Arc Stud Welding or Stud Welding is a reliable and efficient welding process employed for joining metal components together. Manufacturers, fabricators, and repair technicians alike incredibly use this technique. In this article, take a look at arc stud welding basics, advantages, disadvantages, tools and materials required, best practices for an arc stud welder, and a comprehensive overview of the process. The information will impart a good understanding of how stud welding works and how it can benefit your business.
- Arc Stud Welding Definition
- Arc Stud Welding Principle
- Arc Stud Welding Equipment
- Stud Welding Process Types
- Arc Stud Welding Advantages
- Arc Stud Welding Disadvantages
- Stud Welding Job Types
- Stud Welder Salary Trends
What is Arc Stud Welding?
Arc stud welding is a specialized welding process. It uses an electric arc to join metal components together. Industrial and construction applications often use it because it can securely and quickly attach fasteners (screws, nuts, bolts) to metal surfaces.
The stud process starts by placing the fastener on the surface of the metal, then a current is applied through a welding cable. Next, this creates an electric arc between the fastener and the workpiece. As a result, heat is generated and melts the metal around the fastener. This creates a strong bond between the two pieces, looks like they are joined mechanically. Arc stud welding is considered one of the strongest joining methods available.
The most common stud welding techniques are drawn arc stud welding, short arc stud welding, and gas arc stud welding.
Arc Stud Welding Principle
Arc stud welding is a popular method of attaching metal components together in a very short amount of time.
After making all the settings, the welder applies a DC current to a special electrode called an arc stud. It creates an electric arc between the stud and the base material. Further, as the arc melts the base material, it forms a molten pool around the arc stud. A strong magnetic field is generated at the same time. It draws the arc stud into the molten pool and forces it to bond to the base material. This imparts an extremely strong weld and is resistant to shock and vibration, making it suitable for use in a variety of applications in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and construction.
Arc Stud Welding Equipment
Stud Welding is used to attaching metal studs, screws, and other fasteners with speed, accuracy, and a clean finish. The process consists of the following equipment.
1. Power Source
The power supply unit is a machine to impart DC current to the process. It creates an electric arc that is used to fuse the two pieces of metal. The power source has adjustable settings for current and voltage depending on the application. The power supply and controller are combined in most systems as one component.
2. Weld Gun
This is a unit for holding studs and welds it. Guns may be of light, medium, and heavy duties.
It ties the system components and base metal together for giving smooth the functioning of the welding operation.
4. Weld Stud
Weld studs are metal parts to be stud welded to substrates made of similar metal. They are either cold-formed or CNC machined. Studs come in different diameters from .100” (4mm) up to 1” (25mm) and lengths from .25” (6mm) and up. Take a look at them.
i) Capacitor-Discharge Weld Studs consist of threaded, unthreaded, tapped, collar, and internally threaded.
ii) Drawn Arc Weld Studs consist of collar studs, full base, full thread, no thread, partial thread, and reduced base.
iii) Construction Weld Studs consist of headed anchors, shear connectors, and deformed bar anchors.
Overall, the stud welding process needs many pieces of equipment for completing the welding job.
Stud Welding Process Types
There are generally two types i.e., Arc Stud Welding Process and CD Stud Welding Process. Take a look at that how they both work.
i) Arc Stud Welding Process
Step 1 – A ceramic ferrule and fastener are firmly placed against the work surface under spring tension in the stud welding gun.
Step 2 – After triggering, the weld gun automatically lifts the fastener from the base metal and initiates a controlled electric arc. It melts the end of the stud fastener and a portion of the base metal.
Step 3 – A ceramic arc shield concentrates the heat and retains the molten material in the weld area for maximum weld strength and reliability.
Step 4 – At the precise moment the fastener and the parent metal become molten. Automatically, the fastener is plunged into the work surface by the stud welding gun. Then, the metal solidifies and a fusion weld is completed.
ii) CD Stud Welding Process
Step 1 – Initially, the fastener is placed against the workpiece. Most CD studs have a special tip. It provides precise weld-time control for consistent and automatic welds.
