South America’s longest suspension bridge will be earthquake resistant

By Emma Barnes | Read Original Article >

Set to cost more than $700m, once completed the bridge will replace the ferry service that runs to Chiloe, bringing travel times down from 30-45 minutes to just 3 minutes. This will impact massively on the island’s economy and, it is hoped, will boost tourism in the area.

Rising to the challenge

Spanning 2750m, the Chacao will be South America’s longest suspension bridge. Tackling a project of this scale required a robust design, engineering and construction team, and a consortium made up of OAS, Hyundai, Systra and Aas Jakobsen won the work from the Chilean government, with Hyundai leading on construction and bringing in Arup as a consultant.

Arup formed a multidisciplinary consultation team to deal with the challenging site conditions, with geotechnics, maritime impacts, wind and seismic engineering, and anchorage and foundation design all key parts of the planning process.

Galvanised steel wire also offered the best breaking-strength-to-weight ratio for the suspension bridge cables, allowing the designers to fully optimise the bridge’s support structures while meeting the unique site requirements

The 2.7km span of the bridge will be supported by three steel-reinforced concrete towers, with two main-spans measuring 1,055m and 1,100m, and a suspended side-span of 380m. Supporting a highway with two lanes running in each direction, the 175m tall central tower will sit on Roca Remolinos, a small reef in the middle of the channel where a rocky outcrop breaks the surface.

Due to the high seismic activity in the area, it was vital that the structure of the suspension bridge have a correspondingly high ductility to deal with potential tremors. To ensure the seismic performance of the concrete towers, steel reinforcement bars were required in the pile structure, in addition to an external 70-mm thick steel casing at their top. This steel core also gave the foundations the flexibility to deal with the surging tides that hammer the bridge’s coastal location.

Surface level strength

It’s not just in the bridge’s foundations that steel is adding unparalleled ductility and strength. Throughout the bridge’s superstructure steel is crucial to the performance of the Chacao bridge against a set of challenging environmental criteria.

Designed for a 100-year lifespan, the bridge’s 24m-wide deck is fabricated from structural steel plate that plays a part in allowing it to resist wind speeds of more than 240kph. At the heart of this is its orthotropic box girder design, fashioned from 20,700 tonnes of high-strength steel.

Orthotropic bridges have their decks stiffened longitudinally with lattice girders and transversely with floor beams. This reinforcing allows the bridge deck to carry vehicular loads while also contributing to the overall load-bearing structure.

Modern high-strength steels are allowing for lighter structures that do not compromise on durability and strength. This material performance was vital for Chacao as the bridge deck and main cable weight, as well as the number of pylons, had to be kept as low as possible to deal with the location’s seismic activity.

Galvanised steel wire also offered the best breaking-strength-to-weight ratio for the suspension bridge cables, allowing the designers to fully optimise the bridge’s support structures while meeting the unique site requirements.

To achieve a project like this that pushes boundaries and has the power to connect communities in hard-to-reach locations, the designers are squeezing every last drop of performance from their materials. It is clear that when it comes to realising the impossible, engineers will continue to reach for steel.

Base Metals Rise on Optimism of U.S. Infrastructure Bill

by Alvaro Ledgard, November 8, 2021. Read Original Article >

(Bloomberg) — Base metals climbed higher on Monday, led by aluminum, as investors bank on increasing need for industrial materials to support billions of dollars in U.S. infrastructure spending. U.S. lawmakers passed the country’s biggest infrastructure package in decades on Friday, unleashing $550 billion of fresh spending on roads, bridges, public transit and other projects in the coming years.

“The market is projecting a significant amount of new investment in various projects that will require more copper and base metals,” TD Securities analyst Bart Melek said Monday in a phone interview.

