Common Fasteners in Manufacturing

Engine Manufacturing plant - filled with fasteners
Engine Manufacturing plant – filled with fasteners

In our recent news posts, we’ve discussed several exotic fastener materials, along with their unique applications. Materials such as Monel, titanium, and Hastelloy are critical in specific circumstances, albeit rare to see in general industrial use. In this article, we’ll give an overview of the most common fastener materials and styles found in General Industrial Manufacturing, many of which you’ll recognize from your manufacturing plant’s stock room.

Fastener Types

In the same way that multiple, separate machines are assembled together to form a typical manufacturing system, it takes a wide array of various fasteners and hardware to assemble any of those single machines. Here we’ll describe the most common of those fasteners.

  • Hex Cap Screws – the single most common fastener used in an industrial manufacturing setting, these are found everywhere from major equipment structural connections to the bathroom tower dispenser
  • Sheet Metal Screws – typically used to secure thin sheets of metal or plastic materials, these are found most often in ducting, machine guarding, and equipment skirting uses
  • Round Head Screws – also known as machine screws, these screws are often found with Phillips or hex drives on machine and conveyor components
  • Socket Screws – these screws use a sunken hex drive and are most popular on powered motion, hydraulic, and fluid motion OEM equipment
  • Wood Screws and Nails – these staple fasteners are typically used as general hardware for maintenance purposes around the facility
  • Bolt and Screw Hardware – used along with the above fasteners, standard flat washers, lock washers, hex nuts, lock nuts, acorn nuts, and flange nuts are all common as well

E&T Fasteners stocks all of these common fasteners, and can ship or deliver orders out quickly from our regional warehouses. See more about our fastener offerings here.

Materials Types

Common material types in industrial manufacturing reflect the more aggressive environments seen in this sector. Considerations such as corrosion resistance, heat tolerance, fit tolerance, failure risk, and overall strength bring us to a short list of materials that fit the range of industrial manufacturing applications.

  • Zinc-Plated Steel – the most common grade of hardware found in general industrial manufacturing, this low-cost fastener material has a base level of corrosion resistance
  • Stainless Steel 18-8 – the most common grade of hardware found in industrial process settings (such as Food & Beverage, Health & Beauty, and Oil & Gas), 18-8 is a great choice between moderate corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, and long life
  • Stainless Steel 316 – in environments needing higher corrosion and chemical resistance, 316 stainless is an ideal upgrade over 18-8 stainless
  • High-Strength Steel – also referred to as alloy steel, this material is found where strength is paramount and corrosion resistance is not required, such as in fluid power, utility, and powered motion equipment
  • Brass – brass (and alternatively, bronze) materials are often found in high-use motion, no galling, and electrical equipment
  • Galvanized Steel – galvanized steel materials are often found in dry utility equipment, and in general applications around the facility (such as fencing, safety railings, and signage)

In many applications, there is good reason to upgrade material types when replacing fasteners on existing equipment or introducing new equipment to the plant. Speak with an E&T sales representative for more information on preventative maintenance material upgrades.

Other Common Fasteners

Nuts, bolts, screws, and washers are often the first things that come to mind when we hear the term “fasteners”. Industrial manufacturing plants have so many unique needs, that it’s worth noting a few other common hardware types that fall into this conversation.

  • U-Bolts – these are most often used to secure conduit, piping, handrails, and other round materials to slotted strut or flat bar (which E&T carries as well)
  • Concrete Anchors – most commonly found in wedge, drop-in, or epoxy anchor styles, concrete anchors are used frequently to safely secure new or relocated equipment
  • Hose Clamps – often used when making up low-pressure hoses, fixing a fluid leak, or servicing any variety of ducting or tubing components
  • Wire Ties – perhaps the greatest unsung hero of industrial maintenance departments, plastic and metallic wire ties (or cable ties) can be used in countless applications, temporarily or permanently, across the plant.

Special fasteners such as these are found in fewer materials types than the more common hardware we described at the beginning of the article. Speak with your E&T representative about available materials on these items.

About E&T

With sales and support teams spanning the Continental US, E&T Fasteners is here to serve your hardware, fastening, and component needs both domestically and internationally. We are a distributor of metal, plastic, and alloy fasteners, backed by our technical staff directly experienced in your unique applications. We can assist your specifying and selection efforts, providing engineered solutions, record-fast lead times, and stellar customer service from quote through delivery. Please let us know how we can help!