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Shear Strength and Welding: What You Need to Know

18 December, 23 9:07 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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There’s no such thing as a perfect weld. Different kinds of welding and joints have different material properties.

Take, for example, a situation where you have two square tubes of steel, and you need to join them at a right angle. Do you:

  • Put one flat end against the perpendicular surface of the other in a T joint.
  • Put one next to the other and weld to the side?
  • Adhere studs, drill holes, and use stud welding?
  • Grind the ends into a 45-degree miter.
  • Do you bevel the edges into a groove weld, or do you use a fillet weld on the surface?

Different means of attaching the materials to one another will have different properties and different strengths. Some will be better against twisting tension; others will be better against horizontal shear.

Shear strength is one of the most important kinds of strength for a weld to possess. In fact, since the shear force is the one most likely to break a weld joint – it’s the kind of stress welds are weakest – it’s an incredibly important consideration.

So, what exactly is shear strength in terms of welding, how can you calculate it, and how can you account for it in your welding?

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TIG Welding Stainless Steel: Best Practices and Common Pitfalls

17 November, 23 1:37 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Stainless steel is a very useful material, and as such, it’s used in a wide range of different applications. These days, you can find it anywhere from medical tools and appliances to food service to construction and the aerospace industry. Many of these applications need to take disparate pieces and connect them together without gaps or chemical contaminants like glue, and that means one thing: welding.

Stainless steel can be joined with many different welding processes. However, usually, the most effective process for strong, comprehensive, and robust welds is TIG. When TIG welding stainless steel, there are several unique challenges and pitfalls that you need to avoid. What are they, and how can you make the most out of your stainless welding jobs?

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The Fine Art of Fusion: Exploring TIG Welding Without Filler Metal

09 November, 23 9:36 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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TIG, or Tungsten Inert Gas, is a kind of welding using non-consumable tungsten electrodes, a shielding gas like argon or helium, and a filler rod to melt into a weld pool for deep, thick, robust welds. The resulting joints are strong and, when done properly, can be very even, level, and even beautiful. One thing that many people don’t know – or discover on their own in a moment of desperation – is that TIG can be performed without a filler rod at all.

What is a TIG without a filler rod? How does it work, what are the pros and cons, and should you learn how to do it? Let’s talk about it.

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The Environmental Impact: Sustainable Welding Practices in Industry

26 October, 23 9:25 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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At first glance, the environmental impact of welding might not seem like a significant concern. At its core, you’re using electricity to generate heat to melt and fuse metals together; where is the environmental impact?

At closer examination, there are many ways that welding can impact the environment.

  • The process of welding generates metal fumes, both from the metals being welded, from the fillers being used, and from the fluxes or shielding gasses being used. These fumes, released into the environment, can lead to poisoning the air, land, and water, as well as people or animals in the area.
  • The electricity used in welding has to come from somewhere. As a very energy-intensive process, any steps taken to reduce energy consumption or make welding more energy-efficient can be beneficial to the environment, even if it is many steps removed from the generation of that energy.
  • Welding has many consumables, many of which have debris or remains that are simply discarded as waste.

This only scratches the surface; a comprehensive analysis of welding processes shows a wide range of potential environmental contaminants and impacts across the industry.

Two things are undeniable.

Welding can be hugely damaging to the local and global environment.

Welding is absolutely essential to modern life.

As long as welding is necessary for the manufacture of modern necessities, it can’t be abandoned. Therefore, anyone using welding should take any steps they can to minimize their environmental impact. The question is, how? There are many options, so let’s discuss them.

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Tips for Mechanical Contractors: Choosing the Right Welding Equipment for Your Projects

18 October, 23 1:41 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Mechanical contractors weld everything from HVAC sheet metal to process piping and pressure vessels. Welding mechanical equipment and piping systems requires the utmost precision and quality to meet code requirements and client expectations. At the same time, contractors must be highly efficient and productive to stay competitive and improve their bottom line.

This article will help you choose the best welding and cutting equipment for your mechanical contracting projects. With the right gear, you can be more productive and achieve exceptional results for your clients.

