Zinc Phosphate Coating for Fasteners

Elgin Fastener Group has numerous capabilities to offer its customer base. From hot and cold forging fasteners to wire form to closed die cold forming, we have the answers to improve your overall business performance.

One of these Elgin capabilities is metal finishing. Poor planning or missed deliveries from plating suppliers is not acceptable. Elgin has the proper engineering and an in-house lab to handle any metal finishing job, from smaller, delicate barrel loads to heavier, larger basket parts to long, bulky rack applications.

One of the products in the metal finishing capability area that Elgin utilizes is zinc phosphate coatings. What exactly is zinc phosphate coating? This is a process that is widely used to improve corrosion resistance and paint adhesion on steel and iron. They’re used frequently in conjunction with sodium stearate to form a lubrication layer in cold and hot forging applications.

The sodium stearate reacts with the phosphate crystal which, in turn, is strongly bonded to the metal surface. The reacted soap layer then forms a base for additional unreacted soap to be deposited on top so that a thick, three-part coating of zinc phosphate, redacted soap and unreacted soap is built up.

The resulting coating remains adhered to the metal surface even under extreme deformation. The zinc phosphate is in fact abrasive and it’s the soap which performs the actual lubrication. The soap layer must be thick enough to prevent substantial contact between the metal forming dies and phosphate crystal.

In short, the coating process converts the metal surface to which it is applied into a nonmetallic, polycrystalline coating that contains iron, manganese, nickel and zinc phosphates. This process can be used to treat metals individually or in mixed production.

Why is zinc phosphate coating important? In addition to corrosion resistance, the zinc phosphate coating process can improve the appearance of finished goods through the creation of a uniform appearance. The process is also a cost-effective alternative to plating or painting, particularly on hidden metal parts.

Elgin Fastener Group offers several different metal finishing services. The zinc clear, zinc yellow, and black phosphate coatings offer our customers options and we have years of experience perfecting these processes. Especially in the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, our plating operation can help clients get the expert attention they’ll need to complete their projects.

Metal finishing is just another example of the quality service Elgin Fastener Group provides to customers. Our reach and influence spreads out among many different industries. We have sales representatives from all across the nation ready to answer and deliver solutions. At Elgin, we want to simplify the ordering process and lower production costs. There’s nothing wrong with that. Request a quote from us and get your project started.


What is NIST-Certified?

Elgin Fastener Group uses the latest in computer-aided design technology in combination with computer-aided machining to create the custom tooling needed to meet a company’s precise wire product fabrication requirements. We have decades of experience on the shop floor to assure consistency and quality.

The inspection process for wire forming is just as rigorous. Our machine operators quality check their work at regular intervals to ensure compliance to specifications. From height gauges to micrometers to calipers, Elgin Fastener Group maintains a large variety of traceable, NIST-calibrated tools to ensure quality.

But what exactly is NIST? What does it stand for and how does it allow quality products to be delivered to customers?

NIST stands for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and was known as the National Bureau of Standards until 1988. NIST is a measurement standards laboratory and a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO, employing around 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and administrative personnel.

Taken from their website, their mission is “to promote United States innovation and industrial competiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.”

NIST carries out its mission through:

  • the NIST laboratories, where world-class research is conducted in cooperation with industry to advance the nation’s technology infrastructure
  • the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers
  • the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program, which promotes performance excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations

Why is all this vital, especially for companies like Elgin Fastener Group? NIST certification is important because it supports and develops measurement standards for a particular product. NIST-certified products are tested in order to guarantee their accuracy. The certification standards are derived from Information Technology Laboratory research, guidelines, and outreach efforts.

NIST aims to provide technical support to the nation’s manufacturing industries as they strive to out-innovate and outperform the international competition. It’s always been one of NIST’s top priorities. Innovation and manufacturing go hand in hand.

A company can be sure that if a fastener is being made by Elgin, it’s being manufactured with tools that have been certified by NIST. Request a quote to get your project started. Our Northern Wire division based out of Merrill, WI does custom wire forming, machining, welding, bending and cold heading for agricultural equipment, lawn and garden, landscaping, construction, and recreational vehicles. Northern Wire can process material from 0.080’’ to 0.750’’ diameter with lengths from ½’’ to 12’ cut from coil. Have a wire forming need? Contact Elgin today and get your questions answered.


