The International Fastener Expo or IFE — the largest fastener B2B event in North America — has been an annual event since 1981. This year marked my first visit to the show, which welcomed more than 5,000 attendees from more than 30 countries, from September 17 to 19, at the Mandalay Bay conference hall in Las Vegas.
According to the event organizers, 77% of attendees agree that the expo is a “must attend” event, thanks to its comprehensive coverage of the fastener industry and more than 850 exhibiting companies. This year’s show did not disappoint.
Although I’m new to the fastener industry, I’ve spent more than a decade as an editor for renewables and am familiar with the significance of industrial components. Take the wind-power industry, for example, where towers, nacelles, gearboxes, and other components, are held together with bolts. Given the harsh conditions that wind turbines face, however (from wind, weather, heat, and vibration), the reliability of a joint it typically compromised by bolt fatigue or corrosion.
This means quality and durability is a must for turbine manufacturers — as is the case in many other industries. A walk through the trade show floor at IFE last week proved how dedicated manufacturers and suppliers are in providing high-quality components and services. It also presented a full range of sectors, including construction, automotive, aerospace, machinery, and others. There were displays of electronic fasteners, specialty tooling products, power tools, special application fasteners, and much more.
Here are three things I learned:
1. “Made in the USA” is strong. I was under the false assumption that much of the manufacturing of fasteners was done overseas. Although there’s truth to that statement, the U.S. is home to far more manufacturers than I expected. Aside from the high standards local manufacturers must meet, most offer customized products unavailable elsewhere.
Case-in-point: Accurate Manufactured Products Group, a family business that began in 1987, is a U.S. manufacturer of hard-to-find, custom, and architectural fasteners.
A few other manufacturers include: MKT Fastening, which says it’s the only company in the world manufacturing American-made plastic, mechanical, and chemical injection anchoring systems; Brynolf Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of cold-headed standards and special fasteners; B&G Manufacturing, which provides precision parts to clients, worldwide; and Crescent Manufacturing, which supplies miniature screws and miniature fasteners to distributors, internationally.
2. Security is key. Theft and vandalism occur in every industry, and the fastener sector is no exception. Fortunately, tamper-resistant fasteners exist.
However, according to Bryce Fasteners (also a U.S. manufacturer), the typical tamper-proof security screws that are on the market today are unreliable and fail to guarantee security. The company offers patented and exclusive fasteners that are unavailable in stores.
Secure bolting is also significant for safety and equipment reliability. For example, Nord-Lock , a partner for secure bolting, says it designed the original wedge-locking technology — which secures bolted joints, even when exposed to severe vibration and dynamic loads.
This means it is impossible for its product to unintentionally loosen. I had the chance to try the bolt lock at Nord-Lock’s booth — and it works!
3. Women are in fasteners. Women in the Fastener Industry (WIFI) is celebrating 10 years in 2019! WIFI began on LinkedIn to connect women in the industry and, a decade later, continues to educate, mentor, unite, and encourage women’s involvement through programs, webinars, scholarships, and events.
“The most visible sign that WIFI is strong and growing is the explosion of pink in recent years and industry trade shows,” stated Ruth Dowling Coffman, president, Ningbo Jinding Fastening Piece USA.
Kudos to WIFI and all of the exceptional women in the fasteners industry!
If you have important news or insight to share, please email me:
Michelle Froese | fasteners @ wtwhmedia.com