The wisdom of pre-planning
It’s unlikely those in the market for a new vehicle are going to ask about the type of fasteners used while on a test-drive (aluminum or steel?), or question the quality of the adhesive used before upgrading to their tablet or smartphone (bonding fi lm or tape?). However, perhaps this should become standard practice.
Those in the fastener industry are well aware of how critical these components are to the reliability of an assembly. Although it’s easy to understand the oversight of a consumer — most people only notice the fasteners when they fail. We might also forgive the design engineer, given the signifi cance of the other parts that go into a car or a computer, or other applications. But without the fasteners, there is no assembly.
What’s more is that fastening and joining components, if specified incorrectly, can add extra weight and costs to a project, and lead to unnecessary installation time and challenges.
Case-in-point: Global fastener manufacturer, Penn Engineering, shares a story on page 110 about a basic keyboard teardown, where their team found hundreds of micro-screws that refused to loosen.
“It got us thinking,” said Brian Bentrim, who’s VP with the company’s PEM New Product Development and Product Engineering sector. “Why use screws if you only ever intend to assemble the product and never disassemble it?”
As a result, the team developed a new fastener that was intended for permanent use — with a smaller footprint that was less costly, and faster and easier to install.
In other applications, choosing the ideal fastening solution early in a product’s development can ensure safety standards. For example, in the article on page 100, adhesive expert Gluespec discusses a new challenge for the electronics sector: the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for 5G devices.
Although electrically conductive tapes are commonly used to meet electromagnetic interference or EMI shielding regulations, greater precaution is required for 5G applications. This is because 5G’s wireless spectrum is higher than anything that’s come before it.
“Tapes that previously worked to pass low or mid-band EMC regulatory tests may fail at this new high-band,” states the article. “Though this is not to say shielding for 5G is insurmountable.” But it is to say that early-stage adhesive considerations are a must, which is something that would be ideal for all fastener applications.
With a little pre-planning, smarter designs could also lead to better user experiences as per the article by Southco, a manufacturer of engineered access solutions. Just turn the page to learn more.
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