Challenge Europe rework and retro-fit service announcement

Our team here at Challenge Europe are finding an increasing requirement for rework, retro-fit and repair projects – often involving changes to mechanical fastenings or the fitting of electronic components such as sensors. This generally occurs in an OEM environment where perhaps a specification has been changed in the middle of a production run or a previously unforeseen service requirement is realised.

Consequently we have developed a service which provides a massive benefit to manufacturers whereby they can call in our specialist team at short notice to take a production batch away for economical rectification and speedy return to the correct specification.

As specialist fastener providers we are experienced in supply side relationships for a truely extensive portfolio of threaded and other standard/custom fasteners and can seamlessly extend that interface to include special projects.

Challenge Europe manufacturing service packages

Our team here at Challenge Europe recognise that managing the supply chain for large numbers of small fasteners is a major administrative issue for specialist manufacturers and to that end we have developed a versatile stock and supply system to take much of the worry out of this process, all under the umbrella of their BS EN ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management certification.

Our four point system encompasses stock holding and control of standard and custom fasteners – providing a central site for location, control and rapid delivery.

Inventory control by performing inventory measurement, stock re-ordering, kit and component supply, plus single point invoicing.

Site management of optimum stock quantities.

Production system integration by aligning supply side capabilities with customers preferred production system, e.g. Kanban, Line-side supply, and Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI).

To find how our team can help your manufacturing then please contact us here to discuss your particular requirements.

Action Can industrial products from Challenge Europe

We at Challenge Europe pride ourselves on serving central and eastern England with an ex-stock range of the well-known Action Can industrial consumables including industrial lubricants, cleaning sprays, foams and many related aerosols such as copper grease, cutting fluids, car cleaner, anti-static spray, welders anti-splatter 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.

An extensive range of aerosols, bottles, hand sprays, cans, packs and bulk containers are available for delivery in co-ordination with the Challenge Europe fastener portfolio for manufacturers and installers.

Specials and Custom fasteners from Challenge (Europe) Ltd

The demand for fasteners – threaded or otherwise – is frequently impossible to meet from standard ranges – at the same time quantities and delivery schedules need to be managed for production scheduling. Here at Challenge Europe we are in a position to handle both since quality has always been a top priority for us, reflected both in the product range of our stock, and in the service we provide. We gained the ISO9001 award for quality in 1997, the company is a member of the Engineering Industries Association and our service ethos enables us to supply systems such as Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), Kanban, JIT, and Linefeed.

This is coupled with a specialised manufacture, sub-assembly and packing service, allowing customer products to be supplied in the most efficient format. Combined with the availability of a UK delivery fleet, the service that we offer enables small to medium sized manufacturers to meet the challenges of present-day operations.

It seems that small volume custom special jobs are a problem for bigger manufacturers, where it is not cost-effective for them to program large and expensive automated equipment. This enables our team to optimise performance across customer manufacturing operations with customer standard products from stock including many specialist items.

This capability is ideal for small quantities and extends to partnering arrangements with fabricators and finishers so that we can cover a wide range of items from specialist threaded fasteners to sheet metal or moulded/cast components. Coupled with in-house machining and a global sourcing and supply infrastructure, this in-depth expertise of the manufacturing cycle has been gained from over 30 years in the engineering arena.

Our capability enables us to produce components from alternative materials at short notice and to incorporate them into packaged sub-assemblies. In this way customers gain a complete package of high-quality and low-cost on standard mass-produced items and on small quantity specialist components.

Typically this includes Instrument Carrying Handles, Chrome Handles, Clamp Screws and Stud Rivet Nut Assembly, as well as cut to length studding, vented screws, spacers and general modification work to standard fasteners e.g. shortening to non-standard lengths & cross drilling to take split cotter pins.

 

Challenge (Europe) - handles, clamps, machine parts, stud rivets, valve knobs and captive screws

Along with threaded fasteners goes a whole swathe of ancillary products which, for the team at Challenge (Europe) are characterised by items such as instrument handles, clamp screws, stud rivet assemblies, valve knobs, captive screws and a great capability in the production of custom specialist machined parts.