Read more at: https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/aluminum-declines-as-chinese-auto-sales-drop-power-crunch-eases
Copyright © BloombergQuint

Our New Location

View a Gallery of Our New Location

Where in the world do an infinite range of custom fasteners come from? The type that keeps heavy machinery working or holds together the Golden Gate Bridge or marine industry equipment? It takes a big facility to house all that precise technology, and that’s what we’ve got!

Chicago Nut & Bolt is pleased to introduce our new location in East Dundee, Illinois.

With 50,000 square feet of space, including 4,500 square feet of offices and 500 square feet dedicated to a Quality Inspection laboratory, this is where we fulfill orders for customized bolts, nuts and screws from ¼ to 72 inches and design custom fasteners of any size. To get products quickly to their destination and keep the mining, heavy machinery, military, railroad construction and agricultural industries up and running, we’ve included four external truck docks, three drive-in doors and 1,500 pallet locations. If you’d like to visit, we also have 85 parking spots.

Drone Video of our New Location

145 Prairie Lake Road
East Dundee, IL 60118

Out with the Old: Buy American Act Regulations Set for Major Overhaul

Original Article by Fastener News Desk. Read Original Article >

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council published a proposed rule on July 30, 2021 to overhaul the regulations implementing the Buy American Act (BAA) in federal procurements. If enacted, the proposed rule would introduce major changes by: (1) increasing the domestic content threshold in BAA acquisitions, (2) adopting enhanced price preferences for “critical products” or items consisting of “critical components,” and (3) requiring contractors to report the domestic content of “critical” items delivered under federal contracts. The rule also foreshadows other potentially major changes by soliciting input regarding the BAA’s commercial information technology (IT) exception and certain BAA waivers for commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) items and in procurements covered by the Trade Agreements Act (TAA).

Government contractors that may be impacted by these changes should strongly consider attending an upcoming public meeting (August 26, 2021) and submitting comments (due September 28, 2021) on the proposed rule, as these could be the only meaningful opportunities they have to help shape the BAA requirements of the FAR.

BAA Background

The regulations implementing the BAA appear in FAR Part 25. Under the current regulations, federal agencies determine whether a manufactured end product or construction material qualifies as “domestic” using the following two-part test:

  1. The end product or construction material must be manufactured in the United States; and
  2. At least 55 percent of all component parts, measured by the cost of the components, must also be mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States.

The second element of the BAA test historically has been referred to as the “component test.” This part of the test is waived for acquisitions of COTS items (FAR 25.201(b)). For an end product consisting wholly or predominantly of iron or steel (or a combination of both), the cost of foreign iron and steel must be less than five percent of the cost of all components. This iteration of the component test is not waived for COTS items, except for COTS fasteners. Acquisitions for commercial IT currently are exempt from all BAA requirements (FAR 25.103(e)).

Importantly, the BAA does not prohibit federal agencies from purchasing foreign end products or use of foreign construction material. Rather, it encourages the use of domestic end products and construction material by imposing a price preference that makes agencies more likely to buy them. Currently, large businesses offering domestic supplies receive a 20 percent price preference, and small businesses receive a 30 percent price preference. It also is important to remember that the BAA does not apply to procurements subject to certain trade agreements, as set forth in the TAA and FAR subpart 25.4. In TAA-covered procurements, foreign end products and construction materials receive equal treatment if they come from certain countries with which the United States maintains a multilateral or bilateral trade agreement.

The New Proposed BAA Regulations

President Biden issued an executive order in January 2021 that promised to increase purchasing of American-made products and construction materials under federally-funded procurement contracts and financial assistance awards. Among the executive order’s many directives, Section 8 instructed FAR Council to consider amending the FAR to:

  1. Replace the “component test” with a test under which domestic content is measured by the value that is added to the product through U.S.-based production or U.S. job-supporting economic activity
  2. Increase the threshold for the domestic content requirement
  3. Increase the price preferences for domestic end products and domestic construction materials

The FAR Council has now spoken, issuing a proposed rule that would:

  1. Immediately increase the domestic content threshold from 55 percent to 60 percent
  2. Establish a schedule for gradual future increases up to 75 percent
  3. Create a temporary “fallback threshold” of 55 percent for use in acquisitions where qualifying end products or construction material are not available or too expensive
  4. Enact enhanced price preferences for any domestic product that is considered a “critical product” or comprised of “critical components”
  5. Impose a new postaward domestic content reporting requirement for contractors

Notably, the FAR Council did not recommend replacing the component test entirely, but indicated that it will continue to study ways the test can be improved to support domestic industry.