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The Future of Welding Automation

11 October, 23 11:00 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Welding automation can help offset the skilled welder shortage while improving both productivity and safety. While some welding jobs can be completely automated, that’s often not the case for many tasks. However, as welding automation systems are rapidly improving, and becoming more commonly used, we will likely see welding automation ingrained in everyday welding tasks, even in small welding shops.

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of welding automation and how your business could benefit from automation solutions, including cobotic welding.

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SEMA Show 2023: Connecting with the Automotive Industry

10 October, 23 2:13 pm · Leave a comment · Glorious Hightower
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The SEMA Show takes place from October 31 to November 3, 2023 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. The annual event is a trade-only event and is the premier trade show for automotive specialty equipment manufacturers to exhibit alongside automotive manufacturers and debut new, innovative products while connecting with industry buyers from all over the world.

The show brings in more than 150,000 attendees, including over 70,000 buyers, and encompasses educational seminars, networking events and attractions that highlight industry trends, such as, live demonstrations and hands-on workshops over a four-day period.

If you’re looking to connect with automotive enthusiasts and professionals who have the fingers on the pulse of the latest advancements in the industry, the SEMA Show is where you want to be.

Come See Red-D-Arc at the SEMA Show

Red-D-Arc is a leader in welding and weld automation equipment solutions. With more than 70 locations in the United States, Canada and Europe plus a strong dealer network, our products and services are used in a variety of industries.

The Red-D-Arc team will be in the Airgas Exhibit #31209 (located in South Hall Upper) at SEMA Show 2023. We’ll be showcasing our latest BotX™ cobot welding system, BotX XSR, and answering all of your questions about cobotic welding. The system will also be featured in the New Product Showcase in the North Hall in the Collision and Repair section.

Come check out BotX and learn more about how you can increase productivity in your shop without making a capital investment using our flexible options to rent or lease a system. BotX is also available for purchase, so you can choose the best solution for your business needs.

Can’t make it to the SEMA Show, but want to learn more about BotX? Visit BotXWelder.com for more details and to contact an expert.

BotX™ Helps JJJ Container Services Address the Skilled Welder Shortage

04 October, 23 8:51 am · Leave a comment · Glorious Hightower
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Wondering how the BotX™ cobot welding system can benefit your business? We sat down with Jeff Lanthier, President of JJJ Container Services, to talk to him about the impact that using BotX has had on his business. After struggling with labor shortage, welding quality and consistency, and an existing robotic solution that was too difficult to program, Jeff decided to give BotX a try. In just a few hours after having the system installed, his team was already running parts, and over time, has seen an 2-3x increase in production.

Although Jeff was initially skeptical about BotX and questioned whether it would be able to meet his long-term needs, he had the opportunity to try it without making a capital investment through Red-D-Arc’s lease program. BotX has been in place at JJJ Container Services for nearly two years and Jeff has been pleased with the results, reporting that the system has “met and beat all of my expectations.” He plans to expand his use of the system by adding more units in the future.

Watch the video to hear the full story about all of the benefits that BotX has delivered to JJJ Container Services.

For more information about the BotX cobot welding system and to connect with an expert, visit BotXWelder.com.

The Official Guide to Different Welding Processes

30 August, 23 2:42 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Since the discovery of metal ores in ancient times, mankind has continuously tried to expand the productivity and quality of the welding and casting processes. As a result, welding can be performed using countless methods: some versatile, some specialized, some common today, and others obsolete.

In this guide, we will be discussing some of the commonly used welding processes and some of the more obscure ones. Knowing the different types of welding processes and how to weld with different types of materials is essential to getting any job done– no matter what the circumstances and tools are available. For this guide, we have arranged all terms alphabetically so you can easily find the welding process you are looking for.
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FABTECH 2023: Driving Manufacturing Forward

15 August, 23 10:08 am · Leave a comment · Glorious Hightower
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FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event and will take place from September 11 to 14, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

FABTECH provides a convenient place for manufacturers, suppliers, educators and other industry professionals to discover innovative solutions and find the tools to improve productivity and increase profits.

This is the place to be for expanding your knowledge, networking and exploring the latest technology while finding out more about the latest industry trends.