Set Screw Types

A set screw is a type of screw generally used to secure an object within or against another object. The most common examples are securing a pulley or gear to a shaft. Set screws are generally headless, meaning the screw is fully threaded and has no head sticking out past the diameter of the screw thread.

The set screw passes through a threaded hole in the outer object and is tightened against the inner object to prevent it from moving relative to the outer object. It exerts clamping force through the bottom tip that projects through the hole.

Set screws, though, do not come in one shape or size. There are several different variations of this fastener, all with different strengths and positive features. The variety is in the tip types. The different-shaped tips have unique properties that engineers can take advantage of.

For example, a cone point type of set screw might be helpful if a detent was used to ensure proper nesting of the screw. A flat point screw could be more helpful if it needed to be pressed perfectly flat against the surface.

Other point types include:

  • Cup point: the most common type of set screw. This works well because the surface is rounded so that a small surface area is in contact but does not have high stress at one point like a cone set screw. The cup point set screw holds parts permanently and is designed for soft and hard surfaces.
  • Knurled cup: offers the advantage of a locking action that prevents the screws from working loose in high-vibration applications. The knurled cap set screw also holds parts permanently and is designed for soft and hard surfaces but resists vibration the best, even in poorly tapped holes, because of the locking action.
  • Flat set screw: readjusts without damaging the surface and aligns wells against ground flats. This can also act as an adjusting screw and can be used as backing for soft metal or plastic plugs.

Along with the different types of points, set screws have numerous drive styles. These include:

  • Straight slot: a single slot in the fastener head and drive by a flat-bladed screwdriver. It was the first type of screw drive to be developed. This is common in woodworking applications, but not where a power tool would be used because it tends to slip out of the head and possibly damage the surrounding material.
  • Hex socket: a hexagonal recess screw drive and may be driven by an Allen Wrench.
  • Square socket: a square-shaped socket in the screw head and a square protrusion on the tool. There are two main advantages because of its design: it makes inserting the tool easier and tends to help keep the screw on the tool tip without the user needing to hold it there.

Elgin Fastener Group has the capabilities to mass produce the exact set screw essential to your project. One of the everyday applications where an Elgin-made set screw would be seen is on clamping for fire suppression sprinklers. This is just one example of how no matter the specialty fastener or the application, Elgin Fastener Group creates quality solutions for its customers. Request a quote or contact us today to get your project off the ground the right way.


Screw Threads and Automotive Uses

The family is starting to grow a little too big for the basic four-door automobile. Two car seats, a couple of bags with all the essential items and a walker are just a few of the items lugged back and forth on trips to relative’s house or a cross-country trip. Room is needed and what better way to help ease this concern than with a full-size minivan such as a Honda Odyssey. Little do people know Elgin Fastener Group has made a helpful contribution inside the minivan to create more space opportunities.

This is just one of the many practical applications where Elgin has created a specialty fastener for a company with a pressing need. Different problems bring different solutions in what type of fastener to use. In this case, Elgin was dealing with screws but as everyone knows not all screws were made the same. What type of thread is present is crucial in the application.

A screw thread is a helical structure used to convert between rotational and linear movement. It’s a ridge wrapped around a cylinder or cone in the form of a helix, with the former being called a straight thread and the latter a tapered thread. The screw thread is the essential feature of the screw as a simple machine and also as a fastener such as wood and machine screws, nuts, and bolts.

The design can differ in many ways as well. From the gender of the screw thread (male vs. female) to the handedness (which way the helix of a thread twists), there are many factors that contribute to the end product. For example, there are three characteristic diameters of screw threads: major, minor, and pitch. Along with this, industry standards have minimum and maximum limits for each one of these for all recognized threads. Other important design factors include thread depth and taper.

Back to the Honda Odyssey. How exactly is Elgin Fasteners Group helping out? In minivans, seats can be folded down to create more room and comfort for this riding along. Elgin has manufactured folding seat pivot bolts that are essential to the action. These are a large shouldered Truss machine screw but with standard machine screw threads. Next time you’re clearing space in a Honda Odyssey or folding one of the seats down, remember Elgin Fasteners Group was responsible for this seamless and helpful action.

This example isn’t the only success story for screw thread types. Grip-Lite screws are designed specifically for thin sheet metal applications. They provide a tight assembly with increased strip-out torque improving joint strength and radius point for safety. Grip-Lite screws are used heavily in air conditioning and heating units.

