Standard threaded fasteners - technical support from Challenge Europe

The team here at Challenge Europe believe that while there are many suppliers/distributors of threaded fasteners, what most manufacturers appreciate is the willingness to follow through with tech’ support throughout the supply process.

Our new brochure provides an insight into the specialist range of products and the depth of support we can provide, from troubleshooting an existing application to defining and developing a new product. Challenge Europe can provide the technical expertise that often small to medium sized manufacturers do not have available in-house. Indeed, many large scale production facilities are increasingly finding this type of supplier relationship saves them time, money and rework.

This is exemplified by the ranges of nut products described in our brochure and website, including full nuts in all metric sizes to fit screws and bolts. Commonly available as cold forged parts but larger sizes are often bar turned from hexagonal bar. Also half nuts – otherwise referred to as lock nuts or jam nuts. These are available in steel, stainless steel or brass. They are also useful in situations where space is restricted but ultimate strength is not required.

Self-locking nuts – 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.

Combi nuts – sometimes known as carp nuts, these combine a plain or domed washer assembled into a hexagonal nut so saving time, operations and loss of washers. The washer offers a load spreading function and if serrated also adds to the anti-vibrational security of the assembly.

Cage nuts or captive nuts are used as a “spring-in-fit” nut in square or slotted holes in sheet steel or other rigid materials. They provide a measure of compliance for the mounting of components, e.g. M6 sizes used in 19″ racks for panel mounting.

Square nuts are frequently known as pressed nuts as they are pressed out of sheet metal – usually zinc plated steel or stainless steel. They are useful to fit in a channel, e.g. in aluminium extrusions or a steel “C” section. Also valuable where space is limited and for light assembly applications.

Tee nuts are for use with soft and semi-soft materials where the teeth can pierce and lock into the sheet, e.g. wood or plastic. They may be inserted by tapping or pressing into position where the prongs ensure a secure fit.

Weld nuts are produced with weld lugs or protrusions to enable their use with standard projection welding equipment. Formats of round, hexagonal or square geometries are available in steel or stainless steel.

Flange nuts extend the bearing surface of the nut for better load carrying – plain flange nuts and serrated flange formats are available. The serrated type has an improved anti-loosening capability.

New brochure from Challenge Europe covers Socket Screws

This new brochure available free from Challenge Europe describes our range of standard socket screws in steel and stainless steel.

Here at Challenge Europe we carry an extensive stock of Socket Head Capscrews (DIN 912), Socket Button Head Screws (ISO 7380), Countersunk Socket Screws (DIN 7991) and Socket Setscrews in cup, cone, dog and flat point styles. We also have Socket Shoulder screws, Socket Pipe Plugs and Allen keys.

Designed as they are for general engineering production situations, these screws are supported by the Challenge Europe supply chain support package, which covers Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), Lineside supply, Kanban, JIT and other protocols to speed the component flow.

The support team at Challenge can also provide a custom special sourcing capability to meet unusual requirements leading to customer standard designations and local stockholding.

Contact us for your free brochure or to discuss your threaded fastener needs.

Manufacturers find added value from specialist fastener supplier Challenge Europe

As a Specialist fastener distributor, here at Challenge Europe we find that working closely with manufacturers pays dividends for our customers in the added value of an experienced supplier team. This results in better products, more profitably produced with shorter development cycles. As shown in our presentation viewable here at: www.challenge-europe.co.uk/presentation.

Where a manufacturer is able to work with us from concept to production, they have the benefit of extensive experience across many years, many industries and many production methodologies. This results in better functionality, better quality, better pricing and better operational efficiency at lower cost.

The Partnership way of working is a popular approach because it pulls together an extensive resource base of standard products, custom products and in-house production. With manufacturer and fastener supplier invested in the project at all stages a true supplier partnership can pay substantial dividends. Challenge Europe have a presentation online which demonstrates how this is achieved. Readers can view here at: www.challenge-europe.co.uk/presentation.