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Stud Welding in the Shipbuilding Industry

07 August, 23 10:01 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Stud Welding in the Shipbuilding Industry

Ships and vessels in the marine industry can have millions of fasteners, pins, and other stud types. So, stud welding is a highly applied process in the shipbuilding industry. 

Shipbuilders and maintenance crews can use our stud welder rentals to quickly and efficiently place fasteners when working on the ship frames, walls, bulkheads, and other vessel parts.

Introduction to Stud Welding in Shipbuilding

Shipbuilding relies on stud welding to connect different materials in various configurations. But, it’s the stud welding that’s crucial for applications where riveting is not an option. Stud welding allows making a weld that’s stronger than the stud itself without the need to drill the base metal or use overlapping pieces.

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Welding in the Oil and Gas Industry

03 May, 23 10:01 am · Leave a comment · Geoff Campbell
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Welding in the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry plays a very important role in the global energy supply as well as the world economy. Many technologies are crucial to the existence and functioning of this multi-billion dollar industry. One of these is welding.

The oil and gas industry utilizes various highly complex infrastructure such as rigs, pipelines, platforms, plants, and facilities. The majority of these infrastructures are created using welding technologies. Welding is critical in oil and gas operations both for the construction of new projects and for the maintenance of existing facilities.

Applications of Welding in Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry is divided into three major stages of operation. These, which can be referred to as sectors, are Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream. Welding is widely used across all these sectors and its applications can be classified accordingly.

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Offshore Welding Equipment Requirements

07 March, 23 10:59 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Offshore welding equipment requirements in the oil and gas industry are different from those of a small welding shop or a large fabrication line. When working on an offshore oil rig, you want safety, integrity, durability, reliability, and versatility as prime pillars of your welding equipment. 

Working with pressurized and flammable materials in an industry where every maintenance and repair interruption creates a profit bottleneck and poses a risk of devastating explosions, requires specialized equipment for all welding tasks.

Pipes and other critical infrastructure on the offshore rigs must be repaired quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, safely. And you cannot achieve this goal with subpar equipment. So, let’s discuss the offshore welding equipment requirements and see how you can benefit from proper equipment selection. 

Offshore Welding Conditions

It’s not an overstatement to say that environmental conditions on offshore rigs are brutal. Extreme weather, rough seas, corrosive sea water, and powerful winds require equipment that can reliably perform in the most adverse situations. In addition, welders working on offshore platforms have to repair and install platform elements in noisy, damp, and cramped conditions with extreme weather, making all metalworking tasks more challenging than in most other industries. 

Hurricanes and other extreme sea weather events are difficult, if not impossible, to predict. For example, Hurricane “Gustave” swept through the Gulf of Mexico in 2008, damaging more than 130 offshore platforms. Later that year, Hurricane “Ike” produced similar damage. Since it’s welders who repair the damage and keep rigs running smoothly, their personal protective equipment (PPE) and welding tools must be engineered to function even in challenging conditions.

Offshore Welding Equipment

The bulk of offshore welding equipment comes down to welding power sources, diesel generators, induction heating devices, fume extractors, PPE, welding consumables, filler materials, welding automation equipment, and shielding gas for arc welding processes. While you would generally see a similar list of welding equipment for most industries where welding is employed, offshore equipment must meet stringent requirements to perform reliably in harsh conditions.

Personal Protective Equipment

Welders on offshore rigs are at potential risk for electrical burns, eye damage from welding arc, health issues from toxic fumes and gases, exposure to dangerous levels of UV and IR radiation, physical injuries, frostbites, and develop hearing damage due to a noisy work environment. 

Offshore welding typically requires working with high-amperage welding machines in less-than-ideal conditions using a shielded metal arc welding process (SMAW). High amperage, coupled with an arc welding process that produces a lot of sparks and welding fumes, requires adequate PPE to combat arc eye injury, like a heavy-duty welding helmet with an appropriate DIN shading level, and fire-resistant welding apparel that can withstand molten slag and metal droplets. In addition, welding respirators may be necessary, along with a welding fume extraction system.

Welding Power Sources

MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, stick, and submerged arc welding power sources for offshore welding can have up to 1500 amps of welding power, be single-process or multi-process units, and work standalone or as a part of multi-operator packs. 

