Fastener Technology

4 Handy Tips from an Engineer for Using Washers

Washer Selection

When designing joints with washers, it is important to understand and use the correct washer for the job. Below are a few tips for making a good selection:

1. When using flat washers, match washer hardness with bolt and/or nut hardness to avoid joint settling.

  • 140 HV ≤ 8
  • 200 HV ≤ 8
  • 300 HV ≤ 9

2. Split lock washers are not intended for use with hardened bolts/nuts, only with property class ≤ 8.

Washer 1

3. Toothed lock washers are designed to permit electric current flow between components, and do not provide much of a locking feature. They are also only used for low property class ≤ 8.

Washer 2

4. Specialty washers exist for high strength joints, for example:

  • Rip-Lok – designed for property class 8.8
  • Conical spring washer with serrations on top

Washer 3

  • Schnorr washer – designed for property class 10.9
  • Small OD conical spring washer with serrations on both sides

Washer 4

For more details on selecting the correct washers for your application, checkout or send us an email at

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Doug Jones
Applications Engineer

September 28, 2018
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Quick Guide: Installing Rivet Nuts

Rivet Nuts

How do I know if I have the right installation force? Did I set it right? Do I have the right tool? These are some of the most valid questions when installing and using rivet nuts. Knowing the mating material, grip range, hole size, and clamp force will aid in getting the right fit for the joint in your application. Securing a proper clamp load will prevent from loosening and/or rotational loss. Understanding the creep and material relaxation is also important when using this joint design.

Finding the Correct Fit



Examples of Rivet Nut Applications

There is a lot to consider when choosing the right rivet nut. There are many choices for body styles, material, and coating finishes. Let the experts at Bossard help you narrow down your search and get you on the right path to a secure joint. Let us help you save money and avoid costly warranties or claims. Contact us at to learn more.

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John Syharath
Technical Sales

September 14, 2018
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How Pre-Applied Thread Lock Patches Can Save You Time and Money

Preapplied Thread Patches

If assembly requires applying liquid thread locker to any threads, pre-applied thread locking patches should be investigated.  Pre-applied thread locking patches could potentially be an untapped area for both time savings and cost savings.

Thread Locking Materials

Pre-applied thread locking materials work in a couple different ways. A nylon thread locker pushes work by forcing metal to metal contact between the threads on the opposite side of the applied area. Because of the way this type of thread locker works, coating all 360° of the threads is not advised.  This type of patch can be reused if care is taken. A thread locking patch works like a two-part epoxy. When installation occurs, the two parts mix together and after the two parts set, the area between the threads are filled. This type of thread locker can only be used once and if the joint needs to be serviced, a bolt with a new patch must be used.

Filling the thread tolerance area between the threads will help resolve some vibrational loosening that might be occurring.

There are many features of pre-applied thread locking patches including the amount of locking material applied to the threads is more consistent, parts can be processed in large lot quantities, and the pre-applied thread locking patch usually has a long shelf life.

Please feel free to contact Bossard to help answer any questions that may arise.

For more information on thread locking patches, check out or contact us directly at

Brandon Bouska
Application Engineer

September 07, 2018
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Benefits of Low Force Seals

SFC Koenig Banner

Now more than ever consumers are demanding vehicles that are ecologically friendly, as well as fuel efficient, so they can save more at the pump. To meet this demand, automotive engineers are faced with the task of designing capable engines to fit these new requirements. Often, that means making the engines on all vehicles, from small compact cars to large trucks, smaller and lighter.

To reduce engine weight and size, the components must be tightly condensed together, giving the engine parts little wiggle room. The necessary ports and passages used to deliver oil and all the other mandatory engine operations must be carefully integrated into the remaining available space, resulting in thin port walls.

The Challenge of Thin Port Walls

Engine Block BossThin port walls are quickly becoming more common, but they aren’t built to withstand the usual methods of older style plugs, such as cup plugs or threaded screws. These older plug styles can vary greatly in their results, causing a larger fluctuation in process performance—and with thin port walls and tightly packed engine components, even a small discrepancy during the installation process can cause a disaster.

The process must be precise and accurate every time to prevent damage or leakage, as many times ports are in a dangerous proximity to bearings or moving parts. Engineers have consequently been relying on low stress expander seals to attain reliable, precision sealing.