Challenge Europe explain how to specify a threaded fastener product

Threaded fasteners are still one of the most common mechanical products manufacturing companies require on a daily basis. In fact they are so common that accurate terminology is often overlooked in the specification process and the complexity of detail may not be adequately appreciated. Our team at Challenge Europe therefore focus on full conversation with users where they can guide and advise.

For example, many people are unaware of the simple difference between a bolt and a set screw, a mistake which may cost thousands of pounds in incorrect supply, replacement delays, production delays and the knock-on implications for contractual defaults or even catastrophic service failures if not corrected before ultimate use in the field.

Consequently the team at Challenge Europe have developed the experience and skill to guide customers along the path of selecting the right product for the job and helping them to understand the correct terminology to be used at the design stage or when ordering for manufacture.

Knowing the traps that can be easily fallen into, simple questions are asked that will enable us to determine what it is that the customer is looking for. It is important that even basic information is determined correctly, like how is the customer measuring the length of a product, do they realise that most male fasteners are measured from under the head, whereas countersunk fasteners are measured inclusive of the head?

In very basic terms what are the things to be kept in mind when ordering fasteners:

  1. Material – brass, steel, stainless steel etc.
  2. Grade – 4.8, 8.8, 10.9, 12.9 etc.
  3. Finish – self-colour, zinc plated, chemi-blacked, nickel plated etc.
  4. Diameter – metric or imperial
  5. Thread form – metric coarse, metric fine, BSW, UNC, UNF, BA, etc.
  6. Head form – Hexagon, Countersunk, Pan, Cheese, Cap, etc.
  7. Drive form – Socket, Multi-Lobed, Pozi, Phillips, Slotted, etc.
  8. Application – how is the fastener being used

There are of course many other factors that need to be taken into consideration at the more specialised end of the fastener range but here at Challenge Europe we are able to provide technical expertise in helping to prevent the sort of frustration and product failures possible from simple mistakes of the kind described.

Brass threaded inserts from Challenge Europe Ltd

Here at Challenge Europe we are delighted to supply ex-stock a standard range of metric and imperial brass 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. Brass 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.

A well-known and much used solution to fixing onto non-metals, brass 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 also available in brass for use in plastics or in the case of wood, and some composite materials, steel and stainless self-tapping inserts can be supplied.

Contact us in Bedford to discuss your production needs.

Thread forming screws for plastics - from Challenge Europe

We are delighted to offer an extensive range of threaded fasteners ex-stock which includes many specialist items such as thread forming screws for plastics. These have become more and more important in the assembly of everything from electronic equipment to furniture.

Kevin Moorcroft, our MD, explained “thread forming screws for plastics are easily inserted into drilled or moulded holes in thermoplastic materials where they deform the material to provide optimum fastening force superior to standard self-tappers. They are especially useful in the manufacturing production environment where automatic feed can be employed to greatly speed the assembly process. Thread forming screws eliminate the need for nuts or inserts, so reducing piece part costs, labour costs and process costs.”

There are a range of thread geometries associated with this type of screw, this is to allow for their use with different component materials and design features. For example, if required for insertion into thinner walled, harder plastic, mouldings it might be advisable to try a trilobular thread variant which tends to reduce the risk of burst out. Of course the choice of hole diameter can be critical and we at Challenge can advise on both screw selection and suitable hole diameters.

Head formats include countersunk, pan, and flange types with cross recess or multi-splined (star) drives. Typical materials include hardened steel with a zinc & clear passivate finish or in some instances black finishes can be available, also stainless steel.

New Hafren range of security fasteners available from Challenge Europe - anti-vandal and anti-tamper screws and nuts

Challenge Europe are delighted to have in their portfolio the Hafren range of security fasteners – a range of anti-vandal, anti-tamper screws and nuts proven in applications from architectural and street furniture, to marine and industrial equipment.

2 hole headed (otherwise known as pignose or snake eye) A2 stainless screws, bolts and self-tappers provide a versatile and clean look to installations while deterring vandals and keeping installations safe. Likewise, shear-nuts in zinc plated steel, galvanised, A2 and A4 stainless.