Welding on oil rigs means the power source might be exposed to corrosive salt water, harsh moisture-ridden winds, and possibly physical shocks, like bumps and tool hits. These machines must be built to withstand such an environment with rugged bodies made from heavy-gauge stainless steel. 

Diesel generators or diesel-powered welders must have extreme-duty protective enclosures to minimize saltwater intrusion. In addition, they should be fuel efficient and produce a low noise level to reduce workers’ distraction and hearing damage. Diesel-powered welders should have excellent cold-starting abilities because offshore platform temperatures can get extremely low. Another significant advantage of diesel-powered welders is the provided auxiliary power for tools, and this benefit is exceptionally useful during post-hurricane repairs.

Stick welding equipment should be equipped with a voltage reduction device (VRD) to prevent electrical shocks to welders. VRD reduces open circuit voltage (OCV) to safe levels before the welding arc is initiated, which minimizes the chances of welder electrocution in cramped, wet, and damp areas. 

Offshore rigs require welding everything from rails to heavy construction, pipes, and pressure vessels for barium sulfate and other compounds. The welds on offshore platforms have extremely stringent requirements, which means that the welding equipment must have impeccable arc quality and necessary features to maximize the weld integrity in every application.

Automated Welding Equipment

Automated welding solutions can significantly improve productivity, efficiency, and safety in the oil and gas industry. Weld automation bridges the skills gap and helps you deal with the skilled labor shortage while simultaneously improving your bottom line and weld quality. 

Employing automation equipment like welding positioners, manipulators, turning rolls, fit up bed tank rollers, welding cobots, automated submerged arc systems, and other welding automation equipment can drastically cut the production time for pressure vessels, pipes, and other critical elements of offshore oil and gas platforms. 

Some of the most critical automation solutions for offshore oil and gas extraction are automated pipe cladding systems. Offshore environments and subsea reservoirs are highly corrosive, and many of the extraction process failures are attributed to pipeline corrosion. The pipelines typically contain aggressive agents like organic acids, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, chlorides, sand, and other chemicals that cause steel pipe corrosion. However, the pipelines can last significantly longer when using automated cladding equipment to bond the corrosion-resistant alloys on the inside of the pipes used in an aggressive offshore environment.

Rent Or Lease From Red-D-Arc

The offshore oil and gas industry has an extensive range of welding needs. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to accurately predict the scope of welding equipment an offshore rig will need in any given year, especially when you account for hurricanes and other destructive natural events. 

Thankfully, welding is so versatile that you can join almost all elements on the oil and gas platforms as long as you have the right equipment. But, it doesn’t always make sense to buy fleets of advanced welding power sources and automation equipment. Instead, many welding businesses rely on rental equipment because it’s difficult to predict the hurricane season and the yearly oil and gas industry requirements.

By renting or leasing your welding equipment, you can scale in and out of the welding job and still keep your contract for the maintenance and repair of rigs and platforms. Red-D-Arc offers welder rentals and welding equipment fleet management services for many industries, and provides extreme-duty performance and reliability, even in the harshest environments.

Red-D-Arc experts have an in-depth understanding of materials, products, and specific job-type needs, and we stand ready to help you prepare for your next offshore season. Contact us today, and our team will work with you closely to develop and implement the solutions you need.

BotX™ Demo Days are Back

17 February, 23 1:45 pm · Leave a comment · Peter Germanese
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The Red-D-Arc team is excited to bring back BotX Demo Days. The demo day events give people who are curious about cobotic welding technology a chance to get an up-close look at what BotX can do. You’ll also have an opportunity for hands-on experience using the BotX collaborative welding robot so you can see for yourself how easy it is to set up and operate. We’re excited to partner with Airgas, an Air Liquide company, to bring these events to locations across the country.

BotX Demo Day events are currently being scheduled. Stay tuned for more details on upcoming events and follow us on social media for the latest updates on events near you. You can learn more about BotX here.

Want to talk to someone about the BotX collaborative robot now?

Reach out to your Red-D-Arc representative and ask to schedule a demo today.