Increases to Domestic Content Threshold

Under the proposed rule, the domestic content threshold under the BAA’s two-part test would immediately increase from 55 percent to 60 percent. In two years, the threshold would jump to 65 percent and then to 75 percent five years thereafter. Suppliers with contracts that span one or more of these changes will be expected to comply with each increase as it arises. For example, according to the proposed rule, “a supplier awarded a contract in 2027 will have to comply with the 65 percent domestic content threshold initially, but in 2029 will have to supply products with 75 percent domestic content.”

“Fallback Threshold” of 55 Percent

The proposed rule also would allow federal agencies — until one year after the domestic content threshold reaches 75 percent — to purchase end products or construction materials with at least 55 percent domestic content when products or materials meeting the then-current threshold are not available or are too expensive. For example, during the applicable period for the 60 percent threshold, “if a domestic end product that exceeds the 60 percent domestic content threshold is determined to be of unreasonable cost after application of the price preference, then for evaluation purposes the Government will treat an end product that is manufactured in the United States and exceeds 55 percent domestic content, but not 60 percent domestic content, as a domestic end product.” This so-called “fallback threshold” of 55 percent does not apply to construction material that consists wholly or predominantly of iron or steel (or a combination of both) or to end products that consist wholly or predominantly of iron or steel (or a combination of both).

Enhanced Price Preferences for “Critical Products” and “Critical Components”

In addition, the proposed rule creates a framework for imposing enhanced price preferences in procurements for end products or construction materials that are deemed to be “critical” or made up of “critical components.” This would require offerors to identify in their proposals all domestic end products that are critical or contain a critical component. The products subject to the enhanced price preferences, along with the preferences themselves, will be identified in a separate rulemaking. According to the proposed rule, the process for identifying critical items and critical components will align with the quadrennial critical supply chain review instituted in E.O. 14017, America’s Supply Chains (86 FR 11849), as well as the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. Not all critical products identified through the supply chain review will necessarily qualify for the preference, however. Instead, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will lead a subsequent assessment to identify “those products for which procurement is likely to make a meaningful difference toward strengthening U.S. supply chains.”

Postaward Reporting Requirement

Finally, the proposed rule would require contractors to disclose, after contract award, the specific domestic content of the critical items, domestic end products containing a critical component, and domestic construction material containing a critical component they will deliver under the contract. This requirement will be implemented via two new FAR clauses, though neither clause would apply to COTS items or become “operational” until the rulemaking specifying critical items and components is completed. According to the FAR Council, this reporting requirement is intended to provide the government “insight into the actual domestic content of products sold under contract and thereby support the Administration’s broader supply chain security initiatives.”

Up Next: Taking Aim at Longstanding BAA Exceptions and Waivers?

Since issuing the E.O., the Biden administration has consistently signaled that it intends to challenge the continuing need for several BAA exceptions and waiver long-relied upon by government contractors. This includes the BAA’s commercial IT exception, the partial BAA waiver for COTS items, and the full BAA waiver in TAA-covered procurements. The proposed rule reinforces this message by seeking public input on the following questions:

