Custom Nuts - Challenge Europe provide the solution

Our custom nuts meet many widely varying needs in materials such as steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminium, plastic or exotics like titanium. There are many different styles on the market today. Amongst the commonest are the Full Nut, the Lock Nut (sometimes referred to as a Half-Nut or Thin Nut) and the Nylon Insert Self-Locking Nut.

Special shapes include curved combi-washers/collars to fit tubing etc., or castellated designs of varying pitch to allow for indexed adjustment. Options are almost endless, and the final choice is heavily dependent upon the service expectations required.

Essentially conceived as any piece of metal (or plastic) with a thread in it intended to be fixed to a component, special nuts can have C wrench slots, pin wrench holes, may be double-ended or welded (projection weld nut) to a foot plate or bracket. All metal self-locking nuts are available where higher temperatures are likely to be experienced. These include Aerotight, Philidas, Stover, Binx, Cleveloc and many others, all providing anti-vibration loosening characteristics.

Security (anti-vandal) nuts available include Kinmar, both permanent and removable, Tufnuts, Scroll Nuts and the ever-popular Shear Nut. Flange Nuts, both plain and serrated flange, fill another gap where load spreading is required without the need of a washer, while the serrated flange version also provides a degree of resistance to loosening under vibration. The Combi-Nut design is another configuration that provides load spreading where a washer is trapped into the nut but is free to rotate. Versions fitted with an external toothed shakeproof washer can also offer an element of resistance to vibration loosening.

The team here at Challenge Europe are experienced in fabrication of custom nuts in-house or with trusted subcontractors against a program of supply chain demand for industrial manufacturing. Combined with a range of materials and finishes you pretty much have a nut for every occasion, meeting the demands across industries as diverse as lighting, electronics, general equipment, refuse processing, machine tools, conveyors and automated/specialist vehicles.

Contact us to discuss your custom nut requirement.

Custom fasteners - a speciality from Challenge Europe from screws and bolts to formed and threaded rods

From some of the simplest and most commonly available fasteners such as the humble machine screw to the more specialised and often heavily customised bolt Challenge Europe can help in all formats. Threaded fasteners are perhaps uniquely adaptable since designs can readily be adjusted to suit many diverse applications requiring non-standard lengths, intermediate diameters as well as alternatives to the generally available materials of steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and nylon.

These alternate materials include titanium, copper, phosphor bronze, duplex and super duplex stainless steels. Threaded fasteners with special heads may be needed such as bar type (T form) to locate in slots, or bolts for special purposes, e.g. welded to a foot plate or spiked for use in materials processing machinery such as drums where replacement is often required.

A common form of specialist bolt is the U bolt or hook where the extended bolt can be formed in such a way as to create a completely different item of custom dimensions. Further refinement is then possible with varying surface treatments such as zinc and clear, chemi black or anodising.

It is truly remarkable how versatile the humble screw has become and how readily suppliers like Challenge Europe can create that special solution.

Challenge Europe supply chain management

Manufacturing philosophies are subject to change and fashion, but here we find that the one constant is the need for trust between suppliers and manufacturing customer. For more detail see here – or read on for an overview.

Indeed, it can be seen that this “hand-in-glove” relationship may often become so close that it is difficult to discern where the boundaries lie – who orders, who determines stock levels, who even carries or funds the stock, who establishes the final specification, who a particular operative actually works for. In such an intimate relationship, egos are subjugated to efficiency, quality and flexibility in the process which can involve:

  • Secondary assembly, kit collation, lineside supply and other protocols.
  • Supplier managed stock – ordinary, delivery to site.
  • Combined supply of:
  • Standard fasteners, special fasteners
  • Custom fasteners
  • Specialist components, assemblies and finished components
  • Production kit
  • Delivery to site on schedule

With the supplier acting as a stock/supply node that can bring together the outsourcing and supply of components for their small to medium SME customers in the manufacturing industry. Such an intimate relationship builds a supply chain management package as a trusted part of a system, improving efficiency, raising quality, reducing costs. Taking the worry out of day-to-day supply issues.

Stocking & Delivery:

Sourcing and the supply chain in a manufacturing cycle – key factors fall under the headings of Stock Inventory control, Site management, Production system integration.

Quality & Service:

By understanding and satisfying the needs of a customer a contractor can recognise that the assurance of quality is a fundamental factor governing all work conducted within the supply chain relationship model under the considerations of:

  • In house approval
  • ISO9000 systems
  • Quality products, suppliers
  • Hi-tech applications
  • Sophisticated materials
  • Specialist processes
  • High volumes, low fault tolerances

Thus, partnerships in engineering, product enhancement, component supply and assembly, stocking and delivery, costs and pricing, in-house investment and sourcing/supply infrastructure support the manufacturing process through service elements comprising ex-stock, VMI, JIT, Kanban, Linefeed etc., technical support, trade counter, fast response capacity, sub-assembly processes, supply administration, sourcing consultancy and national/international logistics management.