1-866-980-3612

Dry Ice Blasting for Robotics, Weld Lines and Fixturing

17 February, 23 12:58 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc
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Weld spatter, resin, smoke, dampening adhesives, and other carbonized deposits pose continual challenges in fabrication, automotive, and manufacturing environments, gradually contaminating robots and surrounding production equipment. Without proper maintenance, these accumulations lead to misalignments, subpar welds, increased scrap rates, and decreased operational efficiencies. Enter dry ice blasting—a revolutionary cleaning solution perfectly suited for maintaining cleanliness in robotics, automated weld lines, fixturing, tooling, and intricate machinery requiring specialized care.

The various advantages of dry ice blasting include:

  • Minimized production downtime
  • Mold disassembly becomes unnecessary
  • Superior cleaning ability, even in hot and confined spaces
  • Elimination of waste disposal costs
  • Increased operational uptime
  • Non-abrasive, preserving the integrity of tooling
  • Environmentally responsible, leaving no harmful residue
  • Produces impeccable, as-cast finishes

Moreover, dry ice blasting offers a carbon-neutral, non-toxic alternative that aligns seamlessly with sustainability initiatives and proactive maintenance strategies.

In contrast, traditional manual cleaning methods pale in comparison:

  • Labor-intensive and time-consuming
  • Results in prolonged equipment downtime and revenue loss
  • Poses risks of equipment damage, jeopardizing asset longevity
  • Diverts skilled labor from more valuable tasks

Dry ice blasting revolutionizes cleaning and maintenance practices, enabling ‘clean-in-place’ capabilities, thereby eliminating the need for equipment disassembly or recalibration. Its non-abrasive nature ensures the safety of sensitive machine components, such as photo eyes and electricals, while mitigating misalignment-related performance issues. With only one operator required, dry ice blasting outperforms manual cleaning in terms of efficiency, safety, and efficacy.

The applications of dry ice blasting are extensive and adaptable, addressing cleaning needs across various equipment and components.

Common applications include:

  • Fixturing and tooling
  • Transfer cases and proximity switches
  • Electrical components and cabinets
  • Cabling and ancillary equipment
  • Weld tables, positioners and trunnion systems
  • and most other equipment or components that require cleaning

The Red-D-Arc team of dry ice blasting specialists are positioned nationwide and can tailor a turnkey rental solution that fits the needs of your next maintenance cleaning, deep clean, equipment refurbishment, or upcoming shutdown.

​​The Different Types of Stud Welder Systems and Stud Guns

13 January, 23 4:16 pm · Leave a comment · Peter Germanese
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In traditional welding, a complex process is used to join two pieces of material (typically metals) using electricity to create a powerful arc that melts those materials, and often a filler material, to join them into one piece.

Traditional arc welding has a lot of benefits but also some drawbacks. It typically leaves a visible lump of material where the base metals were melted and fused, and this can only be cleaned up so much without weakening the weld. It can also be slow for longer or more complex welds. In particular, the weld joint usually requires a lengthy cross-section to make a strong connection.

While this is all fine for many applications – and indeed, arc welding is commonly used in many industries – its drawbacks make it less than ideal for specific situations, specifically when you want to join something with a small profile to a work surface.  

Take, for example, the need to attach a bolt to a flat surface. The bolt has a small cross-section, and there’s no room for filler materials if appearances and tolerances are to be maintained.

What’s the solution? 

Stud welding.

What is Stud Welding?

Stud welding is the practice of joining two pieces of material in a weld, where one of those materials is a “stud.” A stud, or weld stud, is generally a fastener. The project requires that it be connected to the primary work surface or substrate without marring the surface or leaving unsightly or inconvenient weld beads.  

Stud welding uses a process to generate a current between the fastener and the base material, creating an arc between the two, near-instantly melting them and fusing them. No filler material is needed, only a little bit of pressure. 

One of the most significant advantages of stud welding is its ease of use. Stud welding is nearly an automatic process, similar to a nail gun or a staple gun. While safety protocols must be followed, there’s no need for a steady hand, knowledge of weld beads and patterns, or even concerns about the materials involved. Often, the individual using a stud welder is considered an operator, not a welder.

close up of a stud being welded to a metal substrate

Another significant advantage is the speed of welding. Welding traditionally around the base of a stud in a Tee Joint would be a long, slow process with a substantial risk of inconsistency or burn-through on thinner materials. 