Benefits of Low Force Seals

Low Force SealsLow force seals, such as SFC KOENIG EXPANDER® plugs, cause less damage to the port wall and components, having minimal effect on even the most complex engine geometries. All the advantages of low force seals are listed here below:

  • Less negative effects on engine components
  • Prevent cracking of base
  • Avoid expansion of port into nearby components
  • Reduce the risk of leaks and wear
  • Less effect on overall system performance
  • Comes with its own installation equipment to ensure needed precision; gives the installer more control

Unlike cup plugs, threaded plugs and the like, low force seals provide leak-proof security and work well when dealing with extremely sensitive applications. Their reliability is even more critical when dealing with ports located deep within the maze of a tightly packed engine. Due to the little to no margin-for-error in engines with thin port walls, the strict tolerances and reliable installation methods of low force seals are essential to the successful performance of these modern machines.

For more information about SFC KOENIG EXPANDER® plugs and their other products, contact us at

August 31, 2018
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A Complete Guide to Fastener Strategy – Part 4

Fastener Strategy Part 4

Another consideration when building a fastener strategy is drive styles, especially in smaller screws with internal recess drives. If no fastener strategy is enforced, many customers may have several different styles in their bill of materials, creating a proliferation of similar parts. Some of the more common drive styles are shown below:



  • A slotted head style is not recommended for use in high volume or automated assembly. Sometimes this drive is still the best option for access panels that need to be serviced in the field using simple, readily available tools.


  • This is a common drive for most head styles and okay for higher volume assembly. One disadvantage is that the tapered side walls of the drive require significant down force during tightening or removal to prevent the tool from slipping and damaging the drive. Once the drive is damaged, it can be hard to remove.


  • Similar to Phillips, a Pozidriv head style has vertical side walls in the drive which have less tendency to “cam-out” when installing or removing. This drive typically extends tool life in high volume assembly but does require a Pozidriv driver bit which can be confused for a Phillips drive bit. Pozidriv heads can be identified by the four tick marks around the cross (see above). Driver bits are marked with a “pz” while Phillips are marked with a “ph”. 

Torx, Torx Plus or Hexalobular

  • These drives have been around for several years and are more readily available in metric than inch hardware. Torx and hexalobular are very similar and use the same driver, while Torx Plus has slightly different geometry and offers longer tooling life in high volume assembly. Torx driver bits are marked with “T” while Torx plus are marked with “IP”.


  • This is an internal hex drive which uses a hex key, sometimes also referred to as an Allen key. It is often used in larger diameter bolts which have limited space for a standard socket as a driver. In smaller screws, the internal hex may become damaged as tooling wears, which can make them difficult to remove.

For more information on the availability of these drive styles, and which one best fits your needs, check out or contact us directly at

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Doug Jones
Applications Engineer

August 24, 2018
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A Complete Guide to Fastener Strategy – Part 3

Fastener Strategy Part 3

Another key component to a fastening strategy is managing or eliminating high risk fasteners. What are high risk fasteners? High risk fasteners are those which are subject to delayed failure, also known as hydrogen embrittlement (HE).

High-Risk Parts

For a part to be considered high risk, it must have three overlapping elements:

  1. A hardness (core or case) in excess of Rockwell C 38
  2. Subjected to processing, which induces hydrogen gas, such as electroplating or acid cleaning
  3. Assembled in a manner which sustains high tensile or bending stress

Common high-risk fasteners are listed below:

  • Electroplated
    • Property class 12.9 screws
    • Alloy steel grade socket head cap screws
    • Case hardened thread rolling screws
    • Retaining rings
    • Spring pins & clips
    • Conical washers – by themselves or assembled to screws of any grade/class (SEMs screws)

Any of the above listed fasteners can be managed by selecting a finish other than electroplating which does not induce hydrogen along with using mechanical cleaning methods.

For more information on high risk fasteners, check out or contact us directly at

For general hardware shop here.

Doug Jones
Applications Engineer

August 17, 2018
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A Complete Guide to Fastener Strategy – Part 2

Fastener Strategy Part 2

As mentioned in part one of this series, many manufacturers treat fasteners as an afterthought, but having a clearly defined fastener strategy can offer many benefits in the long term.

Another key point to consider when building a fastener strategy is joint criticality.

Joint Criticality

Looking at each joint and asking yourself, “What happens if this joint comes loose or fails completely?” is a good way to help guide your strategy. Your levels of response may look something like this:

  • Level 1 – Product may cease to function, but can be easily repaired by consumer – generally not a warranty claim
  • Level 2 – Product may fail but warranty claim is unlikely
  • Level 3 – Product may fail and warranty claim is likely
  • Level 4 – Product may fail and injure consumer

Levels 3 and 4 should help guide your strategy in friction control, locking features, and method of assembly. These joints should use controlled tightening methods and tools along with finishes having specific friction ranges engineered into them. If you are unable to incorporate the five times the diameter clamping range into the joint, locking features may also need to be incorporated to help keep things from loosening.

Warranty issues may be worth investigating when building a fastener strategy as well. If loosening or corrosion problems are prevalent, changes to the strategy may help address these claims in the future.