Step 2 – Activate the weld gun and discharge stored energy through the fastener melting the full diameter of its base and a portion of the parent material.
Step 3 – Spring-loading forces the fastener into the molten metal.
Step 4 – The fastener is held in place as the molten metal solidifies and imparts a high-quality fusion weld.
Advantages of Arc Stud Welding
Arc stud welding offers several advantages over traditional welding methods. The following are some of the primary advantages of stud welding-
1. Durable Welds
Arc stud welding imparts durable welding joints and makes them ideal for long-term use in harsh environments. The stud welds resist corrosion and are resistant to shock and vibration.
2. High Speed
This is a quick process that allows high-speed production compared to that of other welding methods. It can significantly reduce cycle times.
3. Cost-Saving Process
Arc stud welding can save money and time on a project. More candidly, the cost savings are especially pronounced in large-scale projects.
4. Strong Weld Joints
Stud welding provides strong metal bonds and produces more consistent results than other welding methods. The strong and reliable welded joints make it ideal for applications requiring superior strength.
5. Versatility (all metal types)
The usage suitability of stud welding is wider. It can be applied to many types of materials, including stainless steel, steel, aluminum, and other metals.
6. Single-sided Welds
Arc stud welding is performed single-sided. It means, the process does not require access to the other side of the workpiece.
7. Need Little Training
The stud welding process requires no special skills and only a little training is enough to install.
8. Cosmetically Superior
As the welding process is single-sided, it does not leave any sign of burns or dimples on the reverse side.
9. No Secondary Operations
The process does not require any drill/tap holes, polish/grind surface metal, no rivet heads, bolts, nuts, or washers. Thus, it eliminates any associated equipment o secondary operations.
10. One-Man Operation
A single worker can operate stud welding whether there is portable stud welder equipment or an elaborate piece of production equipment.
Arc Stud Welding Disadvantages
Despite many benefits, arc stud welding has some disadvantages as well just like any other welding process. The following are some of the drawbacks.
1. High Equipment Cost
The equipment of stud welding is more costly than other welding methods equipment. Besides this, the cost of supplies can also be high especially if you need to purchase new electrodes. That’s why some welders do not think stud welding is an attractive option.
2. Potentially Time-Consuming
Stud welding may be a more time-consuming process than other methods. As a precise process, it requires careful attention and practice to master. Also, it often needs to use specialized jigs and fixtures.
3. Sudden Heat/Sparks
There may be a safety issue as stud welding produces a lot of heat and sparks at once. So, it makes necessary to wear protective gear (PPE) such as eye protection, gloves, jackets, ear studs, etc.
Stud Welding Industries Types
The wide variety of industries are as follows-
- Aerospace Industry
- Appliances Industry
- Automotive Industry
- Construction Industry
- Electronics Industry
- Forging Process Industry
- Insulation Installation Industry
- Light/Heavy-Duty Equipment Industry
- Offshore Industry
- Petrochemical Industry
- Shipbuilding Industry
- Signs/Decorative Trim Industry
- Toys Industry
- Transportation Industry
- Utilities Metalworking Industry
Stud Welding Job Types
The job titles are as follows-
- Marine Welder
- Stud Welder
- Shop Welder
- Fabrication Welder
Stud Welder Salary Trends
The average base salary of a stud welder is $44,523 annually in the United States. They earn $20.91 hourly and $3,152 monthly. Normally, welders with more work experience, certification, and well schooling fetch more salary than others. The highest hourly paying cities for arc stud welders in the United States are Midland ($24.52), Denver ($24.22), Phoenix ($22.80), and Grand Rapids ($22.77).
Arc stud welding is a good option for various industries for fast working and production. The process has both advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, it may be more expensive and time-consuming than other welding techniques. But it provides strong and durable weld joints. Welders should weigh all the factors before deciding to go further with the welding types the particular project requires. Thus, the above information on stud welding is multi-beneficial for various professionals working in the metal industry.
Related: Other Welding Types