Challenge Europe custom components

Product Enhancement:

Successful manufacturing relationships contribute to on-going product improvement by suggesting and supplying components of alternative materials which can reduce component counts and shortening assembly times.

As concept consultants an excellent supplier can advise on optimal design-for-production (DFP) values at the product concept stage and provide pre-production advice on the handling of components, kits and sub-assemblies. This allows processes and component stocks to be tailored for the production line by negotiating component supply, implementing assembly planning/ methodology, design of kit specifications, component grouping and packaging to meet specific production needs. In addition, subcontractors can carry out physical assembly/packaging operating to ISO9001 accredited quality systems to international standards and a corporate vendor approval process.

See here for more detail or Contact us to discuss your manufacturing component needs.

Challenge Europe - construction floor anchors - types and usage

We are pleased to announce that our warehouse stocks a number of basic types of construction floor anchor including the Shield Anchor and the Throughbolt designs, both of which work on a similar principle of an expanding sleeve for fixing into concrete flooring. They are also known as wedge anchor bolts and are available in carbon steel, zinc plated and hot dipped galvanised, also in stainless steel.

Of the two, Throughbolts are often preferred because they may be used where the hole has to be drilled after the steel flange has been positioned, while Shield Anchors need to be installed before the flange is positioned.

Generically other styles of construction floor anchors, such as Sleeve Anchors and Drop-in Anchors, are also available designed for use in materials like concrete that do not take a thread and are resistant to screws or nails.  These devices generally utilise a system for casting in place or for post fix (like throughbolts or shield anchors) by using an expanding wedge design, whereas embedded floor anchors (often referred to as Rag bolts) use a specially formed end for casting in place or for post fix using a 2-part resin injection system.

Custom special threaded fasteners – a “stock” service at Challenge Europe

The team here at Challenge Europe recognise that manufacturing today is very much a partnership operation, based on mutual respect and trust, succeeding on the varied skills of the parties involved and the strength of their relationship, often forged over many years. Such is the case with sub-contract suppliers of specialist components and small quantities where efficiency at small scale is key to achieving desired outcomes.

Typically, a “special” can be something as simple as a modified standard item – probably ex-stock plus a second operation but difficult to fit into an established assembly process. Otherwise a designed-from first principles component requiring ground-up manufacturing in its own right but requiring special parameters, skills or equipment in its production. This may require anything from knowledge-based sourcing of base components through creation from raw stock, fabrication and assembly dependent on specific needs.

These Specials and Custom small volume manufacturing projects are frequently jobs that are a problem for bigger manufacturers, where it is not cost-effective to program large and expensive automated equipment. So, when standard fastenings are not suitable a custom solution is needed from a specialist sub-contract manufacturing facility. This capability is ideal for small quantities and extends to partnering arrangements with fabricators and finishers so that a wide range of items may be covered from specialist threaded fasteners to sheet metal or cast fixings. In-house machining is often coupled with a global sourcing and supply infrastructure and in-depth expertise of the manufacturing cycle.

This capability enables production of components from alternative materials at short notice and incorporation into packaged sub-assemblies. In this way customers gain an overall package of high-quality and low-cost for their standard mass-produced items and for small quantity specialist components.

Examples of this sort of special cover the gamut of:

  • Screws – lengths, non-standard threads, machined e.g. shoulders, holes for locking wire, tapered lead-ins, thin/shallow heads
  • Brackets and special fittings, stand-offs etc., small assemblies for manufacturing.
  • Complete assemblies, e.g. specialist light fittings, electronics fitted to housings, electrical equipment fitted to chassis.
  • Components – machinery, thread forming.
  • Manufacturing kits for lineside supply.

Find out more about our custom special threaded fasteners service.

Action Can from Challenge Europe for manufacturers and installers

As specialists in the world of industrial threaded fasteners, our team are pleased to announce stocking of the Action Can range of industrial aerosols.

Explains our M.D. Kevin Moorcroft “we deal every day with manufacturers, installers and service engineers who are in constant need of high quality consumables and we find the Action Can range meets the exacting requirements of professional engineers for anti-corrosion products and paints, cleaners, lubricants, metal working sprays, along with general workshop products.”

This Action Can range offered at the trade counter and for general order, includes lubricants, cleaning sprays, foams and many related aerosols such as copper grease, cutting fluids, car cleaner, anti-static spray, welders anti-spatter spray, brake and clutch cleaner, glass cleaner, chain lube (also food grade), freeze spray, electrical control cleaner, isopropyl alcohol cleaner, corrosion inhibitors, stainless steel cleaner and many more.

Adds Kevin “engineers find this range of 60 high quality aerosol products to be a quick and very convenient way to apply these important industrial materials on demand and to be easy to store on the production line, workbench or in a service vehicle.”

