding is also used in the production of small boats.

The US Office of Marine & Aviation Operations classifies small boats into five categories by length, weight, and usage. Those categories include:

Class A:

Boats that are shorter than 16 feet long overall fall into the Class A category. This generally includes small motorboats, daysailers and other small sailboats, dinghies, transport boats, and small fishing vessels.

Class I:

Vessels between 16 and 26 feet long are considered Class I boats. This can include boats with small sleeping cockpits like short haul fishers, camping cruisers, small racers, park ranger vessels, and small speedboats.

Class II:

Similar to Class I, Class II vessels include slightly longer haul fishers, longer distance racing sailboats, multi-bed cockpit sailers, and other fast motorboats. Class II vessels are between 26 to 40 feet long, so small cruise ships, yachts, and science vessels can be rated within that range.

Class III:

Class III vessels are between 40 and 65 feet long, generally including larger fishing operations, tugboats, small industrial crafts, ferries and other transport, grander yachts, police and fire department cruisers, and historical ships.

Small Research Vessels:

These vessels may be larger than 65 feet in length, but no heavier than 300 gross tons. SRV are used in short-term research projects or in close vicinity to labs and testing centers.

In today’s world, many small vessels and ships are manufactured with stud fastening systems. To learn more, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770, or request a quote online today.

Stud Weld Fastening Systems Tips and Tricks

When performed with accurate calibration on a correctly prepared surface, stud welding is one of the strongest fastening systems available to manufacturers. A finished stud weld will be stronger than the stud and the surface material put together, which means the connection will never fail before the other components. This makes it a safer and more reliable system for fasteners, composite building, and more. If you’re working with drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), or short cycle stud welding operations, Northland Fastening Systems is your one-stop-shop for supplies, repair services, and advice. We offer tools for rent or purchase, welding studs in a complete range of dimensions, custom stud sizing and material options, welding accessories, a repair and maintenance service program, and the guidance of our own knowledgeable welding technicians.

 Tips and Advice for Proper Stud Welding

Stud welding can be a rapid, easy operation, but there are many steps that need to be taken to prepare a weld surface, tool, and stud. NFS technicians can always offer in-depth advice to customers about their tools, materials, stud sizes, and more, but there are many tips and tricks that can answer frequently asked questions and generally get you started. These following tips for fastening systems are standards almost all welders should follow for quality results:

  • Ensure you have adequate power for your tool
  • Power sources should be consistent to prevent heat fluctuations
  • Ground connections should be attached to a clean section of the welding surface
  • Cables should be well-maintained and long enough to reach weld sites safely, but still as short as possible to prevent tripping and other incidents
  • Contaminants like rust, paint, moisture, dirt, and air gaps will affect weld quality
  • Successful welds require an exact relationship between lift, plunge, time, and current
  • Ceramic ferrules used in drawn arc stud welding must be dry
  • Water/ice should be removed from the top flanges of studs before welding
  • Temperatures of welding materials should be above 0º F
  • Studs and welding surfaces should be rust-free
  • Ensure you are holding the welding gun at the correct angle while firmly maintaining the tip against the weld surface
  • When you pull the gun trigger, keep your hands steady and still during the weld
  • Always learn your tool and refer to its instruction manual before any welding project for recommended current calibration and welding times
  • Follow recommended maintenance procedures for your welding guns, cables, and other tool components
  • Perform bend tests on several of your first welds to ensure your connection points are properly fusing

For Advice and Supplies, Give Us a Call Today!

There are many other aspects of a welding scenario, steps that should be taken to prepare a weld, and other factors of your weld site you should take into account before launching into a project, but these are some general tips to adhere to. To learn more about stud weld fastening systems and our supplies, contact Northland Fastening Systems at (651) 730-7770. Request a quote online to get started with us today.

NFS Has Been a Family-Owned Supplier of Stud Fastening Systems Supplies since 1987

In 1987, Ken Gobout founded Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) after leaving a job in sales. NFS is based in Woodbury, MN, and supplies tools, studs, and welding accessories to a range of industries.​​ Since the late 1980s, the stud welding industry has changed in various ways, including the customers, facilities, equipment, and practices. The constant for Ken and his two sons, Jason and Brent, has always been the value of trustworthy business operations. Jason is now the president of the company, while Brent oversees all NFS sales. Thanks to their participation in the business over the years, Ken is now semi-retired after fully transitioning ownership to his sons. Today, NFS is known for going the extra mile for customers: providing high-quality, reliable services and having great customer service. If you are in need of fastening systems supplies, NFS is your one-stop shop for drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle welding tools, studs, and accessories.

Welding Accessories

In addition to tools available for rent or purchase, welding studs in a complete range of standard dimensions, custom stud options available, and many welding accessories, NFS also provides tool repairs and offers customers the advice of our own welding experts. We have over 30 years of experience repairing and servicing tools of all ages. Our team has seen the advancements of stud welding technology over time and is well versed with generational variations and current models.

Our team repairs and services models from major fastening systems brands, including HBS, Tru-Weld, ProWeld, ERICO, AGM, MFI, NOVA, Cutlass, Nelson, and tension control tools.

Customer First Approach

NFS implements a customer-first approach in all our operations, sales, and quality control practices. Our business thrives today because we have grown with community-focused ideals and neighborly values. NFS customers return to us for the trusted familiarity and support they receive, whether they are looking to resupply on their “usual” studs or want detailed information on a tool rental.