This capability covers most metals and sometimes plastics with non-standard special items to customer drawings or non-standard sizes to international standards, e.g. an intermediate diameter or length. Where an ex-stock item is not suitable they are happy to advise.

Instrument carrying handles in painted or chrome finish are suited to instruments, trollies, cases etc.

Clamp screws are designed to suit specific customer requirements for the clamping of components by hand operation rather than for screwing into a component. They can be manufactured in steel, stainless steel, brass, and to many sizes metric and imperial. Stud rivet assemblies provide a quickly installed permanent rivet nut type of assembly but with a re-usable male screw thread. Used mainly in sheet material where accessibility or other installation processes, e.g. welding, are not practical options.

Valve knobs are just one example of a product resulting from a joint customer development project.

Captive screws are another example – they are retained by means of having a reduced diameter shank following on from a standard screw thread – usually with a raised head for tool or manual operation. Standard metric sizes, materials plated steel or stainless steel. This is one style of fastener which is often required to custom dimensions as they must be a correct length to suit the application.

Challenge Europe Rivets and Pins and Weld Studs and other fasteners

In the engineering lexicon rivets and pins are commonplace and are fundamental to location, e.g. by use of dowels or groove pins and slotted steel tension pins. Similarly, Challenge Europe ex-stock delivery reflects the everyday usage of simple security fixings such as split cotter pins as well as the wide range of weld studs, self-clinching pins, brass threaded inserts and the many types of rivet in daily use. The experienced team at Challenge Europe are optimally positioned to advise on new or specialist applications and very much welcome talking to engineers before product finalisation, or at revision stages.

Common rivet forms available from Challenge Europe include blind “POP” rivets, solid, tubular style and self-clinching pins.

Blind rivets offered by Challenge Europe include: Open Ended which provide strong, low cost fastenings ideal for a wide range of applications within the general engineering industry. They are available in aluminium, steel, stainless steel, monel and copper; also closed (Sealed) End which are specifically designed to provide a waterproof seal after the rivet has been set and are available in aluminium, steel, stainless steel, and copper. Multigrip rivets are designed to clamp a wide range of material thicknesses as well as having excellent filling characteristics where the hole form proves inconsistent.

Traditionally multigrip rivets are available in aluminium, but steel and stainless steel versions have been recently introduced albeit with a very much reduced range of sizes and head styles… Structural rivets are designed to provide high tensile and shear strengths for more demanding applications and are available in steel and aluminium. Grooved rivets can be used in conjunction with fibrous materials such as wood where upon setting the aluminium body of the rivet expands and the grooves bite into the material. For load spreading special rivets are suitable for soft or brittle materials where upon setting the aluminium rivet body folds back into segments preventing damage. Peel rivets are similar to the load spreading rivet in design and application, except that the rivet body splits open into a ‘petal’ arrangement upon setting, they are also in aluminium.

Solid Rivets are generally manufactured to suit individual customer’s requirements, and are almost infinitely variable in terms of diameter, length, head form and material type. They are considered to be the strongest of the rivet types, but require high setting forces and sometimes more specialised setting tooling. Semi-Tubular rivets preserve the shear strength of solid rivet but with easier setting. They are generally available with oval, countersunk or tinman heads and in a variety of sizes and materials to suit customer applications. Tubular rivets are similar to the semi-tubular variety, but with a fully hollow shank and are designed for lighter setting force. Bifurcated style rivets are sometimes known as split rivets, being generally used on softer materials such as leather and composite timber boards, where they act in a self-piercing manner and can be designed to self-set.

Washers and Dubo rings from Challenge Europe

Ex-stock specialist Washers and Dubo Rings offer many benefits in terms of sealing, security, anti-vibration and mechanical protection. In addition they can normalise friction on torque sensitive applications, provide sound deadening and anti-corrosion by electro-galvanic insulation. Copper grip and brass terminal cup washers on the other hand provide excellent electrical conductivity for connection of power or earth wires.

