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. 

Challenge security fasteners

The need to safeguard against theft, vandalism and tampering is an increasingly essential part of many design specifications so we find that  security products from our sales partners Hafren Fasteners are in constant demand and are used in a vast range of security applications in projects and manufacturing all over the world, e.g. in engineering equipment to prevent tampering while leaving access available to qualified personnel with specialist tools, such as 2 hole (often referred to as “snake eye” or “pig nose”) head designs or pin hex screw heads and barrel nuts.

Typical applications include architecture, parks and playgrounds, automotive, instrumentation, airports and rail stations, prisons, signage, fencing, regeneration projects, public venues, on the street.

Most designs are removable in some way by use of specialist tools – other designs, e.g. shear nuts and shear bolts, are not intended for removal other than by destruction, perhaps by grinding, drilling or brute force.

Contact us to discuss your security needs.

Brass threaded inserts from Challenge Europe

We are delighted to carry an ex-stock standard range of metric and imperial threaded inserts for use in the manufacturing and installation industries, in order to provide a robust thread in moulded/fabricated plastic components, where the softness of the substrate precludes a tapped thread.

Threaded inserts are a favourite for use throughout industry where they can provide a quick thread just by drilling or moulding a pilot hole and pressing the insert into place – in electronic/electrical application brass inserts offer good tensile properties, excellent corrosion-resistance and good electrical conductivity.

A well-known and much used solution to fixing onto non-metals, threaded inserts can often provide higher torque or pull out performance by the application of heat or ultrasonic energy to further embed the insert into its substrate.

Expansion and self-tapping inserts are available in brass for use in plastics or in the case of wood, some composite materials and light-weight castings in aluminium or other alloys where steel and stainless self-tapping inserts can be supplied.

Inserts in die cast zinc, steel, brass or stainless steel may be push-fit or inserted by self-tapping thread cutting, others may be moulded in place – contact us for information.

 

Hex drive bolts and screws from Challenge Europe

Hex headed high tensile bolts and screws, together with hex drive socket head cap screws, are the mainstays of industrial fastening and as such are stocked in depth by Challenge Europe as part of their supply partnership philosophy.

Standard high tensile formats include non-flange hex head and flanged designs, along with standard socket cap head, socket button head and socket countersunk designs. Material grades available include 8.8, 10.9, 12.9 and stainless steel to suit the strength and environmental performance characteristics envisaged for the application.

Sizes are typically in the range M2 to M24 with some specifications going larger.

Supply partnership means that Challenge Europe take on the management of a customer supply chain from design specification to lineside supply using lean manufacturing principles or other optimising and integrative manufacturing philosophy to suit customer methodology.

Ex-stock industrial screws from Challenge Europe

As “the nuts and bolts of your business” people, we are pleased to announce our stock of industrial screws in metric sizes to ISO and DIN standards, also imperial to BSI and ANSI with other national/international standards available to order from recognised high quality international manufacturers. Our aim being always to ensure quality, reliability and competitive cost of assembly with consistency of supply backed by stock in depth.

High tensile bolts in 8.8, 10.9 and 12.9 are offered, many sizes from stock to meet urgent manufacturing demand. Ex-stock supply enables us to service production requirements with ongoing supply chain management in line with JIT, VMI, Kanban, Linefeed philosophies or similar integrative approaches.

This ex-stock approach enables urgent prototyping and production trials, as well as timely installation, maintenance and repair. Related stock items include self-tapping screws, self-drilling screws, thread forming screws, hammer drive screws, machine screw SEMs and wood screws.

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