When designing our glass racks, our engineers asked questions like, "Why aren't welds used to hold airplanes together? How are store front window systems assembled? What fastening system is used to fabricate eighteen-wheeled semi-trailer bodies?" It turns out they're all constructed using mechanical fasteners. The more research we did, the more we found that welding tempered aluminum weakens the area around the weld, which leads to breaks and cracks. With our goal being to build the best glass rack in the industry, there was no doubt we were going to use mechanical fasteners to hold our glass racks together. Striving to find the best fastener for the job, we landed on the Huck Magna-Grip Lock Bolt to ensure maximum strength and integrity. These are the same bolts used throughout the aerospace industry, and they have numerous advantages over welding.
When we met Tim Brown, owner of Horizon Glass a couple years ago at a glass show, it was obvious that he was experienced in delivering glass. Because of his past experience, how we manufactured our glass racks was really important to him. He had purchased glass racks with welded aluminum in the past and was not a fan, so he was really excited to learn we built our racks with Huck bolts saying, "Right away I could see the difference."
Facts About Welded Aluminum
Here's the short list of things you need to know about welded aluminum.
- Welding creates a "local heat affected zone" that makes the material around the weld brittle and more prone to breaking.
- Welds are more susceptible to fatigue than mechanical fasteners.
- When aluminum cracks it usually begins at the weld.
- Due to the high-shrinkage rate of aluminum many structural engineers believe that all aluminum welds have microscopic cracks when they cool.
- Welds are more difficult to repair in the field than mechanical fasteners.
- Welding aluminum is considered an "art" and the strength of each weld can't be guaranteed. If a welder has a "bad day" you'll probably get bad welds.
- Today's modern welding machines provide quick and inexpensive welds, but the trade-off is inconsistent quality from worker to worker and day to day.