The term fasteners covers a very wide range of products covering a multitude of industries. Manufacturing, construction & engineering all use fasteners to create components, structures and ever more complicated products. They are now more than ever an intergral part of design with safety, strength and durability at the fore front of any new project. The History of Fasteners tracks this development since the invention of the fastener.
Choosing the right fastener
Fasteners can be split into a number of categories, each with their own characteristics. On this page you'll find a small amount of information to give you an overview, followed by an link to a more comprehensive guide to each product.
Hexagon headed bolting products included fully thread set screws, part threaded bolts, flanged hexagon set screws, studding, coach bolts, high strength friction grip bolt & nuts, holding down bolts & lifting eyes. Complete bolting products range available.
Bolts are probably the most common fastener used in the construction industry. It is most commonly right hand threaded (although left hand is available) and available in sizes ranging from 2mm to over 100mm in diameter. They are also available in a variety of materials including steel, stainless steel, titanium, brass, monel, aluminium and finishes including zinc plated, hot dipped galvanised, Sheraplex (blue, black, silver) & Rilsan, each with its own distinctive properties of strength and corrosion resistance.
Socket screws is the general name given to 7 different particular fasteners mainly used in the engineering industry. The feature they all have in common is the recessed hexagonal insert or drive, which allows the socket screw to be tighted or released. The different styles include socket button, cap, countersunk, set, flange button, shoulder & taper pressure plug. Complete socket screw range distrubuted in the UK.
Sockets screws are widely used in the manufacturing of engineering products due to their strength and the simple fact they will sit flush with a surface as opposed a bolt or set screw, which sits proud of the product. Socket screws use a hexagon wrench to tighten or release the fastener.
Washers come in many forms but are usually a round shaped disc with a hole in the middle. They are an integral part of the fixing process, designed to spread the load when a nut is being tightening onto a bolting product or prevent the nut from loosening under vibration. When using a washer the material of the washer should be the same of that the nut and bolt it is being used with.
Industrial nuts are used in conjunction with bolts or hex sets to mechanically fasten two products together. Usually hexagon in shape the round centre groves fit precisely to the opposing bolt. There are many thread forms available with metric being the most common in the UK and Europe, UNC and UNF the most popular in America and BSW & BSF old thread forms, which are still seen on old machinery or cars within the UK.
Again, they are most commonly right hand threaded (although left hand is available) and available in sizes ranging from 2mm to over 100mm in diameter and available in the same materials that bolts are made from.
Fasteners, including nuts, bolts & screws have been around for centuries. The Romans used nuts & bolts to secure chariot wheels but it was the great Leonardo da Vinci in the late 1400's who first demonstrated the use of a jack screw for lifting loads. Early bolts were handmade and difficult to match with nuts, no two were the same. The Industrial Revolution demanded mass production and standardized sizing.
In 1797, Henry Maudsley designed a lathe that precisely cut threads and in America the notion of nut and bolt manufacture originated with Mr. Micah Rugg, a small country blacksmith, in the town of Marion, Southington Township, Connecticut in 1818. In studying the best methods of making tools to manufacture implements, he invented two machines for making carriage bolts. Carriage bolts, cup square hex or coach bolts as they are known today are still as popular now as they were back then.
Manufacturers in this industry produce a wide and ever-changing variety of products that fall under the general name "industrial fasteners." According to the Industrial Fastener Institute, the trade association for the industry, a fastener is "a mechanical device for holding two or more bodies in definite position with respect to each other. A high percentage of fasteners have threads as part of their design, but unthreaded items such as rivets, clevis pins, machine pins, etc., are considered fasteners as well." The industry produces fasteners using the primary manufacturing operations of heading, upsetting, forming, forging, and extruding.
Research and Technology
There have been many changes to the American Fastener Industry history since the start of early fastener production. Ever since fasteners were invented demands for stronger, lighter, and easier-to-use products have always been at the forefront of the industry. However, in the early 1990s, the fastener industry improved greatly as we saw an increase in demand for light, small fasteners, which continued throughout the decade and into the Millenium.
