Automotive industry demands high strength fasteners
Automotive industry uses fixing components coming in a huge variety of materials ranging from common steel to aluminum, brass, copper, titanium and plastic to other exotic materials. Choosing the material to manufacture these fixing components is essential due to difference between each material's strength, corrosion resistance, brittleness, galvanic corrosion properties, and of course cost. Materials are basically selected on considerations of environment, corrosive or thermal extremes, magnetic properties, weight, re usability, stresses, and expected life time. Depending on these specifications materials are classified into grades & quality standards to produce specific quality alloy mixtures that are then used to produce the fixing components. In addition to this, materials are further processed through a variety of coating, plating and hardening processes to form different specified grades of the alloy mixtures.
The various stages to enhance the metal corrosion resistance and appearance increase the cost of production that leads to expensive parts and fixing components. To keep costs within control, it is always advisable to use standardized materials. As specifying the material with specific chemical analysis adds time & cost to the whole process of manufacturing of fixing components. In a common practice, using standard materials only needs heat treating, cold working and coating to manufacture ready to use fixing components.
Quality is the primary concern for every manufacturing process and hence in order to manufacture high quality fixing tools and apply best industry practices that ensure timely deliverables, companies apply quality control methods such as computerized statistical process control archival documentation and various other approaches. Inspection process involves utilizing tri-roll gages, hardness testers and optical comparators to ensure optimum performance. Automated sorting technologies are applied for assurance of contaminant free product for use in automated feeding equipment. Other than this, third party inspection, verification and certifications testify quality process on the go.
Used in a variety of application areas, replacing fasteners is quite tedious. It is generally best to match them while replacing. Replacing a bolt or screw with a stronger one is always now a good practice as harder bolts tends to be more brittle and may not work for specific applications. In some environments, applying galvanic corrosion methodology may result better.