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.

12 Point Bolt vs. Hex Head Cap Screw

The tiny differences between what bolt or screw works in certain specialty fastener applications usually comes down to preference. Practicality and efficiency are two of the many factors that go into this type of decision. At Elgin Fastener Group, we see these types of situations on a daily basis.

Take for example the hexagon head cap screw versus the 12-point bolt. On first glance, they’re almost completely alike in size and dimension. What are the differences and why would someone use one over the other?

The hex head cap screws feature a thick, hexagonal head with a washer face under the head to provide an ample bearing surface for tightening with a wrench. They’re general-purpose threaded fasteners designed for insertion in pre-tapped holes or for use with nuts.

A 12-point bolt design offers the same bearing surface as a hex head cap screw of comparable size. There really is no difference between the two, except the top of the head makes wrenching a little different. The user is able to get it into a counter bore situation when it’s hidden in a hole. Also, when there’s more wrenching surface there will be more torque to the wrench because of an increased contact area for the 12-point bolt.

Why the 12-point over the hex head cap screw for a specialty fastener use? The user may not want the head showing on a part and need it recessed. It’s much better to use a 12-point bolt in this application. The 12-point is also a bit smaller than the flat of the hex; therefore, a smaller socket can be used to get down inside. A lot of times, the 12-point bolts are used for a little higher clamp load.

Typically, a 12-point bolt would be seen in the oil and gas industry because of the recessing head of the bolt. This will not be seen when they’re clamping together the end bolts. 12-point bolts are also prevalent in engine applications. Clamp load for engine applications are typically higher than most others, which a 12-point will help deliver.

The increased wrenching surface is a huge positive for a 12-point bolt being used in a specialty fastener situation. A user can get a big grip on the outside because of the external wrenching capability. All those individual surfaces add up to three times as much wrenching area as on a typical socket head screw of the same size. And because the wrenching area is external- far from the center of the screw- the user gets the greatest leverage possible. This all adds up to better, quicker and tighter wrenching.

This example is one of many decisions that plays out when deciding upon a specialty fastener. What bolt or screw works where? What is the advantage of one over another for this certain application? All these questions and more can be answered by the experts at Elgin Fastener Group. Our 10 domestic manufacturers and metal finishers align with one common goal: to be your single-source supplier of specialty fastener needs. Reach out to us today to get your questions answered in a timely fashion and your project off the ground.

Specialty Fasteners: The Right Fastener Right Now

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.

Do You Trade Show?

The advent of early fall hastens our preparation for exhibiting in two major industry trade shows. The first is the National Industrial Fastener & Mill Supply Expo (NIFMSE), held each October in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the advantageous location of Booth #1403 (to paraphrase Bob Uecker, we’re in the front row!), Elgin Fastener Group will welcome current and potential customers from the distributor market. Show organizers are predicting the number of booth sales at approximating 800 and attendance in excess of 4,600 this year. Exhibits are open on Oct. 23rd & 24th, in the Sands Convention Center.

During the week of Dec. 7th-11th, the Power-Gen International Expo will be held in Orlando, Florida in the West Hall of the Orange County Convention Center. With an expected attendance exceeding 22,000 and more than 1,400 exhibitors, the 2014 Power-Gen International Expo will be an ideal avenue for the creation of new business opportunities. EFG will be located in Booth #4159 during the Dec. 9th-11th exhibit period.

Whether you exhibit or simply prefer to walk a show, the benefits from your participation are difficult to beat. Increasing your knowledge of a particular industry, learning about available new products, meeting customers and suppliers in one central location, development of new leads, and supporting the industry that puts food on your table are all viable reasons to go the trade show route!

Three Reasons Why Cleveland Really Does Rock

The trio of companies comprising the Cleveland operations of the Elgin Fastener Group (Chandler Products, Quality Bolt & Screw, Telefast Industries) offer more than 185 years of fastener manufacturing experience. Each division has its own unique history, and brings its own special set of capabilities to the industrial fastener industry.

Chandler Products is located in Euclid and began operations in 1913 as an automobile manufacturer, transitioning strictly to the production of automotive bolts in 1930. Today Chandler Products is recognized as a leading supplier of custom engineered fasteners, able to meet demanding requirements for close tolerances and unique shapes through their extensive utilization of secondary equipment. These operations include pointing, shaving, trimming, grinding, drilling, and CNC work. Long known for their reputation as a major supplier to the diesel engine/heavy truck market, Chandler Products also maintains QSLM certification for Class 2 and Class 3 threaded fasteners as a key supplier to the military and defense markets (Cage Code: 83386).