Plain washers in standard or “mudguard” forms are complemented by screw cup (finishing) washers and crinkle washers which improve aesthetics and add light spring compression to the fastening respectively. Sealing and security roles are addressed by fibre and coil spring types, plus Belleville washers for higher force spring compression.

Where special sealing and anti-vibration functionality is required then the Dubo Ring system is suited to many applications in aerospace, electronics, component assembly, construction and maintenance.

This product is proving to be an increasingly popular method of meeting the dual requirements of sealing and locking, e.g. in preventing leakages from transformer oil reservoirs up to more demanding roles within the power generating industry.

 

Ex-stock specialist nuts from tech fastening experts at Challenge Europe

While many machine screws or bolts fit into a tapped thread within a larger component the versatility of these threaded fasteners is often exploited by using a nut which we stock in many variations and materials. Our wide ex-stock offering supports manufacturing supply chains – including nylon insert nuts – the most used anti-vibration self-locking nuts often fitted where previously a full nut and jam nut were utilised, thus saving an extra operation, also reducing weight and height of the assembly; a situation where half nuts could also be used to allow for lack of space.

Specialist nuts are often called for and are stocked to locate into various substrates e.g. flange nuts which help with load spreading and anti-vibration capability. Similarly, square nuts which slide into channels and are often used for roofing because of their self-locating square format.

Dome nuts are a frequent solution where aesthetics and safety are uppermost e.g. on prams and fairground equipment etc.  Other standard nut forms include cage nuts for captive use e.g. on 19” racks, computer panels etc. often in M6 sizes for electronics, they provide location with space for the nut to float and allow for adjustment. Combi nuts on the other hand have an integral washer retained within the nut assembly for load spreading and anti-vibration purposes, whereas their barb nut variant incorporates paint cutting edges for earthing continuity purposes while saving fiddly assembly, loss of washer etc.

Traditional wing nuts facilitate hand operation for quick release without tools and the convenient U nut design is used on sheet material to provide an instant thread with load spreading action.

Ex-stock socket screws and bolts from Challenge Europe

Specialist threaded fasteners available ex-stock from Challenge Europe in high grades of material include socket screws for production, incorporating milled sides (cap heads) so they may be easily spun up by hand and of course with a recessed hex drive which enable machine feed and torqueing on the assembly line.

Other specialist socket screws include button head/dome head designs which give improved appearance, lower profile and a smooth finish. They also offer more clearance with less vulnerability to interference, either to clothing or to other equipment passing over and are ideal for floor fixings as they present less of a trip hazard.

Socket head cap screws are generally more considered for engineering use at the elite end of the fastener range, by virtue of their more precise production tolerances – and historically being more commonly of 12.9 grade they are engineered for use at the top end of the precision spectrum.

In particular the socket head shoulder screw variant features a plain shank with a ground surface for location – “a dowel with a thread”, especially useful for tooling applications where a lower clearance is desirable, e.g. for locating with precise fit, but it can also be used to provide a bearing surface.

Challenge Europe - a nuanced approach to manufacturing with bolts, studding and fixings

The manufacturing sourcing and supply process today is more than ever concerned with supporting robust procedures to ensure reliable quality and performance at highly competitive prices. But the greatest concern is probably that of getting it wrong as this is often the greatest cost of all.

It is here that our team here at Challenge Europe can help, even with apparently simple threaded fasteners like flange bolts – used for speed and where people don’t want the inconvenience of a separate washer for load spreading or anti-vibration purposes. Similarly for studding where a longer length is required, e.g. for ceilings, to extend floor anchors or for chemical fixings such as epoxy glue embedded attachments.

All are well understood products but still benefit from expert guidance, as experience as shown.

Standard ex-stock items include flange bolts which are generally found in a more limited range than conventional bolts and set screws – also throughbolt style floor anchors which permit component positioning, hole drilling and insertion of the fixing all in one operation without needing to remove the component.

Conversely, shield anchors do need removal of steelwork in order to drill and place the fixing, but are better in weaker concrete as they are capable of generating a greater wedging force in variable substrates. They are also able to accommodate a variety of different fixings, e.g. various bolt head types.

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