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.
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, to connect small appliance parts, for decorative purposes and in other light-duty applications.
Depending on the type of material, industrial fasteners are manufactured 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. Carefully pairing industrial fasteners with their applications is essential to ensuring their safe and effective use.