Ever stop to consider what keeps everything from airplane walls to computer cases held together correctly? Without a reliable industrial fastener few things would function as they should. From nuts and bolts to screws and rivets, these fasteners are the unsung heroes of the technological, mechanical and even the home and commercial construction worlds.
Industrial fasteners are considered so important for keeping it all together, in fact, the industry itself is taken pretty seriously. It even has its own professional organization where manufacturers of all types of fasteners come together to share ideas, improve on products and more.
That’s right, there’s a professional organization that helps the fastener industry advance itself, its technologies and its ideas. The Industrial Fasteners Institute serves an industry that pulls in billions of dollars each year in sales. Considering the incredible demands placed on fasteners, the need for professional representation and idea sharing shouldn’t be surprising. Think a regular bolt could stand up to the intense heat of a space shuttle launch?
If you doubt the importance of the fastener industry consider that in the United States alone the industry is estimated to employ more than 40,000 people in about 350 different companies. The industry reports more than 200 billion different fasteners are used in the U.S. each year. This equates to big business. Big in the sense of a multi-billion dollar industry, in fact. That’s a lot of nuts and bolts!
But what exactly are fasteners and why are they considered so important. In the construction trade (including mechanical and technological) fasteners can include everything from nuts, bolts, screws, rivets and even specially designed items that are meant to hold things together. They can be made of steel, brass, plastic and more. They can be treated and designed to withstand heat, cold or unusual circumstances, too.
When it comes to constructing things that are meant to last, the fasteners are key. That’s what makes the industry so important. Just to make its domestic automobiles alone, the U.S. auto industry relies on an estimated 26 billion different fasteners each year.
Fasteners themselves can be a lot more complex than those found in a regular hardware store aisle, too. Specialty fasteners have been created for such industries as aerospace, automotive, nautical, chemical and more. Requirements on these items can be stringent, too. For example, some fasteners must be able to handle extreme heat, massive pressure, extreme cold or such considerations as an acidic environment or more.
Relied upon for keeping things together, the fastener is often the most overlooked item in a job, but it’s one of the most important. Without a reliable rivet, for example, sheet metal on heavy equipment wouldn’t hold. Without a good screw, a table might fall apart. If there were no fasteners, how would a plane stay together?
The industrial fastener isn’t the most glamorous of parts when it comes to airplanes, spacecraft and automobiles. And fasteners certainly aren’t thought about by the average homeowner when the drywall’s up and the walls are painted, but without them nothing would work correctly.