The Hafren range from Challenge Europe also covers 6-lobe driven threaded fasteners in A2 stainless steel with centre pin, in self-tapping, machine screw, self-drilling, barrel nut and floor anchor formats. Both countersunk and dome headed types are available.

Contact us for details of the Hafren range of security fasteners.

Production oriented fasteners from Challenge Europe

The needs of manufacturing industry can generally be listed under the headings “reliability, speed, quality and cost” in varying order – but whatever the exact balance, design is always at the heart of achieving a successful outcome a balance which is clearly understood here at Challenge Europe.

As our MD Kevin Moorcroft explains – “Automation in particular, places exceptional demands on a fastener above and beyond how well it does its job in service. For example, designs such as Torx™ and Torx Plus™ are less prone to slippage and wear in the assembly cycle – likewise, collated nails and screws for electric and pneumatic installation are ideal for the building/construction industry – similarly, self-piercing rivets especially designed for fast joining of sheet metal.”

Many drive forms for threaded fasteners exist, each with a different relevance to assembly, e.g. by hand, with power tools, semi-automatic, fully automatic and completely automated. Each also carries varying degrees of security when installed. At the simple end we have slot, cross head, socket, square and hex head forms. More complex we have hex lobed (torx), tri-lobed (tri-wing), torq-set, triple square (12 point), polydrive, double hex (8 point), bristol, one way, splined, hex+pin, hexlobe+pin and pignose (spanner head/snake eye).

It must be kept in mind that not all the above are freely available in a wide range of sizes, head styles or materials. Many were initially developed to meet specific applications and would be very expensive options unless your demands ran into the hundreds of thousands.

In principle the simpler drive forms are suited to lower speed assemblies whereas the more specialist complex designs offer higher speed and higher torque capability. Types with centre pin or dual holes are primarily for security installations.

Where high speed jointing of sheets is required on a continuous basis then the investment in the specialist equipment for self-piercing rivets can prove a worthwhile exercise – no holes are required and a neat join is produced – it is essentially a single iterative process which can be used on un-weldable materials and combinations of differing materials. There is minimal damage to coated sheets and it is a low impact process in terms of environment, e.g. zero fumes or heat, low noise levels and low energy usage.

Contact us to discuss your production needs.

Manufacturing and Assembly capability at fastener supplier Challenge Europe

As specialist fastener suppliers we often meet customers with low volume, low tech, problem jobs that have come along at inconvenient times and which would take up disproportionate resources in house. Consequently we have developed an expertise to take on these specialist projects so that we can soak up urgent or otherwise troublesome small component production, to enable smoothing of resource usage, efficiency and cost reduction. This means that we can efficiently and reliably feedback the finished items as needed to suit production requirements often with the integration of the required fasteners processes.

Projects include racking assemblies, lifting handles for instrument cases, clamp screws, modification of standard components into specials, e.g. safety valves, cutting of studding to length, small and simple welding fabrications, brackets, countersinking, tapping and other similar light engineering.

This add-on service has benefited many existing customers who have taken advantage of the engineering expertise available here at Challenge Europe and coupled it to ongoing fastener supply for existing production so saving time and money.

 

Challenge Europe support growing UK manufacturing industry demand for threaded fasteners

As UK manufacturing industry once again uses all its ingenuity and determination to grow itself out of externally derived problems, Challenge Europe are geared up to help with design and production support in supply of standard and custom threaded fasteners.

The Challenge Europe service packages provide advice in the design/development phase, coupled with a range of supply approaches through the production cycle.

Typically this takes the form of stockholding, monitoring of usage patterns, inventory control and/or site management – all the way up to production system integration using a customer preferred production model, e.g. Kanban, Lineside supply, JIT or Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI).

This is achieved with ISO 9001 systems and a fast response capacity for standard threaded fasteners as well as for security and custom fastenings, and related components.

Challenge Europe is a member of the Engineering Industries Association and able to offer specialised manufacture of fasteners including nuts, bolts, screws, washers and allied products including sub-assembly and packaging.

For especially urgent or local requirements Challenge Europe maintain a drop-in trade counter service and extensive warehouse stock holding. Contact us to discuss your fastener needs.

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