Need more evidence that Elgin Fasteners Group is the industry leader in specialty fastener solutions? Request a quote today to get your project started right or contact us via phone or e-mail to help get your questions quickly answered.

Materials Highlight: Monel

Monel is a group of nickel alloys primarily composed of nickel (up to 67%) and copper, with small amounts of iron, manganese, carbon and silicon. The combination of elements is stronger than pure nickel and a registered trademark of the Special Metals Corporation. Monel is resistant to corrosion by many agents, specifically rapidly flowing seawater. It can be fabricated readily by hot and cold working, machining and welding.

What are the characteristics of Monel?

In addition to corrosion resistance, it’s well-known as a strong, rust-fighting material. It’s a solid solution binary alloy and is very difficult to machine as it work-hardens quickly. It needs to be turned and worked at slow speeds and low feed rates. Some alloys can withstand a fire in pure oxygen.

Common Industry Applications of Monel

Common applications include the aerospace industry, oil production and refining, musical instruments (trumpets, tubas and French horns), and marine applications. Monel’s corrosion resistance makes it perfect for piping systems, pump shafts, seawater valves and strainer baskets in seawater environments. The one downside to Monel: it’s not cheap. It’s an expensive alloy that costs 5-10 times more than copper and nickel and three times more than carbon steel.

Its combination of corrosion strength and above-average weldability makes it an invaluable fastener material. Elgin has a complete list of technical specifications for its four different Monel materials and common applications that they are proven to work the best in. Elgin’s Monel materials are a step up from the competition.

For fasteners, each Monel property has its own specific use and practicality. For example:

Monel 400: a solid-solution alloy that can be hardened only by cold working. It has high strength and toughness over a wide temperature range and excellent resistance to many corrosive environments. It’s a trademark of Special Metal Corporation.

  • Monel 405: a free-machining grade of alloy 400 that has greater sulfur content which enhances machinability. It has a slightly different range of mechanical properties than Monel 400 and is used mainly in automatic screw machine stock.
  • Monel K-500: a nickel-copper alloy which takes Monel 400’s advantages and adds greater strength and hardness by adding aluminum and titanium.
  • Nickel 200: a commercially pure (99.6%) wrought nickel that features magnetic and magnetostrictive properties, high thermal and electrical conductivities, low gas content, and low vapor pressure.

Overall, the picture is clear: if you have a specific fastener need, Elgin’s inventory is large and diverse enough to solve the problem.

For more information:


Elgin Specialty Fasteners

Nuts, bolts and screws are all around us in just about everything we do. For the average Joe, it would be as simple as going down to the local hardware store or national chain outlet and purchasing what they need. For industries with specific needs in specific areas, the ordering is more unique. A certain machine, lawn mower or appliance might be required to have a specialty fastener built in order to maximize production. Where would a company turn to place a large-scale order for specialty fasteners?

At Elgin Fastener Group, our 10 domestic manufacturers and metal finishers align with one common goal: To be your single-source supplier of open/closed die cold formed, hot forged, wire formed, stamped, and branded/licensed specialty fasteners. We guarantee a selection of fasteners limited only by the imagination, and achieved by our dedication to consistent quality. At Elgin, we’re here to answer any questions or issues you might be having with a specific product or part.

Speciality Fastener Capabilities

There are many different types of specialty fastener uses and designs that Elgin can produce for greater efficiency and longer lasting productivity. Hot forging is required when large amounts of plastic deformation are needed to form the part. The advantage is increased ductility and no need to strain harden the metal. In open die cold forming, the metal is placed between two flat dies and compressed until the shape is revealed. Cold forming creates favorable strain hardening. In closed die cold forming, the metal fills the space within the die cavity as it plastically compressed into the mold. This creates favorable strain hardening. Explore all our capabilities to see what’s possible and the avenues Elgin can take in the specialty fastener industry.

Material Inventory

In addition to all these designs, Elgin possesses a deep and diverse raw material inventory. From exotic materials such as Ferralium and Tantalum to alloys that combine corrosion strength with outstanding weldability like Inconel and Monel, we have the ability to work with many different types of raw materials unmatched in the specialty fastener industry. Want a Silicon Bronze 655 screw? We got you covered. A A-286 bolt? No problem. Elgin has all the technical specifications for each material and common applications you’ll need to determine the right course of action. The decision-making process can move forward by requesting a quote from our team of experts.