  1. With respect to the BAA’s commercial IT exception, under what situations (if any) do current marketplace conditions support narrowing or lifting the statutory waiver?
  2. As to the partial BAA waiver for COTS items, the FAR Council asks:
    • Has the use of COTS expanded (or narrowed) since 2009 in ways that may not have been originally contemplated?
    • Has the COTS waiver benefitted domestic firms and their employees? Why or why not?
    • Under what situations, if any, do current marketplace conditions support narrowing or lifting the partial waiver?
    • Regardless of any other changes to the COTS partial waiver, should the federal government gather data on the domestic content of all COTS items, some COTS items, or categories of COTS items to inform future policy making? If so, what items or categories should be addressed? How might this be accomplished consistent with the intent of the COTS partial waiver to reduce administrative burdens?
    • Recommendations to maintain and increase domestic production of COTS items (both manufacturing of the end product and its components) in critical industries
  3. Regarding TAA-covered procurements:
    • What specific types of products are sold to the government that count as being made in America under the TAA (U.S.-made end product’), but contain less than 55 percent domestic content under the BAA?
    • Do the differing standards provide a benefit to domestic firms?
    • Is the “substantial transformation” under TAA a useful tool to promote good domestic jobs and domestic manufacturing? Why or why not?
    • What steps could the government take, consistent with its trade obligations, to acquire useful information about the content of goods procured pursuant to trade obligations, including in critical supply chains?
    • Do you have any recommendations to maintain and increase domestic production in critical industries in acquisitions subject to trade obligations?

Conclusion

Understandably, most government contractors have taken a “wait and see” approach since President Biden announced in January 2021 that the FAR’s BAA regulations would change. But now that the administration has laid its cards on the table in a proposed rule, the time for action has arrived. Contractors must immediately turn to evaluating the impact of the proposed rule on their business, supply chains, and compliance programs. They also should strongly consider weighing in on the proposed rule, either by attending the public meeting scheduled for August 26, 2021 or submitting comments to the FAR Council by September 28, 2021, or both. If you have questions about the proposed BAA rule or would like to become involved in the rulemaking process, please contact one of the Miller & Chevalier attorneys listed below:

Alejandro (Alex) L. Sarriaasarria@milchev.com, 202-626-5822

Jason N. Workmasterjworkmaster@milchev.com, 202-626-5893

Richard A. Mojicarmojica@milchev.com, 202-626-1571

Dana Wattsdwatts@milchev.com, 202-626-5875

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It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Industry Anymore

Original Article from Fastener News Desk. Read Original Article >

This post previews some of the key findings in the first report based on our research for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors into how distributors can take strategic action in response to disruption. Download the report now.

A lot has changed in the distribution industry in 25 years. Today’s customers:

  • Don’t need to speak with a distributor’s employees at all. Everything from availability to technical support to pricing to order processing, billing, settlement and even returns are processed seamlessly and via self-service.
  • Expect most products to be available – as in, delivered to their premises – in 24 hours. This timeframe keeps compressing as powerhouse disrupters like Amazon develop increasingly vaster fulfillment networks and delivery capabilities.
  • Can easily find almost any product, compare prices from different suppliers, place the order himself in minutes and receive it next day with free delivery.

This isn’t your grandfather’s distribution industry.

So, what do you do when your value proposition gets commoditized?

The internet, which at first looked like a new channel to replace printed catalogs and customer service personnel, has spawned new capabilities and competition that have seriously undermined the core value of what distributors offer customers. In many cases, for many customers:

  • Distributors no longer enjoy exclusive access to most products. Customers can buy almost anything from many different suppliers.
  • Distributors earn much less business through special sourcing operations adept at securing hard-to-find products. There are fewer and fewer hard-to-find products.
  • Distributors no longer offer the fastest way to get orders fulfilled. Today’s digital technology and incredible logistics networks enable competitors to deliver common products more quickly.

Many industries have seen technology-driven disruption over the last few decades. Typically, incumbents are caught off guard by changes that seem revolutionary to them but were actually evolving over a number of years. Our mission in our 2020 research series was to make the case that the wholesale distribution industry was facing disruption. Our mission in 2021 is to help you develop countermeasures that protect your business and help you fight back. To do that, we need a framework on which to compare and contrast the positions, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of incumbents and the disruptors.