Quality Bolt and Screw, in Brecksville, started in 1958. Like Chandler Products, QBS also excels in the production of highly engineered specialty fasteners, but produces standard fasteners as well. Quality Bolt and Screw offers a larger diameter range of product than Chandler, starting at ¼” and going through 1-1/4”. QBS also has QSLM certification and supplies parts to the military and defense industries (Cage Code: 0BCN3).

Located in Berea, Telefast Industries originated in 1986, but actually has ties to other Cleveland cold forming operations that date back to the early 1900’s. Today, Telefast Industries is known as one of the few remaining domestic manufacturers of internally threaded fasteners, but produces externally threaded parts as well. TI rounds out the military supplier trifecta by also being QSLM certified (Cage Code: 3CW33).

It takes commitment, effort, dependable employees, and more than a little luck to remain in business for as long as these three companies have. Domestic manufacturing (particularly in the Midwest) has taken a beating over the last few years, but Chandler Products, Quality Bolt and Screw, and Telefast Industries are still showing the world that Cleveland is home to more than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fastener manufacturing rocks in Cleveland!

Fastener Joint Failure Evaluation

There have been many papers written on how to design a good fastener joint, what type of fastener is best in a particular application, or the causes of a specific type of failure. These all have good information, but many times, particularly when discussing screw failures, you may feel you need a master’s degree in physics to understand what is being said. If you are the user or the supplier of a screw that is in a joint that has failed, you just want to know what happened, whether it was the screw’s fault, and what to do to prevent it from happening again. You can save a lot of time and money by asking the right questions and obtaining the right samples.

It is a universal truth that screws are the least expensive part of an assembly, and they receive the least amount of attention. But when a joint fails, they are the first thing people assume is to blame. They believe the screw was too weak, too small, too short, too long, too slippery, not slippery enough, etc. Many times, the screw or bolt is not the cause of the failure, but some detective work must be done to find the true cause so it can be prevented. 

When a failure has occurred, it is critical to gather as much information as possible and get samples of the “failed” screw and assembly. This cannot be overstated. Ask questions and get samples. Do not auto – matically fall into the “bad screw” mindset. 

There are two general types of failures. The first failure occurs during installation, when for some reason, the screw can’t be driven or tightened to the required level. In this case, you know there is a problem right away, and it is fairly easy to evaluate and determine what is wrong. 

The second type of failure is much more difficult. In this scenario, the screw goes in fine and tightens to the desired level. Everything looks good, and everybody’s happy, but later the joint fails. This is a far worse situation than the first. In this situation, the product may be totally assembled, and even worse, out in the field. This failure can cost significantly more in time and money than the first type failure. Now you have product that needs to be repaired, downtime, unhappy customers, freight, recalls, etc. This is a very bad situation. In addition, it can be much harder to determine the root cause and fix it. 

What I am going to talk about here is the first type failure. I will cover the delayed type failure in a later article. 

The issue here is that the user cannot assemble their product because the joint won’t tighten. As I pointed out earlier, do not automatically assume it is the screw that is at fault. A successfully assembled joint involves at least four components: the screw, the assembled piece or pieces, the threaded or tapped piece, and the driver. The goal is to drive the screw in and clamp the assembly together. If that goal cannot be met, your job is to determine why. The problem can be with any of these four items. It is possibly a problem with the screw, but what about the tapped hole, or the nut the screw is driving into? 

Internal threads are much more difficult to check dimensionally than the external threads on the screw. It is a mistake to assume the internal threads are correct. I have seen situations in which someone will use a nut as a gage to check the external screw thread. Why so much confidence that the nut is right? As I said, internal threads are much more difficult to check dimensionally than external threads, and tools do wear, and mistakes do happen. Oversized or undersized internal threads can lead to a failure as easily as an oversized or undersized screw thread can.

What about self-tapping screws? In this scenario, a screw is designed to make its own internal threads in the mating pieces of the application. This can be a drilled or stamped hole in sheet metal or a casting of some type. It can also be tapping into a cored hole in a casting, or an extruded hole in sheet metal. We could be talking about driving specially designed screws into molded or drilled holes in plastic. Whatever the scenario, if there is a failure, you have to determine what happened. The hole size, material thickness and hardness, as well as the screw dimensions and heat treat all need to be verified. It is also very possible something has changed with the driver. I have been involved in situations where the customer calls and says the screws are no good because they are stripping, only to find out later they have installed a new air compressor, and their line pressure had jumped, causing the driver guns to over-torque the screws. I have also seen the opposite scenario. The screws have stopped driving, but not because there is anything wrong with the screws. Rather, a new piece of equipment has just gone on-line, and the air pressure has dropped to the point the drivers are not generating enough torque to seat the screws. 

