Choosing a plastic fastener

Choosing a Plastic Fastener Can Be Difficult

The wrong plastic fastener can make or break your new product sales.

Choosing the wrong fastener results in your losing time and money on your prototype or product manufacturing process.  A fastener can crack, creep, deform, fade or break – and this can cause your entire product to fail. So when you want to make sure you choose the appropriate plastic fastener for your new product. The solution is to work with the fastener while still in the design process, to design and test for different plastic composites in the fasteners you think you might use for this product. By considering the fastener you can prevent fastener failures such as:  

  • Plastic screw or bolt cracking
  • The material creeps or deforms
  • Fasteners may fade

Not all plastic fasteners are created equal, while some plastic screws are comparable to their metal counterparts in strength, others are more fragile (can cause creeping, cracks or fading). The determining factor for strength and durability in fastener materials lies in the composite material used to create the fastener. When other composite materials such as fiberglass or special coating materials are added into the plastic, this creates a much stronger plastic fastener. This added strength can endure a wider array of elements which can include UV rays, chemicals, water, saltwater and more.

What to Do to Avoid Plastic Fastener Failure?

Consider the plastic fastener company you wish to work with. Do a little research to find a plastic fastener manufacturer that can create the fastener you need for the specific project.

To help you find the fastener that fits your needs, follow these four steps when deciding on the appropriate plastic fastener products.

Conduct The Research

Not doing the research for the type of fastener you need may be the number one reason for failure. Most people do not realize that there are differences in the types and grades of plastics available in fasteners. Do the research and do some testing on the grades of plastic used in different fastener manufacturing processes. This is an important step as not all plastics work in all environments.

Factor in All Elements (not Just Cost)

Even when you do the research and know the properties you need in the fasteners you use for your product, sometimes the price tag of this type of high-performance plastic screw or fastener is just too high. At this point, you may just decide to choose an inexpensive nylon plastic, and this might be fine, but it could be the cause of future problems. The best way to determine whether a more inexpensive plastic fastener composite will work for your screw assembly is to test.

Testing Your Samples

Test your product by using the plastic screw or fastener you think will work. Most manufacturers can offer samples for you to test in your product. If they can’t offer samples of the fastener you need, often they can provide a similar composite for you to test.

Design for The Fastener

A problem many product designers run into is not making the product design plastic friendly. In other words, not taking the plastic fastener into consideration when designing a product. For example, simply making a plastic screw thicker does not necessarily make it stronger as it does a metal fastener.  There are also some limitations on the thickness a plastic fastener can be molded. So you need to research your design applications with the plastic fastener in mind.

Consult with a Plastic Fastener Expert

Have someone with plastics experience check your work. You don’t want to do all the research only to find that the plastic still fails. Take the extra time to consult with a plastics manufacturer to see if you have made the right material choice. Even if a plastics engineer charges a consulting fee it will be less expensive than a future product failure.

By following this four-step process, you will end up with a better fastener choice for your product design. This will protect your product against failure and give it the durability you desire.

Need Help? Start with us

E & T Fasteners sells high quality industrial fasteners and components with a wide variety of materials, including plastic fasteners. To discuss your particular project and the uses of plastic or metal fasteners within your application, please feel free to contact us