Specialty fasteners are certain varieties of fasteners manufactured for a specific industry, job, or material. In comparison to general purpose fasteners, specialty fasteners' applications are limited and specific. For example, fasteners made for use in automotive applications, such as a fastener used to mount a stereo console in a specific vehicle model, would not be appropriate for use in a kitchen cabinet mount.
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Applications of Specialty Fasteners
The word “specialty” means different things in different contexts. Fasteners used only in aerospace contexts could be considered specialty aerospace fasteners, while a fastener used only on one specific kind of aircraft is more specialized still. The extent to which a fastener variety is specialized is, to some extent, a matter of perspective. There are fasteners made for use only in electronic devices, industrial process equipment, domestic appliances, vehicles, building construction, and aircraft. Screws used in the manufacturing of electronics differ dramatically from those made for assembling automobiles. Some are made specifically for securing certain kinds of material, like metal, plastic, fabric and wood, each with different strengths. Because every fastener variety should be carefully paired with its application, it could be said that all fasteners are specialized to some extent.
Specialty Fastener Design and Customization
Fasteners differ in driving recess, head styles, shoulder form, shank types, thread form, and point styles. Driving recesses are the slots on the top of fastener heads that allow for the use of driving tools. Head styles can be hexagonal, round, square, oval, and flat, among many other configurations. Shoulder forms can be oval, round, ribbed, square, and fin-necked. Thread forms differ based on country standards and materials. Those being used in wood have a specific type of thread, and American and metric fasteners have different threading based on different measurement systems. Point styles are either blunt or sharp. This also depends on what material the fasteners are securing.
Different types of metal and plastic fasteners are market-specific. For example, plastic screws, since they are not high-strength, are limited in terms of the number of tasks for which they can be used. However, they are corrosion-resistant and inexpensive, which makes them good choices for certain applications. Stainless steel is known for their strength and corrosion resistance, which makes them a popular choice for use in outdoor utilities and automobiles. Decking fasteners are specially designed for use in the construction of wooden structures, like decks and patios. A thorough understanding of the strengths and limitations of fasteners is important to effectively using them.