A welding mount would help, especially if it has an auto-rotate function, but that’s not always available. Stud welding, by comparison, takes a fraction of a second to activate and fuse, dramatically speeding up the process. While the savings of half a second doesn’t seem like much, the time savings add up when you need to repeat this stud welding process dozens, hundreds, or thousands of times.

Stud welding is typically used in situations where traditional welding is insufficient or where the opposite surface of the stud cannot or should not be marred by the welding process. 

It’s fast, easy, and strong and can join different materials (like aluminum, brass, copper, and steel) to one another without needing filler material.

There are multiple different kinds of stud welding systems available and a range of stud guns to apply to those welding systems. Knowing the difference can help you choose the most useful for your projects.

Stud welding is used in many applications, from HVAC insulation to metal fabrication to bridge building. It is also commonly seen in fabricating electrical enclosures and switch cabinets, vending machines, medical technology, aerospace, military applications, vehicles and shipbuilding, and much more.

Are There Disadvantages to Stud Welding?

The stud welding process is fast, effective, and extremely strong. The point of failure on a stud weld is rarely the weld itself. 

It’s also straightforward to do, such that the operators don’t need to be master welders to handle stud welding equipment safely and effectively. All of that said, it’s not a perfect process, and it has a few distinct disadvantages.

One major disadvantage is that it’s not typically best used in high-strength structural steel fabrication, stainless steel, or high alloy steels. It also has a typical upper limit on how large the stud can be.

Additionally, as with all welding processes, safety is an immense concern. Even though stud welding is easy and accessible, and much of the process is handled automatically by the gun, it still requires proper protective equipment, safety equipment, and great care. It is, after all, still using a high enough blast of electricity to melt metal in an instant. Molten metal, heat, radiation, and other considerations are all important.

Stud welding is commonly handled by trained professionals or robotic equipment to mitigate many of these disadvantages, including CNC machines. Automating much of the process will remove the risk of harm from human operators while ensuring consistent, high-quality welds.

Drawn Arc Stud Welding

First, of the two main stud welding processes, drawn arc stud welding is slightly slower than the alternative. It’s also a more complex process, requiring additional parts. In exchange, it’s better for more extensive, thicker materials and heavier materials like steel. 

In this process, a stud is positioned in the stud welding gun. It is firmly against the work surface and held in place using spring tension. It is then shrouded by a ferrule, a ceramic shield containing the heat of the arc and the molten metal from the weld when it triggers.

illustration of drawn arc stud welding showing chuck, stud, ferrule and base metal

When triggered, the weld gun will lift the fastener from the work surface a predefined distance. 

Simultaneously, a brief, controlled electric arc is sent into the materials, creating an arc and extreme heat between the fastener and the surface. The ferrule contains and concentrates the heat and molten material to the area of the weld; this also removes the need for shielding gas.  

Once this arc is triggered, the stud gun will release the spring, plunging the stud downwards with a predetermined amount of force, merging the two molten ends of the fused materials. 

Instantly, the two materials are joined in a robust and thorough weld. No additional filler or other materials are necessary.

This whole process happens in less than a second, usually on the order of 150-500 milliseconds. The machine is called a stud gun because it fires that quickly. Due to the process involved, drawn arc stud welding is typically performed on more significant and thicker materials, with more leeway and time necessary to properly melt the surface. However, that time is still measured in milliseconds.

Later, in a cleanup process, the ferrule is broken off of the weld, leaving a cleaner and specifically-shaped surface designed by the interior of the ferrule.

In some cases with huge studs, a shielding gas may be used in addition to a ferrule. A variation of drawn arc stud welding is also available, called short cycle stud welding. This variation functions similarly but uses a higher current and a shorter cycle for faster welds. This technique is typically used on materials in an awkward middle size between the sizes best handled with drawn arc stud welding and the smaller sizes best handled by capacitor discharge welding. It’s also used for aluminum stud welding. Shielding gas is also more common for this size of stud welding.