A Framework for Disruption

Product transformation is an important concept in understanding the difference between what most distributors do — or could do if they chose — and what most disruptors offer customers. Disruptors prefer to offer and sell “untransformed products” — that is, items that are standardized in unit and measure and need no modification of any kind to interrupt a smooth and automated picking, packing and shipping operation. By contrast, distributors often add value by transforming products in many ways. Common examples include:

  • Kitting
  • Drive belt services
  • Color mixing
  • Labeling
  • Chain cutting/assembly

The information “flows” from distributors also tend to be more robust than what disruptors offer. This often adds a great deal of value for customers and helps them keep core operations running smoothly. Here are a few examples:

  • Product configurators
  • Parts design
  • Electrical usage analysis
  • Drive selection assistance
  • Safety risk assessments

Logistics capabilities are another important distinction between what disruptors and distributors offer customers. When it comes to moving small, packaged goods through common carrier networks, no one in the world is better than Amazon. However, consider all of the logistics capabilities distributors offer that Amazon does not — it is an impressive list. Here’s a sample:

  • Vending
  • Jobsite delivery
  • Asset tracking
  • Consignment inventory
  • Lamp and ballast recycling

Financial services, such as job financing, rentals, extended warranties, special payment terms and many more are also important benefits distributors offer. In contrast, most of the disruptors attacking the industry don’t even offer open account terms. That means financing services are a competitive weapon if distributors use them effectively. If not, they are just an added cost that distributors bear, and disruptors do not.

With these lists of capabilities and services in mind, we’ve constructed a model to understand how to think about the positions of distributors and disruptors in a time of disruption.

The Distributor Relative Value Model

One of the key differences between consumer markets and business markets is that the latter contain complex requirements that vary from customer to customer. Providing the right digital solutions is vastly more challenging in B2B than in B2C. This is one of the main reasons that distributors have been slow to adopt ecommerce. The disruptors entering distribution with ecommerce offerings have built platforms primarily suitable for non-complex transactions.

Given the nature of business customer requirements, that leaves a lot of “white space” where distributors can add value in ways many new entrants cannot. Our model demonstrates the relative value provided by distributors and disruptors in servicing B2B buyers. This is in some ways similar to a concept in investment finance called “relative valuation.”

Unlike absolute valuation models such as discount cash flows, relative valuation compares firms to cohorts. The notion is that the context of a company’s performance matters. How is it doing versus competitors? Our model changes the unit of measure to customer requirements instead of sales and earnings. In this way, we can compare the relative value contributions of companies based on the sum of the benefits they offer customers.

Read more about the Distributor Relative Value Model and how you can use it to evaluate your own business in our Research Report for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, Forces for Disruption and Strategic Responses. Download the free report now.

Overcoming galling issues with premium stainless steel fasteners

By Anders Söderman, technical director, Bumax AB Read Original Article in Fasterner + Fixing >

Galling is a common issue with standard stainless steel bolts and can pose serious problems for critical fastener applications. However, galling can be overcome even in the most challenging of applications – particularly by selecting premium quality stainless steel fasteners.

What is galling?
Galling is a form of adhesive wear caused by excessive friction between two moving surfaces. The process involves material being torn up and transferred between the two surfaces, when they are under sufficient load, that compress the surfaces together.

Standard stainless steel fasteners are prone to galling
Standard stainless steels have a tendency to gall under certain conditions due to their properties. Thread galling can occur with standard fasteners when pressure and friction cause the bolt threads to seize to the threads of a nut or tapped hole. Severe galling, known as ‘cold welding’, can cause the two surfaces to fuse together, which makes the joint impossible to be removed without cutting the bolt or splitting the nut.

The potentially disastrous implications of galling
The consequences and implications of galling should not be underestimated. A galled fastener may not be able to achieve the necessary pre-load – especially in case of dynamic loading.

