See our BOLTED JOINTS for metal structures

5 reasons why using bolted joints is better than welding

Is it better to weld or screw when fabricating sheet metal parts?

Welding is such a common application in precision sheet metal fabrication that customers often overlook a better alternative: bolted joints. There is a reasonable explanation for this omission: fabrication shops do not usually give them that option. Unfortunately, many fabrication shops just want to look at a drawing and fabricate the part and, due to the limitations of their technology, find it easier to weld than to bolt.

But the easiest option does not always give the best result.

At Starmodul our team lives by the mantra: “If you can screw it, you should screw it”. When we receive a print or (ideally) a 3D model, we examine the design to see how each component works together and identify possible improvements. We often find opportunities to create bolted joints instead of welded joints, and our customers always benefit.

5 advantages of using fasteners in precision sheet metal fabrication

Here are five reasons to include bolted rather than welded solutions in your next part design:

Lower costs. Welding is a manual activity, so it carries a higher risk of human error that could lead to costly rework. In our workshop, bolting is a fully automated process, which reduces labor costs as well as the risk of errors.

Equal resistance. There is a misconception that welding is stronger than bolting, but this is not true. Bolting is as strong as welding, and can be stronger in some situations. The strength of a weld is largely determined by the experience of the welder. The chances of an inexperienced welder applying a defective weld are much greater than the chances of a screw failing.

Greater precision. Since the use of fasteners depends on the accuracy of a machine, it is easier to achieve close tolerances and more precision when locating parts in an assembly.

Easier finishing. When welding a complex part, it can be difficult to access all the nooks and crannies during plating, anodizing and other finishing processes. If you want your part to look flawless after finishing operations, it is best to screw it down.

Easier to replace. Nothing lasts forever. Bolted parts are much easier to replace because they can be made very accurately, whereas replacing them requires cutting a weld. It is also easier to refit spare parts in situ with bolted ones.

Recently, one of our customers had a set of solar racks that were damaged after a high wind. The frame ceilings were bolted rather than welded, which allowed us to easily replace damaged sections and put them back in place.

Did you know that almost any part or product can be easily bolted together instead of welded?

Include the fasteners in your initial design so Starmodul can get to work without having to resubmit recommendations for approval.

Starmodul patented system of bolted joints.

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