Part 2: Attaching Welding Studs to Advanced High-Strength Steel Automotive Surfaces

Part 1 of this two-part blog series covers the development of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), also known as automotive steel, and the first-generation AHSS categories, which includes a brief description of first-generation ferrite and martensite-based steels such as DP, MS, CP, and TRIP steels. In Part 2, we  cover second-generation steels and the use of AHSS in the automotive industry. Since the beginning of AHSS development in the 1990s, these materials have slowly begun to replace various steel and aluminum components in multiple vehicles. In many instances, AHSS offers a higher crash resistance than aluminum and is lighter than other steels, making vehicles both safer and more efficient. As with aluminum and any other steel parts, many AHSS components of modern vehicles are constructed with stud weld fastening systems. Stud welding is a mainstay in automotive manufacturing. Not only does it provide a powerful, clean connection point that can be quickly installed, it’s also cost-effective, leak-proof, and only requires access to one side of a work surface. At Northland Fastening Systems (NFS), we work with multiple customers in the automotive industry to supply welding studs, accessories, and other equipment.

Welding Studs

Fastening welding studs to AHSS surfaces requires an understanding of the correct stud materials and dimensions, as well as tool and power calibration, but it can easily be done. Many manufacturers working with AHSS have quickly transitioned their stud welding technicians to these newer materials.

AHSS Material

The second generation of AHSS materials are based on austenitic microstructures. Current second-generation high-strength steels include:

  • TWIP steel: Twinning-induced plasticity (TWIP) steel has excellent mechanical properties at room temperatures. It is highly resistant to corrosion with outstanding strength and energy absorption greater than twice the ability of previously used steels.
  • L-IP steel: Lightweight with induced plasticity (L-IP) steel is a lighter version of other TWIP steels. They are high-manganese alloys that have high-impact resistance and stretch, forming properties ideal for automotive parts.
  • SIP steel: Shear band formation-induced plasticity (SIP) steel is another material based on TWIP alloys. When shear band force is applied to SIP steel, structures are actually strengthened in the austenitic matrix.

AHSS in Welding Studs

Both first- and second- generation AHSS types are utilized in the manufacturing of vehicles ranging from daily drivers to public transportation. Not only are these steels stronger than conventional steels and aluminum, they are also lighter, more sustainable, and even more affordable than previously used materials. These steels are utilized in modern vehicle parts that will absorb shear force, high-energy resonance, shock, load bearing, and many other critical components.

If you’re working with AHSS in the automotive industry, or any other application such as aircraft, shipbuilding, or general manufacturing, stud welding is likely one of your primary fastening systems. For more information about our supply of welding studs and other equipment, contact NFS at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online.