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FALL 2021

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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2021 / Vol 44 No 4


44 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ALL-PRO FASTENERS INC. 1916 Peyco Drive North, Arlington, TX 76001 TEL 1-800-361-6627 EMAIL WEB FASTENING vs WELDING: FABRICATING BETTER JOINTS Introduction Welding is a proven method of securing infrastructurerelated and fabricated metal joints, and is often the preferred method in a wide range of applications. However, welding it is not without drawbacks that can affect its suitability for a number of applications. As an alternative to welded joints, engineered fasteners can provide significant time and cost advantages, depending on specific project factors and design requirements. When evaluating whether welding or fastening is best for a particular installation, a variety of factors must be considered. In the final analysis, the type of joint to be specified and fabricated depends on project factors as well as operational preferences. Project factors that guide the selection of joint type include: the weldability of the materials to be fastened (including surface coatings that may be affected by heat), joint types, installation processes and logistics, inspection requirements, cost, labor availability, accessibility, environmental conditions, safety, and future maintenance/repair considerations. Any or all of these variables can be a potential factor in deciding whether to fasten or weld a joint. This paper will discuss some primary considerations involved in choosing between welded joints or fastened joints, or some combination of both. By taking these factors into consideration, design engineers, project managers, fabrication supervisors, and construction management can make design and joining decisions that improve performance, increase safety and productivity, and control costs, while meeting and exceeding performance requirements over the lifecycle of the project. Welding Overview The process of welding creates permanent joints by fusing two elements with extreme heat, then allowing them to cool in a fixed position. Various types of joint configurations, such as butt-, corner-, edge-, lap-, and tee-welded joints, are determined by the position of welded elements relative to one another. Welding is a manual process that is typically performed by certified welders using specialized equipment. Specific energy sources may also be required, depending on the type of weld being performed. Workplace safety is important regardless of joint type, but welding comes with more task-specific risks. In shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), an electric arc is produced between a coated metal electrode and the steel components to be welded. Precautions must be undertaken to avoid burns, vision damage, fume or gas inhalation, radiation exposure, electric shock, and/or fires. TECHNICAL ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 124


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