From tools as simple as a nail and hammer to as complex as an industrial-grade adhesive, many parts attach systems together. The right attachment method depends on the materials used, function of the assembly, operational stress, and aesthetic finish. When it comes to attaching metals together or to other materials, several techniques are available to manufacturers. One common application of metal fastening systems is welding. Different kinds of welding have been around for thousands of years, with rudimentary forge welding dating back to the Iron Age around 1200 BCE. Today, there are four main types of welding with multiple subtypes in those categories. Stud welding is one type of welding operation that was developed in the early 1900s for the shipbuilding industry. If you are working with stud welding, Northland Fastening Systems (NFS) has a comprehensive supply of studs and welding accessories as well as tools for rent or purchase, and our repair services to help you get the job done.
Unlike the commonly used tungsten inert gas (TIG), metal inert gas (MIG), and stick welding, which are used to connect metals along a linear path, stud welding operations are unique formats that connect metals at a point. As far as fastening systems go for attaching metals, we consider stud welding to be the superior operation for a variety of reasons.
For a full picture of why we like stud welding better than other operations that could be used in its place, we’ll take a look at those options.
Drilling and tapping:
This combo operation creates an insert for a fastener that can then be drilled into the surface material and secured with a bolt. While effective in many cases, drilling and tapping is a slow process. It also requires a lengthier stud, and can only be used in cases when the parent material is thick and doesn’t have a backside.
To install a metal backed insert, the parent material needs to be punched and deburred, which can weaken it. Inserts can also work loose over time, and they tend to crack paint and stain surfaces. Additionally, the backside of the parent material can be bent outward or otherwise warped.
Back welding installs fasters by welding on the reverse side of the parent material while the stud is held in place. This significantly alters the backside of a surface unless the excess weld is ground down. This entire process is slow and weakens the parent material.
Through bolting is effective, but requires access to the backside of the parent material for two-handed installation. Bolt heads can also stain surfaces, weaken the parent material, and create an unsealed leak point.
Welding as a fastening Systems
Consequently, stud welding is the best system because it’s a strong connector, it doesn’t weaken the parent material, it can be done in a single step, it leaves a mark-free reverse side, and it’s a fully sealed connection point.