Imagine critical fasteners in the rotating parts of a chemical pump or propeller galling. The joint is likely to be subject to a fatigue breakage, which will at least require costly maintenance and downtime for the customer or end user. However, in the worst case scenario, the fatigue breakage of critical fasteners can have serious safety implications that might result in accident or injury. Galled fasteners are also much more susceptible to corrosion, which can ultimately result in breakages.

 

 

How can galling be prevented?
Stainless steel fasteners offer several properties that are essential in many critical fastener applications, such as corrosion resistance. Despite the galling tendency of standard stainless steel fasteners, the good news is that galling can be avoided by selecting premium fasteners and taking preventative measures.

It is important to consider how galling can be avoided from the outset when designing a particular fastener application in order to avoid a great deal of rework, maintenance and costs further down the line. The following advice can help solve galling issues:

Correct material selection: Selecting the correct material for your specific application is extremely important as certain types of stainless steel are more prone to galling due to their passive chromium oxide layer and alloying elements. For example, fully hardened steel is much more resistant to galling than annealed (softened) steel. In particular, strain-hardened stainless steels that have been cold formed provide excellent galling resistance due to their improved strength and reduced ductility.
Choose premium fasteners: As galling is common between metal surfaces in sliding contact with each other, premium fasteners that are designed to perfectly fit together can significantly reduce the risk of galling, as they minimise movement and friction. Here, high-quality threads with less surface deviations that can rub together and avoid galling issues are essential. For example, thread rolling is a premium fastener manufacturing technique that ensures greater hardness, and a higher quality and smoother thread compared with cut threads. Good quality threads with no sharp thread crest or surface defects are extremely important when producing fasteners that are far less susceptible to galling.
Lubrication: This can reduce galling by allowing the two materials to slide past each other without causing friction. Some leading premium fastener manufacturers use custom-made wax to provide a friction coefficient of 0.10 – 0.12, which enables accurate torque calculations. Anti-seizing and anti-galling lubricants can also help reduce galling.
Don’t use damaged fasteners: A bolt with dented or damaged threads has a significantly increased chance of galling. Check all fasteners for damage that may have occurred during shipping. Dirty bolts with debris in the threads can also greatly increase the risk of galling – so make sure you only use clean bolts.
Careful installation: As the stainless steel passive chromium oxide layer can be damaged by high temperature and pressure, tightening bolts more slowly can reduce friction and heat that can cause galling. This may involve avoiding the use of power tools that can cause excessive friction and heat. Calculations should be made for particular applications to determine the kind of tools that can be used.

 

 

 

Overcoming severe galling in Japan

NARA Machinery recently invested in premium stainless steel fasteners for its powder handling machines to successfully overcome severe galling issues with standard fasteners.

The Japanese company NARA Machinery manufactures powder handling machines for various industrial customers around the world. Many of the machines require a high degree of air tightness with firmly tightened stainless steel screws. However, as screws that have powder contact cannot be lubricated, they are highly susceptible to thread galling issues.

“We previously used standard 304 and 316 stainless steel screws for all our machines, but our customers experienced galling and gorging issues with these screws,” explains Kenichi Johara, technical director at NARA Machinery. “The screws also had air leakage issues and required frequent removal for cleaning and maintenance purposes.”

Such issues and maintenance needs resulted in costly procedures and downtime for NARA Machinery’s industrial customers. “In the worst instances, galled screws had to be cut and carefully removed and replaced to protect against dust getting into the machine,” says Johara.

Johara continues: “However, we then found BUMAX via the internet and tested installing BUMAX 88 screws on a customer machine in Japan that had experienced galling issues. Since installing BUMAX screws, the customer has not reported any issues with galling or air tightness.”

Following this successful trial, NARA Machinery has recently built a brand new machine with BUMAX 88 screws. “Going forward, we plan to use BUMAX screws for all new powder handling machines we manufacture that require air tightness,” says Johara. “This will help our customers avoid the need for costly downtime due to the maintenance and replacement needs related to galling.”