Everyday Applications

Where would someone find an Elgin specialty fastener at work in everyday life? If you’re mowing your lawn this weekend, our specialty fasteners and wire frames hold homesteads around the nation together. An example are head bolts for gas engines/engine assembly to erase leaking head gaskets. John Hubbard, engineer at EFG’s Martin, TN plant, has seen many real life applications.

“We worked with a major die cast motor manufacturer to create a screw with special thread and point configurations that eradicated a leak issue,” Hubbard said. “The new fastener virtually eliminated warranty issues due to fastener related links.”

In appliances, you can find thread rolling screws and sheet metal screws designed to speed up assembly and provide cost efficiency. A specific example included a longtime appliance industry account set in a motion a unit redesign and invested significantly in a new blow mold tooling. Elgin was able to design and produce a fastener to hold the unit together and meet the season-opening deadline. This is just one example of how Elgin creates workable solutions for their customers.

“EFG-Martin worked with a major HVAC customer to design a new screw with special head, threat and point features that eliminated screw strip outs and piercing of wire insulation by the fastener’s sharp points,” Hubbard said. “These improvements dramatically reduced electrical failures and call backs.”

Right Fastener Right Now

These two above example are just a few instances of Elgin creating specialty fasteners for a client to meet specific needs. Our reach and influence spreads out among many different industries. The message is clear: we get the job done efficiently, effectively and on-time. We have sales representatives from all across the nation ready to answer and deliver solutions. At Elgin, we want to simplify the ordering process and lower production costs. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Materials Highlight: Inconel

Inconel is a family of austenitic nickel-chromium super alloys and a registered trademark of Special Metals Corporation. They’re oxidized and corrosive resistant materials. Because of this feature, Inconel is suited for structural integrity in high temperature atmospheres due to a thick, stable passivating oxide layer which is formed when it’s is heated. This layer protects Inconel’s surface making it resistant to heat.

This results in its usefulness in high temperature applications where aluminum and steel would falter to deformation. Inconel also has several material properties that do not easily succumb to caustic corrosion or corrosion caused by high water purity.

Inconel is usually in environments outside the general everyday norm. It’s frequently used in the oil and gas, chemical, and aerospace industries. It’s common in gas turbine blades, seals and combustors. It can also be used in chemical processing, steam generators in nuclear pressurized water reactors and racing exhaust systems such as Formula One and NASCAR. This type of versatility throughout different industries shows its value among different super alloys.

Iconel and Specialty Fastener Applications

Inconel is an alloy that Elgin Fastener Group has come to utilize in a variety of different manners and applications. Because of its combination of corrosion strength and outstanding weldability, this raw material has proven to be an invaluable part of the fastener production process. Elgin has a complete list of technical specifications for its nine different Inconel materials and common applications that they are proven to work the best in. Elgin’s Inconel materials stand apart from the rest.

For fasteners, each Inconel property has its own specific use and practicality. For example:

  • Inconel 600’s high nickel content gives the alloy resistance to corrosion by many organic and inorganic compounds and almost immune to chloride-ion stress corrosion cracking. It can be used from temperatures as low as cryogenic to above 2000 degrees F.
  • Inconel 625 is applicable from temperatures of cryogenic to 1800 degrees F and is an excellent choice for seawater applications.
  • Inconel 718 has welding characteristics that makes it resistant to post-weld cracking and has good tensile, creep and rupture strength. This particular material can be applied in temperatures between -423 degrees to 1300 degrees F.

Overall, the picture is clear: if you have a specific fastener need, Elgin’s inventory is large enough to solve the problem.

At Elgin Fasteners Group, we use Inconel and its multiple alloy materials to create specialty fasteners. We have the ability to work with all these different types of Inconel and provide quality, cost-effective solutions.

For more information:

  • Download our products and capabilities brochure.
  • For more information on Inconel and specialty fasteners, visit our Material and Properties page to find the right material for your needs.
  • Or contact us and a representative will follow up with you shortly to address any question on your mind.


Bolt Head Types and Practical Uses

Fastener options are almost limitless. The various shapes and sizes and the practical uses for each different type can be confusing. To get more specific, the differences between a screw and bolt are almost zero. Although not always true, it’s generally accepted a bolt passes through a substrate and takes a nut on the other side while a screw takes no nut because it threats directly into the object.