This was fuelled by the popularity of laptop's, PDA's, Ipod's and smartphones. Buyers were also demanding greater innovation and more unusual fasteners such as self-locking, security tamper proof head styles or greater durability screws, bolts, nuts, and threaded inserts according to a Purchasing article on fasteners and the aerospace industry. Fastener manufacturers were also working to develop more environmentally friendly finishes such as fasteners that maintain their protective coating without the use of cadmium or Hexavalent chromium (Cr6). Both are suspected carcinogens.
Fasteners today under go high standards of qualuty checking. DIN, ISO, BS and other industry standards ensure manufactures & distributors maintain and check quality throughout the supply chain process. "Improved industry standards, enforcement of those standards, and quality control personnel at both the distributor and manufacturer levels have made the FAQ redundant," according to Barbara Somerville in a 1998 article for Industrial Distribution. Towards this end, the industry instituted end-of-line quality control assessments and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques such as quality assessment on the assembly line. The result has been greatly improved quality control and fewer rejects. "Under the old system, it wasn't uncommon to have a defect ratio of 50K/1 million," says Robert Harris, Managing Director of the Industrial Fastener Institute. "Today's in-line quality assurance techniques have reduced defects to below 100 ppm."
Fasteners come in all types, shapes & sizes. There are usually 4 or 5 common properties, which most fasteners have. Thread, diameter, length, material and finish.
Fastener Thread Forms
Thread types vary and are often determined by whether the orginal product was destined for a perticular market. In the UK the most common thread types are metric. However, before the metric system fasteners were made with BA or British Association, BSW or British Standard Whitworth and BSF or British standard fine. American threads are different again and are called UNC or Unified Coarse and UNF, which is Unified Fine. These are the most popular types and all are available in the UK and from Fix8.
Fastener Diameters & Lengths
Diameters in the metric system start from M1.2 or 1.2mm and go up to 100mm or M100. Other diameters Length can vary from very short to very long but usually go up proportionately to the diameter.
Fasteners can be made from almost any material. The material a fastener is dependant on two main characteristics - how strong the fastener is required to be/how much stress the fastener will be put under and how long the fastener is required to stay in place i.e. what environmental pressures will the fastener be exerted to over time.
The two most common forms are steel and stainless steel. However, even within these two different types there are many sub categories. Steel is available mild steel 4.6 or high tensile grades 8.8, 10.9, 12.9 & 14.9. Non-corrosive materials such as stainless steel is available in A2 304 or A4 316, which is sometimes called Marine Grade Stainless. It is a higher grade often used where a high salt content is present. i.e near the sea and hence the name. Fasteners can also be made titanium, petro-chemical grades, brass, copper and many others. If you are thinking about possible materials for your project our guide of fastener materials is an excellent place to start your choice.
Hexagon Bolts are another very common fastener. Part threaded, again most commonly right hand threaded are available from 5mm to over 100mm in diameter. They are available in a variety of finishes including zinc plated, stainless steel A2 (304) & A4 (316).
Fix8 supply a vast array of socket screws. Socket buttons, countersunk and socket cap screws are the most popular. However, socket set, shoulder, flange and taper pressure plugs are also available. They are available in the usual finishes of stainless steel A2 & A4 316, self colour and bright zinc plated.
We stock a large selection of fasteners to suit any job! You can be sure to find the fastener you are looking for from our online store ranging from nuts and bolts to every type of screw you could think of.
Nuts, bolts and screws are not the only type of fasteners in the industry, you may need an selection of different fasteners depending on the job and what you need to fasten to. And we are sure that you will find just what your after from our wide range of fasteners!
Our extensive stock of fasteners can all be found on our Fasteners page and include: Blind Rivet Nuts, Blind Rivets, Cable Ties, Coach Bolts, Hexagon Bolts, Hexagon Set Screws, High Strength Friction Grip B & N, Machine Screws, Nuts, Nylon Fasteners, Pins, Roofing Bolts & Nuts, Security Fasteners, Socket Button Screws, Socket Cap Screws, Socket Countersunk Screws, Socket Set Screws, Studding & Allthreads and Washers.