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When Should I Use Stud Welding?

Stud welding is the technology of joining metal studs of all different sizes and applications to substrates made of a similar metal using a high current arc of electricity. This arc produces enough heat to melt the fastener base and the mating substrate. Once a molten pool forms, the fastener is then plunged into the pool, causing the current to stop and the molten metal to re-solidify so that both parts are joined by an even stronger weld.

Stud welding is well-favored partly due to the speed at which it can be carried out. Stud welding times range from .006 to 1.25 seconds depending on the size of the fastener. The speed, however, does not impact the reliability or strength of the resulting joints. In fact, the weld is actually stronger than either the stud or its mating substrate. Unlike bolts with a peripheral weld or “clinch” fasteners that are pressed in place, stud welds create fully cross-sectional welds that achieve relatively higher strengths.

Stud welding is used in all metalworking industries. Since it is a single-side fastening process, it is perfect for cosmetic applications requiring fasteners, including ATM machines, elevator buttons, and cooktops.

The Nature Of Stud Welding

There are two different types of stud welding: arc stud welding, which is typically used to join large fasteners to a rather substantial metal base, and capacitor discharge (CD) welding, which is generally used to join small fasteners to thinner metal sheets. Fasteners utilized in stud welding vary in shapes and sizes, some of which resemble conventional nuts, studs, or bolts. However, unlike standard fasteners, the ends of these pieces are designed for arc stud or CD welding purposes.

Fasteners designed for CD welding have flat collars on the ends with tips that intentionally vaporize once electrical current is applied, enabling strong welds. Fasteners used in arc welding utilize an aluminum flux ball embedded into the welded end, which mitigates the oxidation while the metal is molten to help facilitate a cleaner, stronger bond.

To perform a CD weld, you begin by loading its unique fastener into the welding gun and placing it against metal. The welder will then start the gun, thus sending an electrical current to the metal piece and fastener, creating heat. This heat then melts the metal piece as well as the tip and collar of the fastener. A spring within the gun then joins the fastener with the metal piece, causing them to fuse together as they cool.

Arc stud welding joins fasteners and pieces of metal that are too big for CD welding. Similar to CD welding, an arc stud will get loaded onto a welding gun, but before being joined together, that spot is encompassed by a ceramic ring or ferrule. This ferrule encases the heat produced by the weld, stopping the metal around the weld from melting. The welder will then start the gun, emitting an electrical current that melts the stud tip and base metal inside the ferrule, causing the fastener and base metal to join. Once the metals cool and the fusion is achieved, the ferrule will often chip away.

The Uses and Applications of Stud Welding

An extensive range of equipment and accessories are available to solve customer-specific tasks. Stud welding ranges from use in mechanical manufacturing and electrical equipment industries. Below are common scenarios in which stud welding is useful:

Transport Vehicles

Commercial trucks and vehicles depend on stud welding for smoother processes and overall preventative and safety measures. Stud welding secures electrical fuel and hydraulic lines, components, body trim, and more without running the risk of rust or other issues.

Civil Construction

Construction projects require a great amount of precision and execution. Stud welding plays an important role in nearly every aspect of many civil construction projects.

Compact Agriculture and Construction Machinery

OEMs and manufacturers that produce compact agriculture or compact construction machinery require heavy-duty weld studs and equipment. Stud welding can help organizations save time and money by streamlining processes and ensuring reliability.

Cylinder Manufacturing

Hydraulic cylinder manufacturing requires exact specifications from suppliers, plus durable welding and attention to detail. Proprietary port welding delivers smaller heat-affected zones than typical processes, so tubes don’t distort or ‘egg,’ eliminating the need for expensive honing operations.

Electrical Equipment and Enclosures

Businesses across the electric power industry have unique and demanding weld stud needs. Arc stud welding is a practical method for attaching fasteners to electrical equipment and enclosures.

Food Service Equipment

Quality and craftsmanship are essential for producing reliable products and equipment for the food service industry. Food-grade equipment depends on welding processes that are executed through repeatable techniques.

Industrial Fabrication

From ducting services to tanks and piping, metal fabrication is a critical step in manufacturing quality finished parts. Quality stud welding products are essential for the assembly and maintenance of industrial and architectural structures.

Nuclear Power Construction

As the demand for nuclear power continues, so does the demand for dependable stud welding solutions. Due to the monitoring and minute specifications of the equipment utilized in the nuclear power industry, it’s imperative to have targeted welding processes.


Welders are a necessity in the shipbuilding industry, and shipbuilding manufacturers need stud welding products that can be quickly fastened but have the durability to last as long as the ship is seaworthy.

Streamlined Solutions With Stud Welding

In today’s manufacturing environment, labor costs are often the highest cost component of an assembly. If an application uses drilling and through-hole bolting or uses drilling and tapping, then stud welding would represent significant cost savings. Further, stud welding can be automated, as fasteners have the ability to be automatically fed to the weld head. The weld head can be mounted robotically or with handheld tools. Either way, speeds of 30 fasteners per minute are possible.

Whether you’re focused on aesthetics, strength, tamper resistance, accessibility, or speed, stud welding may be a solution for your application. Explore the Image Industries stud welding section to learn more and find the products and tools you need for your project!

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