In regards to bolts, the types range from the fairly common hex bolt to the more unique hanger bolt. But which is the right one for the specific job you’re currently in the process of completing? Below is a description of a few different bolt head types and how they can be applied.

Hex bolt: a bolt with a hexagonal head and machine threads for use with a nut or in a tapped hole. Also known as hex cap screws or machine bolts.

Carriage bolt: a bolt with a smooth, rounded head that has a small, square section underneath. This makes the bolt self-locking when placed through a square hole or a round hole in most wood. It can be installed with only a single tool (spanner or wrench) working from one side.

Lag bolt: a bolt with a wood thread and a pointed tip.

Eye bolt: a bolt with a circular ring on the head end. Used for attaching a rope or chain.

At Elgin Fastener Group, we have vast amounts of experience and expertise creating bolt solutions, including place bolts. What’s a place bolt? It’s a one-piece, free-spinning, all-metal, self-locking hex bolt. Its unique head design provides the locking action. This is important because not only does it provide the bolt more elasticity, but also serves to produce up to seven times the vibration life of conventional hex cap screws. These cold-formed fasteners are not only strong and durable, but reusable as well.

The place bolt is manufactured at Elgin Fastener Group with five or six slots in the head. The six-slot is used for customers like General Motors in the automotive industry in such places as the Allison transmission. The five-slots are for our military distributors and are sold as a grade 5 or grade 8.

The place bolt is well-suited for flywheel, transmission and drive train applications where vibration, high stress and shock cause failure of regular hex head cap screws or bolts. The slots on top with a recessed center creates elasticity so that when it is torqued, the head distorts to maintain clamp load. The place bolt is usually required to be made in the United States with certifications and head marks, as well as Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement compliant material.

Elgin Fastener Group is committed to delivering specialty fastener solutions for its clients, no matter the bolt or screw involved. Based on decades of experience, EFG can draw on one project after another to produce high-quality, cost-efficient parts. Explore our capabilities and what can be accomplished. If your company has a specialty fastener need, don’t hesitate to contact Elgin today to get the project started.

Fasteners in the Agricultural Industry

On rolling farmlands across the country, farmers are putting in long hours and hard work to cultivate produce and raise livestock. A lot of this work is back-breaking and requires great effort and skill. Luckily for these farmers, heavy machinery and other mechanical tools help ease the process. They depend on this equipment to increase efficiency and the chances of a successful harvest.

At Elgin Fastener Group, we manufacture a complete range of unique headed and threaded fasteners in a wide variety of sizes and lengths for a multitude of agricultural applications. Specifically, there are four product examples that prove to be essential fasteners in the operation of these farming machines.

  • Indented hex head machine screws: allows for more torque to be applied to the screw with a socket wrench. They’re most often used with a nut as a means of tightening, unless they have a pre-threaded hole with the exact thread pitch.
  • Pivot pins: well-suited for automated assembly and ideal for holes where cotter pin access is limited. Usually available in two different plunger options. The standard features a more sharply angled top, affording greatest capture height of the plunger. Used for semi-permanent fastening where the pin is seldom removed. The removable plunger features a rounded top, affording easier removal in assemblies with slight gaps when the pin needs to be removed.
  • J-bolts: can be used in a variety of applications and made from several different materials. They’re most commonly used to suspend electrical wiring and sheet metal from wooden structures, holding springs in the furniture industry and being embedded in concrete, in addition to use in agricultural applications.
  • Rivets: a permanent mechanical fastener. Before being installed, a rivet consists of a smooth, cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the tail. On installation, the rivet is placed in a punched hole or drilled hole and the tail is upset so that it expands to about 1.5 times the original shaft diameter, holding the rivet in place.

Where would you find these Elgin-made fasteners in the agricultural industry? In parts in field irrigation systems, filtration units, tobacco drying structures, industrial vibrators and an assortment of other farm equipment. Our capabilities extend from cold heading to wire form to stamping, which keeps Elgin Fastener Group at the forefront of domestic and international agricultural markets.

Elgin Fastener Group is committed to delivering specialty fastener solutions for its clients, no matter the type of hex head machine screw, pivot pin, j-bolt or rivet involved. Based on decades of experience, EFG can draw on one project after another to produce high-quality, cost-efficient parts. Explore our capabilities and what can be accomplished. If your company has a specialty fastener need, don’t hesitate to contact Elgin today to get the project started.