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An Introduction to Hydrogen Embrittlement

Hydrogen Embrittlement

Hydrogen embrittlement is a permanent loss in ductility caused by introducing hydrogen into a metal fastener in combination with stress. A typical hydrogen embrittlement (HE) failure is a delayed failure and happens after assembly. An HE failure is caused when three requirements are fulfilled. These areas are (1) hydrogen induced, (2) stress applied, and (3) high hardness. Continue reading for more information about each area.

Hydrogen Induced

Hydrogen needs to be induced for an HE failure. This is most commonly induced in the electroplating process, but can also be introduced into the material through corrosion of the bolt.

Stress Applied

Once stress is applied to a bolt that has a significant amount of hydrogen trapped inside the molecular structure, it is a matter of time when the hydrogen collects in molecular void and that void will grow bigger until the fastener fails.

High Hardness

This is the easiest pillar of an HE failure to control in the HE failure spectrum. Industry standards dictate that anything 320 Vickers Hardness or higher needs stress relief and possible further special attention.

HE failures can be very dangerous because the failure is delayed after installation and is very sudden. Before a bolt with HE is installed, there is not a visual way to identify if HE is present.

Any fastener that meets the hardness criteria need special attention and care to avoid HE failures. Contact us at if you have any questions about HE and its causes.


Brandon Bouska
Application Engineer

March 16, 2018
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Quick Guide: Rotary Dampers

Rotary Dampers

Rotary dampers serve the purpose of providing smooth and controlled movement while opening and closing many different devices. These rotary dampers can be applied to a variety of machinery like computer docking stations, CD players, printers, home appliances and much, much more. Controlled opening and closing of a mechanism’s left, right and bilateral rotations provides a sense of great value as well.

A better-quality machine is possible with the use of rotary dampers. Not only will the instrument operate smoothly but also last longer thanks to the gentle effect the rotary damper can provide. It seems appropriate to install this type of technology to decrease vibration, noise and relieve standard mechanical wear on the operating machine.

These gears are made of ABS, PC and POM materials. Because of the materials’ durability, the flammability ratings on the rotary dampers are as follows: PC: 92V-2; POM: 94HB; ABS: 94HB. It’s also worth noting that the temperature tolerance ranges from 32°F (0°C) – 122°F (50°C). Stats like these can help implementation of the rotary damper be applied to a majority of mechanisms that desire a lengthier and healthier existence.

If you would like to know more about rotary dampers and how they can be used in your application, email us at

March 09, 2018
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Should I Use Weld Nuts, Self-Clinching Nuts, or Blind Rivet Nuts?

assorted nuts & screws

The use of captive nuts is a great design opportunity for a variety of applications. These differing styles of nuts are captive because once installed, they become an integrated part of the assembly. Examples of captive nuts are weld nuts, self-clinching nuts and riveting nuts. For more information on the specific designs consider the technology of each one.

Weld Nuts

Weld nuts are welded to another piece of metal. These can be used instead of sheet metal screws in thin sheet metal applications. Weld nuts come in different sizes and shapes and require equipment to install. These types of nuts form the strongest bonds. They are not plated for corrosion protection as this would hinder the welding process; a subsequent plating process or painting would be required to protect the assembly from corrosion after welding is complete.

Weld Nut

Self-Clinching Nuts (swage nuts or insert nuts)

Self-clinching nuts are clinched or pressed into soft sheet metal. They come with several types of plating options and can be heat treated to provide more thread strength unlike its counterparts. Self-clinching nuts also require equipment to install.

Slef-Clinching Nut

Riveting Nuts (blind rivet nuts)

Riveting nuts are the quickest to install. The necessary tools to implement this nut design are also relatively less expensive. They are installed much like a blind rivet and can be fixed into blind holes unlike self-clinching nuts or weld nuts.

Riveting Nut

Captive Nuts Comparison Chart

Type Application Advantages Disadvantages Special Tool Required
Quick installation Inexpensive piece price Different plating options Different strength options Other Need access to both sides No plating options  Precise pre-drilling required Need special tooling to install Other
Weld Nut General X Strongest bond  X X X Yes → Welding machine $$
Sheet metal
Self-Clinching Nut Sheet metal X X X Strongest threads X X X Yes → Press $$$
Circuit boards
Blind Rivet Nut Sheet metal X X X X X Grip range limited Yes → Pneumatic tool $
Laminated materials

**Advantages and disadvantages are accurate for most catalog offerings of these nuts, exceptions may apply


Picking the right captive nut for your design can be difficult. Luckily, Bossard has an engineering team with decades of experience, ready to help you. Contact us at for more information.