Capacitor Discharge Stud Welding

The second common kind of stud welding is capacitor discharge stud welding. As the name implies, this form of welding uses a high-powered capacitor to store energy, discharging it all at once in a flash that melts the joint’s surface and fuses two materials.  

Capacitor discharge studs are typically formed with a special tip that serves as a tiny guide for the precise location of the discharge arc. Like with the alternative form of stud welding, capacitor discharge stud welding uses a spring to push the stud into the molten pool of material, making a smooth, consistent joint. 

capacitor discharge stud welding showing stud with ignition tip laced against the base metal

The process here is straightforward. The capacitor in the stud gun is charged, and a stud is loaded into it. The gun is then positioned and fired, automatically completing the entire process. 

The gun operator needs only to load the gun and adequately place it; the machine handles everything else. This method is commonly used in automated machinery because the program can also automatically position and load.

Capacitor discharge stud welding is ideal for smaller-diameter studs and thinner base materials. 

Because it happens so fast, most of the heat is limited to the stud, and only a relatively small amount of the base material is melted, reducing any chance of discoloration or marring to the reverse side of the base material.

Variations on Stud Welding

While the two main processes above are common forms of stud welding, the mechanism can also be used in other situations.

A common variation is insulation in HVAC, particularly at industrial scales. In this process, insulation is wrapped around a metal base and must be fixed; this is done using cupped pins, essentially like giant thumbtacks. These pins are the studs used in the welding process, and their tips are the contact point between the base material and the pin itself.

photo of 2 welders examining an automatic pipe welding machine in operation

Stud welding processes fuse the two, and a series of such pins are used to fix the insulation in place at regular intervals across a work surface.

An alternative to this process adheres pins to the work surface upon which the insulation is placed, and the welding process applies caps to those pins. Many thermal power plants and industrial furnaces are insulated in this manner.

Sometimes, friction welding can also be used. Friction welding eschews the electric current in favor of mechanical forces. It spins the stud at a high RPM, pressing it against the work surface so that the sheer friction of the two materials heats them up to the melting point, fusing them together. Friction welding is not technically a form of stud welding. However, it does not use the same equipment, is not used for the same purposes, and operates via an entirely different mechanism.  

Another variation in stud welding is nut welding. A traditional stud welding process adheres a bolt to a surface, which nuts can then be threaded onto for various fabrication purposes. The opposite process adheres a nut to the base material, into which a bolt can be threaded later.

Since nuts are circular, a different process must be used. This more complex process uses a magnetic field to rotate an arc around the circular cross-section of the nut while shielding gas protects the molten area. 

This circular weld pool then receives the nut as it plunges downwards, fusing the two. The center hole can be punched out or bored to accept a bolt.  

Variations on Stud Welding Guns

Stud welding guns come in a wide range of capabilities and additional features. Some can be auto-loading, allow for more than one type of welding, or have optional shield gas piping built in. The machine you choose will depend on your needs.

a stud welding gun close up image showing welding stud

The three main types of stud gun welders are the resistance welding stud gun welder, the capacitor discharge (CD) stud gun welder, and the arc stud gun welder.

  • The resistance welding stud gun welder is a portable, low-power machine designed for projects requiring quick and easy spot welding on thin-gauge metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. The power generated by this type of stud welder is suitable for most small welding jobs.
  • The capacitor discharge (CD) stud gun welder is a more powerful yet still portable welding machine used for both thin- and thick-gauge materials. This type of stud gun welder is popular because it can create a strong weld without manually adjusting parameters like current or voltage.
  • Finally, the arc stud gun welder is the most powerful of all stud gun welders. It creates an exceptionally strong weld that can hold heavy loads for long periods. While this type of stud gun welder is more expensive than the other two types, it is ideal for those who plan to do heavier-duty welding projects.

No matter which type of stud gun welder you choose, it’s important to remember that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, choosing the style that best suits your needs and budget is essential.

Choosing a Stud Welding Gun

If you’re still determining what you’re likely to need, you can always rent stud welding machines to try them out.

Rental equipment is accessible and inexpensive compared to purchasing equipment outright, though, of course, you need to exercise due caution.

