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THE RACE IS ON: The latest pneumatic fastener technology can get you to the finish line

Living in my home state of Indiana during May is synonymous with the Balloon Race, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo and opening day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thirty-three drivers will line up on May 24 for the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.

While you may not be competing against 32 other contractors in the race to win the bid, you are still competing. What sets your company apart from the other contractors bidding on this project?

Think about how much has changed in auto racing or even automobiles in the last 98 years, and compare this to how much has changed in the construction industry in that same time period. Are you using the newest technology available to help you beat the competition? Now is the time to review your processes, as today's consumers are demanding quality products and services, as well as cost-saving ideas.

Fastening Advances

Are you using pneumatic tools and fasteners? If you are building with cold-formed steel or concrete, you owe it to yourself and your customers to review pneumatic fastener technology.

Pneumatic fastener technology is advancing faster than traditional fastening methods. Did you know that you can use pneumatic fasteners for:

  • Multiple layers of steel
  • Headers
  • Track (floor and ceiling)
  • Substrate to steel
  • Roof/floor deck
  • Trim to steel

Look at your process from the ground up. The building is framed using 16-gauge track and stud-to-concrete slab. How are you attaching the track to the concrete? Pin and powder? It's messy, dangerous and loud, and it requires licensing. Gentlemen, start your compressors and pin it. Following are some reasons why:

Track to Concrete

  • In the time that you spend loading the pin and powder, you could have shot the pneumatic fastener and moved on.
  • No licensing is required, and the tools are lighter and safer.


  • Put away your screws and screw gun, keep your clamps, and get out that pneumatic tool and coil of pins.
  • Clamp and shoot.
  • That's how the pros do it.

Exterior Gypsum

  • A screw-and-pin combination is your best bet.
  • Tack the board up with screws like usual to help pull it tight to the studs.
  • Come back, and pin it!


  • You should be in the groove now.
  • Get out your pneumatic tool, and pin it!


Roof/Floor Deck to Steel

  • Flat out pin it!
  • Think you are done with pins now? Guess again!

Subfloor to Concrete

  • Again with the pin and powder? Or were you thinking of using Black Mastic? Haven't you been paying attention?
  • Pin that subfloor to the concrete.
  • Save time and money with pins.
  • Think about how happy your customer will be because they don't have to worry about gas or VOC issues.
  • Flat out pin it!

Trim on the Inside of the Exterior Walls

  • That's right, there's a pneumatic pin for that, as well.
  • Flat out pin it!

The Technology

Still not convinced? Let's talk about the technology itself. Pneumatic fasteners are designed with ballistic points shaped like a bullet allowing the fastener to pierce the steel. Most of the pins will have a knurl on them, creating additional surface area for the steel to rebound around. The thinner the steel, the more aggressive the knurl should be, allowing a greater surface area for the steel to rebound around. When the pin is shot from the tool, the force of the delivery systems forces the pin into the steel; the compressive force of the steel causes it to rebound around the pin forming the bond. All of this happens seven to 10 times faster than installing a screw.

Get There

Pins will not replace screws in every application, but I challenge you to review your process to see how many of your applications might be pinned. Think about it; get those "pain in the xxx" fastening jobs out of your way, and shorten your total time on the job, giving you the opportunity to win more bids. You want to see the checkered flag, not the black flag. Get in the race by contacting your local supplier and tell them you want to flat out pin it. See you at the finish line!

For more information about pin fastening of cold-formed steel, contact the Steel Framing Alliance, Washington, D.C., at

Lisa Beally is the director of marketing and international sales for Aerosmith Fastening Systems, Indianapolis. She has conducted Pin Fastening seminars throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom to help further the use of cold-formed steel though training, as well as worked with consultants in New Zealand. She has also been involved with the Steel Framing Alliance, helping to educate contractors about the use of pins in cold-formed steel. Visit;