I once made a visit to a customer who complained that our screws were bad because they were stripping. When I got there, I discovered they were driving a 5/16- 18 thread forming screw with a 1/2-inch size impact wrench. They were over-torqueing the screws by more than twice the torque they should have been using, but they were convinced the screws were bad. 

Many types of failures can occur during the assembly operation, but generally they can be broken down into just a few categories:

  1. Some dimensional problem prevents the driver from engaging the screw correctly.
  2. The screws will not start in the hole or internal thread in the mating part.
  3. The screws will not torque down and clamp the joint sufficiently.
  4. The screws stripped. This can be a stripped hole or nut, or the threads on the screw are deformed.
  5. The screws broke.

This is your first responsibility: FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED! “The screws aren’t working” or “the screws break” is not an acceptable answer! Which of the above five things happened? Did something else happen? You have to continue to ask questions until you understand what happened. You may have to talk to an engineer, quality person or production person to get this information, but keep asking questions until you understand what happened. You have got to determine how the joint failed. Without this information, it is impossible to determine what happened, and worse, how to prevent it from happening again. 

Samples of the failed joint are worth their weight in gold. If you or your engineer can look at the failed joint and see what failed, you will be able to come to a conclusion and solution much more quickly. 

Something you need to be aware of is this: A problem can be the best sales tool you have ever had, depending on how you handle it. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for just a second. You have an assembly (not necessarily a screw) problem. You don’t know what is wrong. You need it fixed ASAP. The guy you bought the screws from asks tons of questions and asks for samples. Maybe he actually visits and watches the screws being installed. He then tells you what happened and how to fix it. How likely are you to be a little more dependent on that supplier? 

A problem in which the driver and the screw cannot mate together well enough to drive and seat the screw should be fairly evident and easy to fix. The wrong driver is being used, the screws have some dimensional problem, or the driver bit or socket has a dimensional problem. 

If a machine screw or bolt will not start threading into a tapped hole or nut, you need to verify the dimensions of both the screw and the hole/nut are dimensionally correct. 

If the screw threads into the hole just fine, but will not seat and clamp correctly, there are a few additional potential causes you need to investigate. The screws may still be too large, the tapped holes or nuts may still be too small, there is not enough torque coming from the driver, or there is not enough lubricity in the joint. 

  1. Verify the screw meets the print. At the minimum, you will need a micrometer and ideally, thread ring gages.
  2. Double check the nut or tapped hole size. If you have a set of thread plug gages, great, but more than likely, none will be available.
  3. Try screwing a different screw that you know is good into the “bad” hole, or try driving the “bad” screw into a different hole that you know is good. If the “bad” screw fits a different hole, then the hole becomes suspect. If a different, good, screw drives into the “bad” hole, the original screw is looking like the guilty party.

If you determine the screw and the hole are dimensionally OK, then start looking at the torque. This becomes a little more difficult because you will need a torque wrench to answer these questions. Use the torque wrench to check how much torque it takes to assemble the joint correctly. 

  1. How does this compare to the recommended seating torque?
  2. Is the gun supplying the correct amount of torque?
  3. Does it take much more torque to install the screw than it should?

Unscrew the fastener and look at it carefully. 

  1. Are the screw’s threads damaged or smeared?
  2. Is some of the material from down inside the hole peeling off or smeared in between the screw threads? If there is damage on either the screw, or the internal thread you need to find out why.
  3. Is the screw the correct hardness?
  4. Are there too few threads engaged? A screw should have a minimum length of threads engaged in the internal threads equal to the diameter of the screw. For example, a 5/16-18 screw should have at least 5/16 of threads engaged in the nut/ tapped hole.

If the joint is stripping, it could be: 

  1. The screw is too soft.
  2. The mating material or nut is too soft (not likely; internal threads are stronger than external threads of the same size).
  3. The screw is too small.
  4. The hole is too big.
  5. There are not enough threads engaged.
  6. There is too much torque being applied.

If all the parts seem to check out dimensionally, the screw hardness is correct, and the driver gun checks out, you may need some lubricity (oil or wax) to lubricate the screw and hole. 

Most people have no idea that without some type of lubrication, 80 to 90 percent of the seating torque used to install a screw or bolt is eaten up in friction; this is the friction between the underside of the head and the surface of the joint and the friction between the screw threads and the internal threads in the hole. That means only 10 to 20 percent of the torque you are applying is actually generating any clamp load in the joint. When you tighten a bolt to 50 foot pounds, 40-45 foot pounds of that torque is being used just to overcome the friction; only 5-10 foot pounds is being used to actually clamp the joint. 

