By John Wachman, Managing Director, Fastener Training Institute
Unfortunately, most of the details of how components are assembled is an afterthought. This can be a mistake and add to the complexity and cost of finished products. Design for manufacture is not a new concept, but reliable current information about fasteners is not only important but required. That’s why we are pleased to be invited to join in the launch of Fastener Engineering.
Fasteners are produced and used worldwide. Fastener manufacturing is a mature industry with many primary producers supplying high volume parts with single digit PPM defective. The bottom line is we are very good at what we do. The vast majority of fastener related problems arise from improper selection, specification, misuse or installation. These problems are real, can have significant consequences and subsequently have to be addressed by both the suppliers and end users. Regardless of the cause, a fastener or joint failure can cost lives at worst or simply be a costly inconvenience.
Fasteners can be simple components. Their complexity is due to the vast options the design engineer has when choosing them. Consider a basic externally threaded fastener, the bread and butter of most assemblies. How many are needed to keep the components together for the expected product life? Will the assembly need to be serviced and how often? Among the many options are size (diameter and length), head style, drive, material, coatings, plus any quality requirements. These design decisions will affect the manufacturing team downstream — so they should have appropriate input in selection up front. Our industry is also very innovative and without current knowledge or training, a much better fastener solution may be missed.
Fasteners can also be very complicated components. Exotic materials, complex shapes, secondary processes with very new eco-friendly coating and plating. Their installation regimes are evolving to ensure the design engineer gets the desired results. The end users often require real time verification of installation parameters. Newer composite and high-strength, thin-sheet materials offer challenges to engineers responsible for assemblies.
Most university engineering curricula do not offer much education about fastening and joining. Engineering grads are left to make their way mostly through on-the-job training. The Fastener Training Institute (FTI), a registered 501(c)(6) non-profit, was launched by experienced fastener industry professionals to provide fastener product training and continuing education.
The objective of FTI is to elevate the level of technical understanding and expertise of individuals in the fastener industry by providing a variety of training programs presented by recognized industry experts. FTI provides beginning and advanced training on fastener products, standards and specifications. We offer live classes throughout the country. Some are full-day classes but can also be weeklong classes with visits to fastener producers. FTI offers live monthly webinars and an extensive On-Line Training Library. Please visit www.FastenerTrainingInstitute.org for complete class information.
The Fastener Training Institute’s core purpose is to enhance fastener use, reliability and safety by providing fastener product and technical training at all levels. Through this, FTI can achieve its goal of strengthening the industry and its personnel in all segments.