In case you operate a facility such as a manufacturing plant, you will always have to find a method through which you can always have the requisite fasteners for the task. Most people usually take this fact for granted. However, the situation often becomes trickier than most would imagine. Though fasteners are usually low in priority, they can lead to wastage of inventory, production complexity and general cost increments if not properly managed.
Fasteners are utilized in almost all industrial applications. In fact, they are the components that literally hold everything in place. Without fasteners, our homes, cars, chairs, cell phones e.t.c. would all fall apart. The main goal of utilizing the most efficient fasteners is ensuring that the manufacturing cost is kept as low as possible, and that the final quality of your product is optimized.
The knowledge of some few characteristics of the fasteners you are sourcing will enhance the results of your sourcing as well as the desired functions. Below are some things you need to know while sourcing your fasteners.
Selecting the appropriate material for fastener supply chains is not only crucial while considering the cost, but also when analyzing factors such as brittleness, strength and resistance to corrosion.
Stainless steel and steel are the most commonly utilized materials. These metals are predominant in the automotive industry, alongside plastic fasteners. However, steel is increasingly becoming a favorite due to its tensile strength, high malleability and durability. Though stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, it lacks the capacity to be hardened to a level similar to grade 5 or grade 8 steel. For marine applications, silicon bronze is preferred due to its extremely high corrosion resistance. Aluminium and brass fasteners are also used in common applications.
Coatings are usually used to enhance corrosion resistance or for aesthetics. Chrome, zinc, and hot dip galvanizing are some of the most commonly used coatings. Zinc plating offers superb resistance to corrosion in most environments or when exposed to prolonged humidity or submersion in water.
Chrome plating is used as a decorative add on for some applications or for bolstering corrosion resistance. Its level of resistance is similar to that of zinc. This process provides a stronger resistance to corrosion. Nevertheless, the galvanized bolts are usually not compatible with other nuts because the coating is usually too thick. Chrome also offers similar protection to zinc, but provides better finishing.
Types of Fasteners
There are countless types of fasteners in the market. However, the most common ones are screws, bolts, nuts, clips, washers and pins. Within every category, there are many other variations. A specific application could possibly need a special fastener to be designed. While sourcing for screws, for instance, it is crucial to know the kind of head required- whether pan head, flat head, truss head and so on. When looking for standardized fasteners, you can check with your local fastener supply chain distributor.
Size of Fasteners
Size will typically determine the location from which you can source your fastener. Fastener manufacturers usually develop a variety of size ranges for different equipment and to enable different capabilities. The common size ranges include the M6 or M5 ranges. The “M” refers to the measurement of the outermost projection of the screw.
How are Fasteners Sourced?
Fasteners can be sourced through numerous channels rather than directly going through manufacturers. Sourcing via a manufacturer can be very beneficial in case you have an extremely high volume of parts with low diversity. But if you need a wider variety of fastener sizes and types in the mid to low-volume range, a fastener supply chain distributor might be a better option.