Fasteners – their Usage and Types:
Fasteners are one of the commonly used and widely available components to create temporary joints, a joint which can be removed or dismantled without destructing or damaging the joining components. They are used across all spheres of our daily life, i.e right from our regular household appliances to modern gadgets, and heavy machineries too. They are of many different like common stapler, nuts, bolts, nails, or screws. Most of the fasteners available in the market are designed for a specific application and so they must be used appropriately.
Some of the commonly used male fasteners in the industry are hex head, slotted head, flat (or countersunk) head, round head, socket head, button head and socket set screw, whereas the female fasteners are regular hexagonal nuts and nylon ring elastic stop nuts (lock nuts).It is highly critical to have good knowledge about the correct usage of fasteners, especially when in use for harsher conditions. If the connecting points are of acidic in nature or usage temperature is moisture in nature or frequent chemical changes, then it becomes more significant to choose the right fastener for such situations. The methods for applying the fasteners must be tailored and designed to exceed the maximum possible abuses it can face in due course of protecting the object it has been fixed to.
Fasteners, especially like bolts and nuts are manufactured by traditional processes like forging and machining methodology. In order to manufacture nuts, a steel rod is fed to an automatic nut forging machine. Then the semi-finished nuts are passed through tapping machine to form the internal thread, which is followed by normalizing process to release the internal stress formed in the nuts. Similarly in making bolts, the steel rod is passed to the double stroke cold header machine followed by the machining of the bolt head to any shape desired for the bolt by using the bolt head trimmer.
Most of the commonly used fasteners are made from Carbon Steel, Alloy Steel, Stainless Steel, Titanium, and Aluminum. Fasteners made by different materials has different .For eg. Fasteners made by Aluminum is used to bear lighter loads, whereas the ones made by Titanium is used by aircraft manufacturers. Sometimes they are provided special coating by Cadmium, Zinc, Phosphate, Chromium, Silver, Black Oxidizing and Nickel to improve their performance.
Evolution of Fasteners
Going beyond the conventional methods, these days hybrid fasteners are widely used. They are manufactured by unconventional materials, combination of metal and injection molded plastic elements. Advantage of this technique is, it is less expensive, lighter in weight, easier to manipulate and install, than traditional mechanical fasteners. Since plastic is being used, so they also encourage color-coding, which can be used for identification purposes, parts matching or cosmetics too. Most of the recent innovations in fastening technology is due to the modern marketplace requirements for smaller and light packages, quicker and cost effective manner. The category of fasteners has expanded to specific functional performance. The best way to take full advantage of current and future fastening technology is for product designers to take supplier’s support at the component design level, as it can help in better research and launch better quality of fasteners in the market.