Fadi Saliby
Technical Sales Director

March 02, 2018
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How to Use Lighting Industry Fasteners the Right Way

Lighting Industry Fasteners

The lighting industry benefits from modern advancements in the smallest details of engineered lighting components. Rivets and fasteners, as well as wire management products, help everyone with their lighting needs. Whether the requests are for residential electrical jobs or those industrial and institutional lighting projects, the industry is thriving with several options for each scenario.

Rivets and fasteners are a few components that offer creative solutions to many lighting necessities. Drive fasteners, mounting buttons, fastener plugs and push-in fasteners are all a part of successful lighting installations. They can ensure a successful installment of light fixtures with convenience in mind.

Wire management is another concept to be appreciated when stringing it all together. Cable clamps will be a beneficial factor in keeping wires and cables neat and organized. A variety of clips and clamps exist in the markets today that are customized for those very specific jobs at hand.

The lighting industry has come a long way in making the little things matter more. The technological benefits and enhanced features that have been implemented in the smaller aspects of lighting are making more lighting preferences possible.

Reach out to us at to see how Bossard can help you with your lighting fastener needs.

February 23, 2018
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Joining CFRP: Attachment Methods for bigHead® Fasteners

bigHead® Fasteners

Choosing the right method of attachment for bigHead® fasteners can literally make or break your application. With innovations in materials and processes daily, in a continuously growing industry, choosing the right technique is imperative. It all comes down to details.

When it comes to Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) and attaching fasteners there are a few methods to consider. Today, traditional adhesive bonding methods are still effectively used in many production environments.  However, we have new techniques currently in development which include lean bonding and pre-form mechanical fixing prior to molding.

The lean bonding solution utilizes a pre-applied dry film adhesive, induction heating and pressure to reduce bonding time dramatically. Bonding times well under a minute can be expected. As an alternative to the adhesive bonding methods, bigHead® fasteners can be attached to CFRP by stitching, tufting, over-laminating or clinching into the pre-formed material.

For a more practical application, outlined below are techniques for attaching fasteners into dry fiber pre-forms:

  • Over-laminated: Either with ply-drops/localized or overlay holes to accommodate for stud
  • Stitching/tufting: Fastener retained in place by stitching into pre-form
  • Pocket stitched: Like over-laminated, but with stitching around the fastener to secure inside “pocket”
  • Pre-coupled patch: Fiber patch pre-applied to fastener and incorporated into molding (can be attached by adhesive or stitching/tufting)
  • Clinched: Fastener with spiked protrusions that embed into the pre-form

If you have any questions about bigHead® fastener attachment techniques into preformed CFRP please contact us through

February 16, 2018
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7 Types of Cable Clamps

Cable Clamps

Organizing cables can be a nightmare if it’s not done right the first time. Cable clamps help ensure the work being done is kept neat and clean by providing an assortment of options based on the cable that is being installed. Clamps range from self-aligning, hinged locking, compression, stainless steel, steel cushion and vinyl coated. With several options readily available, it’s best to customize the clamp to the type of cable being implemented and the environment that the cable is being installed in.

Self-Aligning Clamps

Self-aligning clamps are designed with rounded edges to reduce the hazard of chafed cables. The style of the self-aligning clamp also safeguards the cables with the interlocking technology that mounts and secures the line so that it cannot separate from the brace.

Hinged Locking Clamps

Hinged locking clamps have a hinged design that locks in place while providing tension relief from the wires. These unique brackets also reduce vibration as they hold the cables securely in place.

Compression Cable Clamps

Compression cable clamps also operate on a hinge. Unlike the hinged locking clamps, the compression braces allow for the addition and removal of cables over time. These could be useful when implementation of future cables is expected.

Steel Cable Stays

Steel cable stays offer a quick and simple way to secure cables. These steel cable stays have an adhesive back support that offers a secure grip for cable installation.

Stainless Steel Cable Clamps

Stainless steel cable clamps were designed to tolerate tougher environments. Their corrosion resistant construction and thoughtfully stamped edges ensure a secure hold for cables. The style, much like the self-aligning clamps, also protects wires from deteriorating from friction.

Steel Cushion Clamps

Steel cushion clamps have an EPDM cushion that lines the inner workings of the clamp. This rubber lining absorbs vibrations and provides insulation for electrical wiring. These braces also resist erosion as part of its zinc electroplated make-up.

Vinyl Coated Clamps

Vinyl coated clamps offer more flexibility. There are two types: the steel clamp and the steel spring clamp. They both offer a grip and insulation through the vinyl construction. The softer steel offers the ability to manipulate the shape based on the wires that are being installed. It’s also worth noting that the spring clamps may show more favor to ribbon cables while still supporting rounded cables too. While these clamps fasten to the wall, their flexibility allows them to remain fastened as adjustments are made to the actual hold of the cables.