Challenge Europe address urgent need for "O" rings

The team here at Challenge Europe have found that alongside our core threaded fastener range, there is a demand for sealing “O” rings on an urgent basis – and consequently we decided to enhance stock levels to meet the need.

Common requirements for “O” rings come in Nitrile (NBR), EPDM, Viton®, Silicone, Polyurethane and Neoprene with many others also called for to suit the needs of practically every industrial sector.

Our team here can support both production line requirements and supply “O” rings as consumable items for manufacturing plant. Indeed, any application where seals for liquids and gasses are an essential requirement. We stock standard metric and imperial sizes to ensure that production lines keep moving and maintenance operations can proceed smoothly.

These “O” rings function as seals between fixed faces in static assemblies or as dynamic seals between moving components, e.g. in cylinder and piston configurations or on rotating shafts in valving equipment.

Back-up rings are also available in a range of materials and styles.

Challenge Europe offer thread locking devices, ex-stock

We are delighted to offer ex-stock thread locking solutions for general industrial assembly purposes. One of the most common and simplest solution to problems of vibration loosening of threaded fasteners is by use of a conventional locking nut or half nut.

Use of a full nut provides an easy fitment which pulls from the same stock as the main fastener. A locking half nut above the full nut leaves “head room” – indeed, where two half nuts are used, this can make a quite significant difference in cramped situations.

Full nuts are available in all metric sizes to fit screws and bolts. Commonly they are available as cold forged parts but larger sizes are often bar turned from hexagonal bar. Half nuts are available in steel, stainless steel or brass.

Ex-stock self-locking nuts are frequently a preferred solution since they reduce the number of operations and order lines. Also known as stiff nuts and sometimes prevailing torque nuts, these are available in a range of styles but they all operate in a similar way having an interference fit mechanism that provide anti-loosening characteristics. Standard reference types include nylon insert nuts, Philidas® nuts, Binx® nuts, Aerotight® nuts and Stover nuts.

How to choose a screw drive - a brief guide from Challenge Europe

Anyone regularly using simple slotted drive screws – with a traditional straight bladed screwdriver, will be aware of its shortcomings – with a power driver then even more so. The old-style slotted drive will “cam-out” easily, is almost impossible to centre and if the tool or slot is even slightly worn, then is extremely different to install or remove.

Consequently, with the need in industry for a faster, more reliable approach a variety of different styles are now available from suppliers such as Challenge Europe.

The first seems to have been the Phillips – a cross-head design centred in the screw head with a matching drive tool, either manual or powered. The sides of each blade are slightly tapered and rounded so that the tool will rise out of the cross-head rather than break off the head. However, this limits tightening torque which led to the Pozidrive screw with flat sides and a more sophisticated design so as to engage more firmly with the driver, enabling much higher torque values to be achieved.

Importantly, the self-centring action of these drive styles greatly aids ease and speed of use, either manually or in automatic feed systems.

A more recent development is the six-armed star Torx™ approach which is a precision parallel-sided design for higher torque and finds great popularity in the motor vehicle industry.

Interestingly, one of the oldest head styles and still one of the highest performing and commonest is the hex drive – with internal socket formed in the head or with external hexagonal shape to accept a socket wrench tool. Internal hex drives, often referred to generically as Allen key drives, are a precision drive with high performance, available in an extensive size range. Whereas the traditional external hex head is commoner on lower cost bolts and setscrews. Both offer stability in operation but often need some “help” in centring. This is commonly achieved by providing a spherical end to the drive for an internal hex or a chamfered lead-in on an external hex head.

Machine screws, bolts, self-tappers, self-drilling screws and woodscrews are all available with at least 2 or 3 of these drive styles and making the right choice can make or mar an installation or assembly process. In case of doubt, consulting with your supplier is always advised.

Challenge Europe - specialist screws in various materials and finishes

As industry screw specialists we recently announced the breadth of screw materials and finishes we work with on behalf of our industrial/manufacturing customers.

The rational for using various materials or treatments/coatings is usually either technical or cost based. This can vary from improved corrosion resistance by using stainless steel, zinc plated, zinc-nickel plated, galvanised, chrome plated, nickel plated or plastic screws. Improved electrical connection is often important and can be achieved by using brass screws or the copper plating of steel screws, in some instances silver plating is also an option. Where insulating properties are required many styles of plastic screws are now available.

Equally, light weight applications may suggest aluminium or titanium alloy fasteners. Appearance requirements may call for chrome plated screws – whereas cost considerations may demand self-colour steel or the more basic of the fastener range, dependent upon the application.

Good looks or ease of use are indeed frequent considerations, perhaps to minimise intrusion of the drive pattern into the head design or to match a desired drive style, e.g. hex, Torx™ or other with assembly equipment or desired torque values – and of course if in doubt please contact us to discuss your needs. 

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