Lubricity has a tremendous effect on how much torque is required to tighten a joint. Too much lubricity can actually cause a screw to strip out that otherwise would be working fine. A simple rule is: “If it won’t go in and seat, lubricate it. If it strips, take away some lubrication.” 

If the screw is a self-tapping screw and it will not pick up a thread and start tapping into the hole, you need to verify: 

  1. Is the hole too small?
  2. Is the point on the end of the screw too large?
  3. Is the screw too soft?

Any of these problems can prevent the starting threads of the screw from digging in and beginning the tapping operation. In these cases, the screw will just spin in the hole without tapping and eventually burn up. 

If the screw is a self-tapping screw and it stalls the gun or will not seat and clamp correctly, there are additional things to check. 

  1. Is the screw too big for the hole?
  2. Is the hole too small for the screw?

Were the screw threads deformed as the screw was driven in? A tapping screw must be very hard on the outside in order to form the mating threads in the application. If they are not hard enough, they will flatten out, or deform. If they deform, then they will not make clean, correct threads in the material they are being driven into. If this happens, there can be all kinds of strange results that will cause joint failure. 

The twist in this story is that the lubricity question becomes even more important than it is with machine screws or bolts. As stated previously, 80 to 90 percent of the seating torque is used up in friction. It is even worse with the driving torque with self tapping screws, but the problem is greatest when the screw is forming the mating threads. It takes a tremendous amount of force for a screw to form its mating threads, and if there is excessive friction, it can cause the torque to spike to a point that damage to the threads, or breakage of the screw, is very possible. If there is not enough lubrication between the screw threads and the material it is tapping into, there can be galling that will destroy both the screw and the hole being tapped. Here, adding a little wax or oil can solve a driving problem instantly. 

What happens if the screw “strips out?” Now is when samples become even more critical. 

Screw stripping can be subdivided into two possibilities. Either the external threads of the screw failed, or the internal threads in the application failed. By failed, I mean they deformed during installation. This is critical information. Self-tapping screws need to be hard on the outside so they can tap the hole, but they need to be soft on the inside for strength and ductility. 

If the threads on the screw deform instead of tapping the mating piece, it may be: 

  1. The screw is not hard enough.
  2. The material being tapped is too hard. Just because a screw is a self-tapping screw, does not mean it can drive into every material on the planet. A standard self-tapping screw cannot form threads in hardened steel or in many stainless steels.
  3. Is the hole too small?

If the threads on the screw are fine, but the hole has stripped out, you will normally see slivers of the mating material that have been ripped out of the hole, trapped between the screw threads. If you see that, there are four primary causes: 

  1. The screw is too small.
  2. The hole is too large.
  3. The torque is too high.
  4. The material is too thin.

As companies strive to improve their profitability, materials are becoming thinner and thinner. Thinner material means less thread engagement. The way to counteract that loss is by decreasing the hole diameter, extruding the holes to gain more length, and adding features to the screw that help stop it from rotating when it seats. These help a little, but at some point, you will no longer be able to effectively clamp the joint. 

This condition will increase the demands on the screw to do its job with less room for any variation, and at some point, you have an undependable joint. Unfortunately, the screw will still be looked upon as the problem. 

It must be noted: If the failure is a stripping type failure, lubrication is your enemy. 

In an effort to summarize, when there is a joint failure problem, you MUST get all the information you can and obtain samples, or visit the line and watch the screws being driven. You need to check: 

  1. screw size;
  2. hole size;
  3. screw hardness;
  4. mating material hardness;
  5. driver torque; and
  6. lubricity.

Find out what failed and how. In the majority of these joint failure occurrences, the screw is not the source of the failure.


View this article in the American Fastener Journal published on BlueToad (p.30-34)

Next-Generation Workforce

We’ve all read or heard the concerns about the shortage of qualified applicants in the domestic manufacturing job market. This topic seems to hit closer to home each time one of our tool makers, machine operators, or set-up personnel celebrates a milestone company anniversary; which we define as twenty-five or more years. We’re happy to acknowledge the success and experience of these dedicated individuals. However, these anniversaries also tend to highlight an indisputable fact … a significant percentage of our workforce is getting older, and we need to take responsibility for cultivating the next generation of skilled craftsmen and women to take their place.