Not sure which cable clamp is best for your application? Contact us at to speak with one of our engineers.

February 09, 2018
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The Benefits of Understanding Basic Fastener Finish Requirements

When designing a bolted joint, many engineers look to a library of current designed-in parts, which is a great practice and should always be the first step when selecting possible fastening components. Many times, a part gets selected based on the dimensions of the fastener and is chosen for that reason alone. If the fastener’s finish is overlooked, it could be outperforming its requirements with regards to the finish. Basic knowledge of plating and coating practices can help create cost effective designs.

In one example, a bolt already in one customer’s fastener library had a finish designed for a corrosive environment. The finish standard limited that particular finish to one applicator. Without a basic knowledge of finishes, it is difficult to understand the consequences of requiring a bolt to use such a restricted supply base. After reviewing the example application, a suggestion was made to change the finish on the fastener to a coating more readily available in the industry. This suggestion resulted in a cost savings of over $30,000 per year.

A basic understanding of any implemented coating could help reduce initial cost of the bolted joint and will help the designer create a cost-effective design.

For more information on how you can create a more cost-effective bolted joint design, contact us at


Brandon Bouska
Application Engineer

February 02, 2018
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Why You Should Select a Fastener Distributor Carefully

Fastener stores and distributors are everywhere so it should be simple to pick out a fastener for a specific job or assembly, right?

Many large retail chains and small distributors purchase fasteners with the sole purpose of getting the right diameter and length. These companies do not inspect these orders for compliance, nor do they verify that the supplier or manufacturer is meeting any specific standard.

Most likely these companies do not even know about or understand the requirements for fasteners. There are many standards institutes and organizations worldwide, such as ISO, ANSI, ASME, DIN and JIS. Every country will have their own standard system that covers fasteners, methods for testing fasteners, or both. These standards specify requirements for dimensions, thread size (major diameter, minor diameter and pitch), as well as the mechanical requirements, such as hardness and tensile strength.

These requirements are to be inspected and tested by the manufacturer. How do you know that the suppliers follow these guidelines or that the fasteners they supply meet these requirements?

Contact us through and see what steps we take to ensure we provide quality fasteners from proven manufacturers.


Jon Rathe

January 26, 2018
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Why Process Control is Important for Fasteners – Continued

It is not uncommon for fastener manufacturers to adopt an SOP (standard operating procedure) and perform final inspection of the product after it is completed.

Do you believe final inspection is the best detection method?

Not always. If the product was contracted out of the manufacturers facility for heat treatment, patch, coatings or sorting, many things can potentially happen when the product is shipped out for further processing that the manufacturer cannot control. Product may be damaged, mixed with other types of product, or missed critical processes such as heat treatment or baking requirements. At minimum, all containers received back from outside services should go through a thorough visual inspection, and the certifications received back from contractors should be reviewed, as it is important to understand them.

So how many processes are there to make a simple hardened hex head cap screw with a patch?

Typically, there are manufacturing drawings created by an engineering group that are then reviewed and officially released for production. Wire is then ordered, sometimes delivered in a raw state, then cleaned, pickled, and drawn to a specific diameter. When completed, off to production:

  • Heading/Forming
  • Cleaned
  • Thread Rolling
  • Secondary (drilling/turning/milling/straightening), if applicable
  • Heat Treatment
  • Surface Treatment
  • Patch Application

So which process is most important?

They all are! If a non-conformity is not detected “in process”, the manufacturer will invest more time and resources in further processes, and hopefully detect the non-conformity during a final sample inspection, or even worse, at the customer.

Contact us through, and find out what robust quality processes we encourage Bossard manufacturers to practice to ensure good quality fasteners for our customers.


Tony Peters
Quality Manager

January 19, 2018
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Are Prints Needed for Fasteners?

What is a “special” fastener?  It is important to differentiate between standards and specials when identifying fasteners to be purchased or quoted.  If a fastener can be defined in a simple text description, it is not “special” and should not require a blueprint. See the following standard metric fastener description per ISO 8991:

Hexagon head bolt ISO 4014 – M12 x 80 – 8.8 – A2C

Customers will often create prints for fasteners and detail every dimension. This slows down the quoting process because every dimension has to be verified as “standard” or “special” by every manufacturer who looks at the print. Best practices for specials is to dimension only those items that are non-standard, and reference a dimensional standard for those items which are not special. For standard parts, a print is not needed, so save yourself the trouble and don’t make a print!

Contact us through with any questions or more information regarding standard and special fasteners and components.


Doug Jones
Applications Engineer




January 12, 2018
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