Simply speaking, fasteners hold two or more parts together securely. Fasteners are an integral part of almost every device, machine, and tool we use in our day-to-day life. They are also an important component of industrial equipment.
Quick links to Industrial Fasteners Information
Applications of Industrial Fasteners
Industrial fasteners are tools used to join and secure materials. They are used in many applications within the aerospace, construction, electronic, and automotive industries. Industrial fasteners made of stainless steel can be found in vehicles, buildings, furniture, light fixtures, commercial and consumer appliances, industrial utilities and process equipment, and a wide variety of other examples. Industrial fasteners can also be made of other metals like non-carbon steel and copper as well as some plastic materials. Plastic screws are generally reserved for use in less demanding applications. They are used to fasten upholstery in vehicles, connect small appliance parts, for decorative purposes, and in other light-duty applications. Carefully pairing industrial fasteners with their applications is essential to ensuring their safe and effective use.
Industrial Fastener Design and Customization
Fasteners come in many different shapes and sizes, including screws, nuts, and bolts. Some are threaded fasteners and have a raised spiral rib wrapping around the shaft, while others are smooth and straight. Most have a head, which is the flat and wide top of the fastener that determines how it will sit against the material. Stainless steel is often the fastener material of choice because of its strength as well as its resistance to extreme temperatures and corrosion.
Manufacturing Process of Industrial Fasteners
Depending on the type of material, industrial fasteners are manufactured in many different ways. Plastic fasteners are injection molded, steel fasteners are cold worked, and other metals, such as titanium, brass, and bronze, are heated and cast. If the industrial fastener is threaded, it goes through a process called thread rolling, in which a die with a threaded profile is pressed with high pressure onto the blank fastener and the thread profile is transferred. This is a cold working process, meaning the metal is not heated and the atmosphere is room temperature. Cold working the metal ensures its strength and durability. Cold working processes are chosen in fastener manufacturing because hot working processes, which involve heating the working materials to very high temperatures, creates an oxidation risk, and generates products with lower strength qualities than cold working processes. Because industrial fasteners are relied on for their strength and resilience, all steps to ensure their effectiveness and longevity should be taken.
History of Threaded Fasteners
The history of threaded fasteners dates back several centuries. The great Greek mathematician Archimedes created the screw principle and used it to make a contraption that raised water for land irrigation and served other useful means, such as removing bilge water from ships. However, he did not use metal; rather, he used wood because metallic screws or bolts were still a long way.
Screws were widely used throughout the Mediterranean region in presses that extracted oil from olives and juice from grapes in the 1st Century BC. Before the 15th Century, the use of metal screws as fasteners was rare in Europe. During this time, Johann Gutenberg utilized screws to fasten his printing presses. Slowly, the use of screws increased and expanded, as clock and armor makers started incorporating the component. Meanwhile, Leonardo da Vinci drew several designs for screw-cutting machines in his notebooks from the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Screw adoption got a tremendous boost in 1568, when Besson in France produced a machine to make screws. Later, he introduced a screw-cutting plate to be fitted on lathes. However, it was only in 1760 that Job and William Wyatt of Staffordshire in the UK registered the first patent for a screw machine. Sixteen years later, the brothers were producing screws on an industrial scale.
In the meantime, an English instrument maker named Jesse Ramsden invented the first satisfactory screw-cutting lathe in 1777. Then another British fellow, engineer Henry Maudslay, popularized lathes with his screw-cutting lathes of 1797 and 1800. With these achievements, manufacturers were capable of producing screw fasteners in huge numbers. Even after these achievements, the industry lacked a uniform standard; each maker had their own screw thread designs or screws. In 1841, an Englishman named Whitworth proposed a standard after studying market-leading products, and his proposals became standard practice in the UK in the 1860s. Meanwhile, the Americans also came up with their own standard, the U.S. Standard Thread, which was adopted in the early 1870s, followed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard. However, the incompatibility between these standards is still an ongoing problem, as screw thread designs continue to evolve.
Modern-day thread screw technology that holds different parts of products that you use in daily life has come a long way from the days when bolts and screws were made by hand from wood and then from iron and steel. In earlier days, customers also had limited option to choose from. The scope of their use and design from bare bone steel nuts and bolts has increased exponentially to include rivets, bolts, automotive fasteners, self-tapping screws, aerospace fasteners, specialty fasteners, and plastic fasteners.