Industrial design trends point to doing more with less weight. Smaller and lighter packages and components that can be produced quickly and inexpensively means fasteners must be part of the design and not a postscript.
For manufacturers, this means working with contributors up and down the supply chain on new products and assemblies and relying more than ever on trusted suppliers of quality industrial fasteners.
One revealing trend can be found in the expanding category of non-traditional permanent fasteners designed to replace enduring fastening methods such as adhesives, rivets, and welds. These fasteners can be found in components or attachments that are secured but can be disassembled later for service, replacement, or recycling.
Surface Mount Technology
In electronics, fasteners are rapidly joining the roster of surface mount technology that adds tremendous efficiency to the assembly process. Supplied on pre-loaded tape-and-reel packages, surface mount fasteners can be automatically soldered in place during late-stage assembly. This allows for smaller packages, helps avoid expensive damage to printed circuit boards, eliminates steps in the assembly process, and reduces scrap.
As design trends push for smaller packages, fasteners have followed suit and are available in miniature sizes not imagined just a few years ago. These new, smaller styles and sizes are found in everything from electronics to aerospace and transportation.
Miniaturization can also be found in new clinch fastener designs that offer a permanence and removable solutions to ultra-thin sheet metal fastening challenges.
Saving a Step
Innovative designs have appeared in new in-die fasteners and stamping press combination systems that eliminate the need for secondary operations to insert a fastener. Such step-savers as stamping and inserting fasteners in the die can reduce the number of hardware components needed for an assembly and improving efficiency while reducing weight.
Unconventional fasteners have joined the market as new hybrids made of metal and injection-molded plastic weigh less and feature benefits such as color coding and parts matching.
Product designers can gain a step by engaging their fastener supplier early in their plans.