For help with critical joints, or warranty claims, check us out at or contact us directly at

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Doug Jones
Applications Engineer

August 10, 2018
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A Complete Guide to Fastener Strategy – Part 1

Fastener Strategy Part 1

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!

Finish Requirements

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 or contact us directly at to see how we can help you build your fastener strategy.

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Doug Jones
Applications Engineer

August 03, 2018
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Use ecosyn®-plast Fasteners to Improve Your Lighting Industry Application

Using ecosyn-plast in the Lighting Industry

When it comes to working with thermoplastics, ecosyn®-plast is the go-to thread-forming screw. Many lighting industry components are made of thermoplastic materials that must be assembled, which is where this type of screw comes in.

ecosyn®-plast is useful when dealing with thermoplastics due to its ability to be threaded directly into plastic, thereby removing additional components or inserts. This allows you to eliminate potential quality issues, such as deformation, which occur when threading into plastic with inappropriate threads.

Compared with tapping screws, which are used solely for metals, thread-forming screws like ecosyn®-plast have specifically designed threads for use in thermoplastic applications. These types of screws provide improved material flow and thread load-bearing depth, as well as lower drive torque, higher stripping torque, less risk of cracking, and self-locking capabilities. In contrast, the use of tapping screws in non-metals can increase the risk of cracking and lead to improper thread configuration, causing stress fractures in the plastic.

Another ecosyn®-plast advantage for use in thermoplastics is its optimized thread geometry for low-stress generation in joints. This type of screw is also a Bossard catalog part, meaning it is readily available and easy to acquire. It comes in various head styles and available materials to cover a wide assortment of projects.

When to switch from tapping screws to ecosyn®-plast

Certain projects may benefit from converting to ecosyn®-plast from tapping screws. Below is a list of conversion scenarios our customers have encountered in the past. In these situations, Bossard was able to immediately arrange samples, convert to appropriate thread-forming materials, and rectify the issue at hand:

  1. Customer manufactured various lighting equipment, signaling devices, and switch gears.
  2. Customer used imperial sized self-tapping screws for sheet metal to assemble plastic components.
  3. Customer was experiencing base material distortion.

Inappropriate fastener selection, as highlighted in the above scenarios, can result in issues such as cracking, which can in turn lead to costly product recalls. Selecting a suitable thread-forming screw at the start of your project eliminates potential rework issues and reduces hassle by ensuring your product is assembled correctly the first time.

For more information, check out or contact our engineering department at

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July 20, 2018
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All About Threaded Inserts in the Lighting Industry

Threaded inserts in the lighting industry

Threaded inserts have many valuable uses, especially when it comes to the lighting industry. This type of fastener element creates precise, durable internal threads that are able to withstand higher axial and radial loads compared with self-tapping screws.

There are several factors that will influence the performance of threaded inserts. If you decide to use them and which type to use will depend on the installation method, the material you are using, and what kind of insert support you are looking for.

FASTEKS® makes steel or stainless steel threaded inserts guaranteed to create precise, durable internal threads in workpieces made of light metal alloy and other materials with low shear resistance. They are self-tapping, simple to install and come in six different types, depending on your needs and what kind of project you are working on.

Threaded Inserts Types and Uses

The list below highlights each type and what kind of projects each one is best used for:

  1. The TRISERT®, made out of brass, has a regular head and is used for thermoplastic materials. It has a larger contact surface and can be used in drilled or molded holes. It also has a higher torque and axial forces.
  2. The TRISERT-3®, made out of steel, has a reduced head and is used for light metal and plastics. It can be used in drilled or molded holes. It offers faster installation due to a greater helix angle of the thread flanks, and has corrosion resistance of up to 720 hours to red rust.
  3. The FOAMSERT®, made out of brass, can be either double ended for bidirectional purposes, or have a reduced head. This insert was designed especially for expanded material and wood, and it can be used in drilled or molded holes.
  4. The MULTISERT®, made of brass, is un-headed and particularly suitable for thermoplastic materials. It has a special plain location spigot and has three installation options: press-fitting, ultrasonic insertion or heat insertion.
  5. The MICROBARB®, made out of brass, is particularly suitable for thermoplastics and thin section materials. It’s used especially for applications in electronics and can be installed via press-fitting, ultrasonic insertion or heat insertion.
  6. The HiMOULD®, made of brass, has an open or closed ended design and is used for thermoplastic and thermoset plastics. It is very thin-walled, particularly suitable for applications with low wall thickness. This insert is designed for molded-in applications featuring precise locating pins that ensure proper shut off to prevent plastic flow into the threads compromising integrity.

For more information, check out or contact our engineering department at

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July 13, 2018
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