When using fasteners for any application, one of the most important concerns that people have is how to reduce the risk of the fasteners loosening. This is an important issue that has different degrees of impact on the use of the fasteners. For instance, if you are fastening an item such as a piece of furniture using 316 stainless steel Phillips screws, loosening might be at most a minor annoyance. However, there are other times when the loosening can have more serious consequences. An example of this is when it happens to a critical part of a car, which can then result in injury and death due to accidents.
The basics of preventing this problem
If you are interested in reducing the risk of accidental loosening, you will first need to understand the dynamics of the cause of the loosening. This way, you will then have a better idea of how to prevent the problem in future. One of the commonest reasons why fasteners loosen is due to being subjected to too much friction, either during the fastening process or during the use of the item in question. Friction is usually intended to increase the strength of the bond between the fastener and the item being fastened, but when it becomes too much or when the fastener is not of high quality then it might also lead to smoothening of the fastener which in turn results in loosening.
The role of thread forming screws
If you are to use screws for an item that you suspect might become loosened with time, you could try to avoid this problem by using thread forming screws. By virtue of their design, the thread forming screws reduce the amount of play between the threads, which means that the risk of the threads being damaged will be reduced. In essence, the threads in the fastener will be kept in place, and will not be affected by phenomena such as the constant vibration of the item you are trying to fasten. One of the major advantages of high quality thread forming screws is the fact that they can maintain this property even if you disassemble and reassemble them multiple times.
How they are used
In order to ensure that they perform optimally, thread forming screws are usually used in combination with nuts. They are most useful when you intend to fasten low carbon steel, light alloys and even plastics. If you intend to optimize the performance of such screws, you would need to pay attention to the quality of the pilot hole you drill for the placement of the screw. The size of the pilot hole should be gotten just right; if it turns out to be too big then there is a risk that the screw will be subjected to a lot of play, resulting in loosening.
The quality of your fastener vendor is essential in ensuring that you get the most out of the thread forming screws. Not only will high quality vendors stock only the best, but they can also give you other guides on how to reduce loosening with this and other fasteners such as the Inconel hex lag bolts as well.
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.