If you have any questions about the stud welding process, the various available equipment, or other general welding forms, feel free to reach out! Whether you comment on this post, please read the rest of our blog or drop us a line directly; we’re always ready to help. We’re equally available for small-time hobbyists, industrial-scale welding operators, and everyone in between. Just let us know!

Robots vs. Cobots: What’s the Difference?

13 August, 21 2:50 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc Welderentals
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Over the years, robotic welding has been utilized in various industries to increase productivity by automating production and ensuring consistent quality. Traditionally, robotic welders required large investments in equipment and in personnel training.

Why Robotic Welding?

Some of the reasons for using robotic welding are as follows:

  • Production automation
  • Cost reduction
  • Quality improvement (consistency and repeatability)
  • Improved health and safety (personnel are not exposed to hazardous fumes or radiation)
  • Address shortage of skilled welders (an operator is required—not a welder)
  • Increased flexibility (versus hard automation)
  • Efficiency improvements
  • Reduce repetitive strain injuries

However, there are some disadvantages with traditional robotic welding:

  • High overall investment to implement (robot, controls, power source, jig/fixture, and safety fence/equipment)
  • Specialized programming skills required
  • Large space requirements

The above disadvantages restrict where robots can be used. Collaborative robots (cobots) have been introduced to address some of the limitations of traditional robots.

The Difference Between Cobots and Robots

worker welding with a cobot

Robots can seriously hurt people who get in the way of their movements. Since many robots move quickly, extensive safety measures are required to ensure that people and robots are separated when a robot is in operation. Contrary to this, cobots, if obstructed, will stop because of built-in safety features. Therefore, they do not require extensive protection infrastructure. This allows the operator to be close to the cobot when it is active and share the same space as required.

Safety of Cobots

The international standard ISO 10218 governs the safety requirements of cobots. Further guidance specific to the safety requirements of cobots is provided by technical specification ISO/TS 15066. According to this document, a cobot can achieve safe operation with personnel present in the cobot zone by using one or more of the following technologies:

  • Safety-related monitored stop (cobot detects the worker and stops)
  • Hand-guided control (operator can hold the cobot and guide it through the work)
  • Speed and separation monitoring (sensor detects the distance between the cobot and the operator; cobot adjusts speeds accordingly)
  • Power and force limiting by inherent design and control (when the co-worker touches the cobot, the cobot stops safely)

Cobots generally have a lower payload capacity than traditional robots, but this poses no issues because the welding gun is light. Moreover, the cable feed equipment does not need to be located on the robot and can be stationary. The speed of movements with cobots are generally slower than with robots. This ensures that personnel in the vicinity are kept safe. These characteristics make cobots more suitable than traditional robots for light applications.

2 workers observing the botx robotic welder at work

Why Cobots?

Cobots offer several benefits:

  • Higher flexibility than traditional robots
  • Quick way to address welder shortages
  • Lower overall investment to implement
  • Easy programming and simulation (generally point-to-point teach programming)
  • Economic setup for low-volume work
  • Easy to relocate
  • Compact cell layout (less space required)
  • Considerations for implementing cobots for welding include the following:
  • Type of power source, which depends on the welding type (e.g., MIG, spot welding, stud welding)
  • Programming system
  • Cobot physical dimensions (reach) and performance capabilities (e.g., speed/acceleration, payload)
  • Cell layout
  • End effector design
  • Communications protocols
  • Risk assessment and controls

How to Get Starte with Cobot Welders

When hiring cobot systems, all of the above considerations and selections have already been taken care of. The client can get straight to the work at hand, with no installation costs, and pay only for the time the system is being used.

Looking to get your feet wet? Red-D-Arc offers a turnkey collaborative welding system: BotX.

BotX Robotic Welder Feature Article on Automation.com

13 July, 21 2:41 pm · Leave a comment · Geoff Campbell
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botx robotic welding cell in a shop

The BotX robotic welder was featured on the Automation.com blog in April 2021. Automation expert Bill Lydon examines how some of the challenges faced by manufacturing firms can be met through the adoption of automation technologies like the BotX Welder. (more…)

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