For many manufacturers, fasteners are somewhat of an afterthought, but having a clearly defined fastener strategy can offer many long-term benefits.
A few key points to consider when building a fastener strategy are as follows:
Metric or Inch System
Many manufacturers in the United States still primarily use inch fasteners for obvious reasons, but if there are any plans to expand into foreign markets, metric fasteners will be a preferred choice. It may seem like a scary proposition to switch, but the right fastener supplier can help!
Understanding the life cycle of your product, the environment it will be operating in, and which fastener finishes will satisfy your needs is important. Selecting specific finishes and building them into your strategy can also help prevent part proliferation. It’s also important to understand regulations that may be associated with certain finishes, such as RoHS and REACH. Even if your industry is not bound by these regulations, they may still affect the product you are getting whether you know it or not. If you have been using what you think is the same zinc electroplating for ten years, it’s almost certain that you are getting a different finish now than was being applied originally. You should be aware of things such as reduced corrosion protection resulting from material handling, and different coefficients of friction which could require different assembly torques.
Property Class or Grade
If your bill of materials contains multiple fasteners of the same size and configuration, but with a different grade/property class, you may want to consider consolidating to one part that will work for all strength requirements.
Keep a lookout for future blogs on this topic, and as always, check us out at www.bossard.com or contact us directly at ProvenProductivity@bossard.com to see how we can help you build your fastener strategy.