When it comes to maintenance, most people will focus mainly on the major tasks in order to prevent hefty expenses later on. However, what most of these people don't know is that performing regular maintenance and scheduling simple procedures like checking for damaged or loose fasteners every once in a while is the best method of preventing enormous expenditures on all sorts of repairs. Let's explore the most common reasons why screws might come loose over time.
1. The frequent use of the equipment
By far, the most common cause of screws loosening is the recurrent use of a machine or equipment. If the problem is ignored, then you will be working that fastener out little by little each time you use the machinery. This issue is especially common for equipment your employees handle less gently because they're in a hurry or for other reasons.
2. Temperature changes in the facility
In the eventuality that your company's facilities are located in colder climates, then you are probably aware of the effects of low temperatures on metal. To put it simply, due to cold the metal will contract around the head, an effect that will push the fastener outwards and cause it to come loose.
3. The equipment needs to hold a lot of weight
The more weight a machinery needs to hold, the higher the chances of experiencing problems with loose fasteners. Let's think of the chairs you currently have at the workplace for a second: these items are subjected to the different weights of your employees on a daily basis. In addition, a chair will often bear weight that exceeds the recommended weight limit resulting in dislodged and loosened screws and bolts.
Addressing this issue can be done by utilizing anchors along with the screws: drill a hole at the location where you need to insert the fastener, secure the anchor in place by tapping it gently with a hammer and then tighten the screw into the anchor. In case the use of the equipment implies hanging heavy objects, then consider using molly bolts to tighten and secure the screws.
4. Rough maintenance practices
More often than not, during the maintenance procedures some employees might turn the screws too hard or damage them because they got distracted, for instance. While tightening loose screws is important, it is advisable not to screw them in too hard as this action can cause stripping at the top of the fastener. Needless to mention that damage to the screw's head automatically means you will have to replace it, since you'll not be able to tighten it in fully anymore.
Sometimes, screws can come loose as a result of unintentional problems that appear due to specific operational conditions, such as vibrations. The process implies the sliding of the nut head relative to the joint that leads to relative motion in the threads. To prevent this type of issues, you should perform a minutely analysis of the joint and determine the exact clamp force required by the fastener to hold the parts of the equipment together.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.