Stainless steel fasteners may be an economically apt option that offer outstanding anti-corrosion properties, but that doesn’t mean they are not going to corrode or cost you anything extra in the long run.  Improper habits employed by casual operators can sometimes break down a properly-maintained framework. You need to educate the employees with good habits that preserve long-lasting characteristics of the stainless steel fasteners.

Proper tools for slotting
make stainless steel fasteners last longer with lubrication
In order to avoid premature wear and tear of the fasteners, it’s necessary to use suitable tools for slotting the holes meant to fit the mechanical properties of stainless steel fasteners. The modulus of elasticity is an important factor in determining the pull-out strength and holding capacity. If the setting goes wrong, the fasteners will start unscrewing too early, and that can have a detrimental effect on the entire built of the equipment.

Standard grades of stainless steel

Make sure the stainless steel fasteners you use either belong to 304 or 316 graded steel.  As the numbers suggest, 316 stainless steel nuts are more corrosion resistant than the 304 ones. They do come at a higher price than other grades available in the market, but the long term service you get in return is unmatchable.

Proper cleaning schedule

The durability of stainless steel fasteners depend upon the kind of cleaning practices employed for the equipment. Stainless steel when exposed to moisture, complemented by appropriate vapor management system stays in a good condition for a longer period of time, as compared to the one exposed to contaminating particles.  If you allow the dust to settle on the surface for a considerable amount of time, you may have to frequently replace the entire fastening tools adjoining that particular part. So, if you have proper maintenance in place for the equipment, you are indirectly also protecting the stainless steel fasteners from lasting too early.

 

Lubrication of threads

Before assembling the threads, lubrication of stainless steel fasteners should be done to avoid the chances of wear and tear caused by sticking together of the sliding surfaces, a phenomenon known as galling, in which some part of a material is scratched by the surface in contact and tearing can take place rapidly under the application of excess force.

Electrochemical polishing

Stainless steel fasteners last as long as the protective layer of chromium oxide is well preserved. Electro-polishing is a reverse process of electroplating that is employed for polishing, deburring and passivating fasteners such as aluminum washers to thicken the protective layer in order to counter the effect of corrosion. The same technique can also be routinely applied to fasteners made of stainless steel.

 Scheduled monitoring

Sometimes the fasteners start losing their grip in specific parts because of the lack of monitoring for any kind of wears in the machinery. If a defect stays unrepaired for a long time, it can cause irreversible damage to the entire setup. This can be avoided by appointing dependable employees who can take quick action against any kind of blemish that indicates deterioration of stainless steel fasteners.

About the Author

Larry Melone
By Larry Melone
President

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.

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