The ultimate in performance and production efficiency

fasteners can mean a reduction in bins, and also clearer definition of what should go where. When production line personnel are installing thousands of these components every day on multiple units, a clear fastener policy leads to speedier installation across the line and, ultimately, improves productivity. Finally, it is a question of cost. Building

prototypes, amending design, reaching industry standards and achieving a finished product before its launch is incredibly capital intensive. A manufacturer cannot afford to increase this by operating a fastener policy that is not streamlined. Therefore, taking an integrated approach to the fasteners used can minimise the financial impact.

Weight, cost, ease of installation and product standardisation are four key features to consider when specifying fasteners for application. However, to gain equilibrium between these factors, advice from a business with expertise in fasteners is vital. Ian Carvell, European engineering director at Optimas, explores the benefits a fastener expert can deliver to OEMs and tier suppliers


here is little public interest in how a fastener has aided in the final

performance or design aesthetic of the latest consumer product. Very few people will walk into a car showroom and ask if their potential new purchase will include aluminium fasteners instead of steel. Even in the industrial world, customers are more interested in headline figures than the gritty details. So why should designers care? The truth is a well- optimised fastener selection can offer many tangible benefits to manufacturers and end-users alike.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE FASTENER CHOICE? In applications across various industries, the most applicable benefit is product standardisation. Why specify a custom manufactured 11mm bolt for one fixing and a 9mm bolt for another, when you could use a single 10mm solution for both that is freely available and achieves


the same purpose? It might be quicker to design these components than trawl a standard parts list during design, but this saving will quickly be eliminated when production starts. Optimas engineers have worked with customers to reduce part counts by as much as 40 per cent during the design phase. Standardised fasteners minimise the bill of materials and simplify supply. Over an entire development process and production run, standardisation offers huge cost savings. Another benefit is weight. Selecting

aluminium over steel may only equate to savings of a few grams on a single part, but in many hi-tech industries, such marginal gains could represent a distinct advantage over the competition. Ease of installation should also be

considered as it can make a notable improvement to production line efficiency. The assembly teams do not want to contend with a puzzle of bins and components. Correct specification of

HOW CAN A MANUFACTURER IMPLEMENT THESE BENEFITS? From the earliest design stages a manufacturer should work with a supply chain manager who understands which of the four benefits are of most importance to the application. For example, when tasked with specifying fasteners for a new supercar from a low volume, premium manufacturer, product standardisation and production line efficiency will no t be as important as weight saving. Buyers are willing to spend extra to ensure that the vehicle contains exceptional components exclusive to the manufacturer. Conversely, heavy truck and commercial vehicles will require extremely durable components. Weight is less of a concern when compared to strength, as drivers may be using the vehicle in extreme circumstances. OEMs will also be keen to standardise fasteners in certain areas and implement efficient installation designs to reduce the cost of manufacture and remain competitive. Reaching the nirvana of fastener

specification requires a tailor-made approach that is based on each individual application. The best way to achieve this is to involve a fastener expert from the initial design phase of a project, so that fastener engineers can become familiar with your application and its specific demands. The earlier a partner becomes involved, the more ingrained the performance benefits will be.



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