At several of the Elgin Fastener Group divisions, we’re accepting that responsibility. Since 2012, our Ohio Rod Products operation has been working in tandem with the Precision Machining program at the Southeastern Career Center in Versailles, Indiana, to identify high school juniors and seniors who exhibit the skills and attitude to succeed in a cold heading environment.

We’ve hosted Career Days that include plant tours and classroom instruction for the participants of this program. We’ve hired two of these candidates to date – one from each of the last two graduating classes. Ohio Rod has also conducted summer intern programs for local college and high school students over the past several years, with an emphasis on engineering opportunities.

Our Northern Wire division in Merrill, Wisconsin, has explored the establishment of training classes for new employees in conjunction with Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin, and is exploring the viability of an intern program for high school students in Lincoln and Marathon counties. The management at our Leland Powell Fasteners division in Martin, Tennessee, hosts plant tours each semester for Mechanical Engineering students from UT-Martin, and works closely with the Machine Maintenance program at McKenzie Vocational School in McKenzie, Tennessee, to identify and develop potential manufacturing candidates for the Leland Powell operation.

What steps are you taking to cultivate the next generation of your workforce? We welcome your feedback on how you are approaching this subject.

In Support of American Manufacturing

I’ve spent over 35 years working for manufacturers in the American fastener industry, with most of those years in sales and customer service management positions. Over that period of time I’ve had the opportunity to visit more industrial manufacturers in the U.S.A. than I can recall. I’ve toured electric motor plants that produced thousands of motors weekly, bicycle plants that shipped out high- and low-end bicycles by the truckload, and appliance plants that churned out household items like disposals and refrigerators in quantities that supported the majority of new home starts in any given year. Add in a multitude of cable reel, conveyor, automotive, and various recreational product plants, and it’s safe to say I’ve seen a significant slice of American manufacturing during the last three decades.

Some of my most memorable recollections from these visits involve conversations with production line personnel — the people responsible for assembly of the products I’ve mentioned. They want to be sure the components they’re using are available when they need them, and they expect the quality level of those components to be consistently perfect. They have a sense of pride in their finished product, whether it be a lawn mower, or a plywood reel, or a diesel engine. Those of us who supply them with the components that hold these products together share that same sense of pride, which comes from knowing we produced those parts in the U.S.A.

Yes, we still manufacture things in this country, and even though many industries have experimented with moving production to foreign locations, there is more domestic reshoring and onshoring activity taking place each month. More companies are realizing the benefits of having a domestic manufacturer who consistently-offers premium quality product at a competitive price in a matter of days (or hours), rather than weeks or months. Domestic freight rates are more attractive than those offered by overseas suppliers, and the labor rate differential between the U.S. and many of our foreign competitors has narrowed dramatically.

We can compete, folks. Let’s get the word out that American manufacturing is alive and getting healthier on a daily basis. We’ve all got a stake in this.

What Does Exotic Mean to You?

Ask someone to name an exotic place and the responses will most likely include names such as Indonesia, Thailand or Bora Bora. Ask someone in the fastener industry about exotic material, and odds are the response will include some mention of Vegas Fastener Manufacturing — acknowledged as the leader in domestic production of specialty fasteners from exotic materials.

Started in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1998, Vegas Fastener Manufacturing offers hot forging of high-temperature, corrosion-resistant fasteners made from materials ranging from Hastelloy, Monel, Inconel and Waspalloy to nickel alloys, nitronics, copper, brass, bronzes and more than 100 grades of stainless steel. Vegas Fastener stocks many of these exotic materials in bar form, thereby reducing lead-time, which promotes exceptionally quick delivery of unique product to the following markets:

  • Power generating equipment
  • Marine/naval transportation
  • Diesel engines
  • Food processing equipment
  • Power turbines
  • Water works
  • Piping systems
  • General industrial application

Products range from large bolts and socket screws to studs and nuts in SAE and metric sizes. The list of exotic shapes and sizes includes: twelve-point flange, penta heads, and oval-neck track bolts in #6 through 3” diameters and in any length.

Vegas Fastener Manufacturing utilizes an ISO 9001 quality management system and maintains an on-site testing laboratory that is compliant with ISO 17025 guidelines. With a complete lineup of multi-ton forging presses, computer-controlled turning centers, vertical CNC mills, CNC bar feeders, centerless grinders and roll threaders, Vegas Fastener Manufacturing is uniquely positioned to meet the most challenging and stringent specialty fastener requirements. As a member of the Elgin Fastener Group, Vegas Fastener is a part of the largest single-source team of specialty fastener manufacturers in North America.

Are you still thinking about Bora Bora? We’re focused on a different kind of exotic — the kind that comes from Vegas Fastener Manufacturing!