Fastening Systems

Our customer base ranges from professionals working with fully automated systems to do-it-yourself (DIY) welders just getting started. No matter what level you’re working on, our staff and welding technicians are eager to provide any advice and guidance you might need. While about 80% of our business came from the construction industry when we started in 1987, today 80% of our business comes from the industrial market and 20% comes from construction. This means we work with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other customers around the world, but we’re also here to support our local welders in Minnesota and the greater Midwest region.

Stud Welding

NFS values stud welding because it’s a highly important manufacturing operation for many industries. It provides a rapid, strong connection point with no backside marking, and it’s compatible with many different metals. Composite building with shear connectors is also critical for infrastructure like roads and bridges.

To learn more about using stud welding fastening systems and our work as a family-owned company, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770. You can also request a quote online to get started with us today.

Ideal Stud Welding Machine for Low Power Access

Stud welding operations are used today in many applications, on and off job sites. Because of the range in locales that stud welding is performed, there are a variety of different machines that meet portability, electrical specificity, weld capacity, and material needs. While facilities can house fully automated stud welding systems that churn out hundreds of precise welds per minute, welding technicians in the field rely on their expertise and their specialized tools to get the job done. If you’re working with stud welding in any capacity, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) offers a complete range of welding tools for rent or purchase, studs for drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle welding, and welding accessories. While we offer equipment that can be integrated into an automated production line, we also have machines for off-site welding jobs when portability and easy setup is most important. Our HBS VISAR 650, for example, is an excellent stud welding machine for times when technicians only have access to low power electrical sources.

Stud Welding Machine

The VISAR 650 is a small, efficient machine for drawn arc welding with ceramic ferrules. It can handle mild and stainless steel studs. It has a welding current maximum of 650 A and a minimum of 100 A. Because it can perform these welding with only 100-240 V, single-phase power sources, it’s an ideal stud welding machine for working on multiple job sites that have the electrical setups of typical residential and commercial properties. The primary plug of the VISAR 650 is also a standard electrical two-prong grounded safety plug that fits universally into outlets.


For stud welding on projects in the field, the VISAR 650 has two main benefits for technicians working on different job sites:

  1. The VISAR 650 is simple. It’s a tool that’s easy to learn, quick to set up, and simple to carry from site to site. Its intuitive operation makes it the perfect tool for welders that are trained in many different construction technologies or for welders who only use stud welding processes for specific building requirements. It also has a quick storage system for tidying the tool cable built into the machine handle.
  2. The VISAR 650 is also robust. It has a fully enclosed housing with no air vents, giving it a rating of IP44. An IP44 rating keeps the machine from exposure to solid particulates bigger than 1mm in diameter, and water or other liquids splashing from all directions. This means it has rigorous protection from work site dust, in addition to dirt and inclement weather. The enclosed housing, or casing, is also an effective protection from accidental bumps that frequently occur as tools, building materials, and workers move through an active site. The VISAR 650 has a solid base and side panels that raise the bulk of the machine from the resting surface.

To learn more about our stud welding machine supplies, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online to get started with us today.

Building with Structural Steel Welding and Sheet Metal

When you look around your world, it’s highly likely your eyes will fall on something manufactured with stud welding. Whether it was built relying on the composite construction of shear connectors, steel, and concrete (such as bridges and roads), or with threaded fasteners or food-grade welding (such as automobiles and kitchen appliances). There are thousands of applications of stud welding that build the objects, structures, and tools we interact with on a daily basis. For any type of stud welding operation, including drawn arc, capacitor discharge (CD), and short cycle, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) supplies a comprehensive selection of welding tools for rent or purchase, studs in varying dimensions, custom stud options, and welding accessories. If you’re working with sheet metal or fabricating with structural steel welding, we have the supplies you need to get the job done.

Structural Steel Welding

The structural steel welding and sheet metal industries are just some of the many sectors NFS provides with a complete range of supplies. Both structural steel and sheet metal are important materials in their own ways, but they are often used in very different applications.

Composite Construction:

Structural steel, such as beams, girders, columns, tubes, and other extruded parts, are more commonly used in composite constructions. Structural steel has a high load-bearing capacity, relatively high thermal resistance, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance. This makes structural steel ideal for heavy-duty manufacturing. In fact, most multistory buildings, like skyscrapers, rely on structural steel for their height. When combined with stud welded shear connectors, structural steel can also be attached to concrete slabs. This composite type of construction and other composite builds using studs or shear connectors is used in building bridges, roads, high-rise building floors, airport runways, and much more. With shear connector studs, steel and concrete composites have proven to be one of the safest and longest lasting applications for large-scale structures.

Cosmetic Construction:

Sheet metal, on the other hand, is more commonly used to create sleek, cosmetically desirable finishes. While sheet metals are used in structural fabrication in many instances, it’s often thinner, more flexible, and less suited to heavy-duty building. However, because studs can be welded onto even very thin sheet metal without leaving a mark on the opposite side of the weld surface, it’s ideal for creating clean designs that are attached with strong connection points. Sheet metal stud welding is used cosmetically in many applications, such as building exteriors, vehicles, appliances, electrical enclosures, ships, water towers, and more.

In both of its respective applications, with structural steel and sheet metal, stud welding will save time and money while also performing extremely strong and durable fastening systems.

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