The use of BUMAX 88 screws has helped NARA Manufacturing to further develop its high-quality powder handling machines. “We are very happy to have found BUMAX, and I would strongly recommend BUMAX products to other companies that experience similar galling issues,” concludes Johara.

Custom Bolts | Custom Fasteners

Fastener design

By Peter Standring, technical secretary, Industrial Metalforming Technologies (IMfT) for Fastener + Fixer Magazine. Read Original Article >

In Issue 123 (May 2020) of Fastener + Fixing Magazine I penned an article titled: ‘Design engineers and fasteners’1 in which I asked the question: “Where will the designers of tomorrow learn about fasteners?”

A simple scan of Fastener + Fixing Magazine, will instantly reveal a potential mind-numbing plethora of fastener types, designs and range of applications. Naturally, these cover every sector of human life from communication and construction, to transport and manufacture. However, as would be quickly recognised, fasteners are rarely sectorial.

A good idea used for one purpose can readily be identified as such and used in another. Enter virtually any domestic garden shed and somewhere you will be almost guaranteed to find a box, jar or pot which contains a collection of different fasteners – nails, tacks, wood screws, nuts/bolts, clips, etc – each awaiting their day in the sun when something needs repairing, joining or whatever else. The question we might justifiably ask is ‘How is it that so many potentially multifunctional items come to be designed in the first place?’

Serendipity or need?

Whilst you are reading this, just consider what it might be like if all the fasteners in the world simply disappeared. What situation would you find yourself in right now? Nothing assembled, nothing manufactured, only a cave for shelter and perhaps fruit to eat? Of course, you could always decorate the inside of your cave with hand painting or crude representations of the natural world but survival would probably come first.

It would be a fascinating exercise to plot the story of human development through the devices that have been made to fasten things together. Such a timeline would naturally include tools, weapons, domestic and agricultural items. Initially these would only involve natural materials, wood, stone, fibres etc, and later, manufactured materials and their products.

As with today’s social media, in the past, when populations grew and the means of communication/travel expanded, so did the sharing of information. At the core of this expansion are fasteners without which, progress to the world of today would have been utterly impossible.

In an age when being ‘green’ is rolled out across the planet, it is interesting to reflect on how ‘green’ can be harvested. It is in the energy from the sun, the wind, the sea but other than in geothermal springs, there has not yet been any serendipitous discovery that has provided humans with access to its constant use. In fact, the only way in which humans have made progress in anything has been through the deliberate and conscious application to problem solving. As the old saying goes: ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, therefore to make progress, we must first identify the need.

Six degrees of freedom

Despite the philosopher’s question, ‘when is a chair not a chair’, or the mathematician’s delight in a universe of multiple dimensions, today, we can still only move in three directions. Up, down, forward and back, side to side. Or in technical terms, movement along the Cartesian axes of x, y and z. These three movements along the perpendicular axes can be accompanied by three rotations about these axes producing six in total. In short, as shown, these are the ‘six degrees of freedom’, which define the physical space for all movement.

These simple translations and rotations form the basis for all engineering design. If you want a machine system to move a body (workpiece, package, whatever) along x and y then to rotate about z, this means you will need to prevent translation along z and rotation around x and y. Machine tools, surface tables, and an all manner of devices use designs based on this principle to allow or restrict motion.

In exactly the same way, fastening systems must also be designed to restrict or allow movement as the design dictates. Moreover, in the case of all fastening devices, the nature of the loading (tensile, compressive, shear) and its application (direct, constant, intermittent) must also be considered.

The action of fastening two or more items together brings to mind the concept of tying, screwing, nailing, gluing and welding to name but a few. In all these situations the mental image is of an assembled item, which is secured from movement. And yet, huge numbers of individual items that are fastened together can only function if they allow movement.

The simplest cases are pivots, which prevent movement in some directions but not in others. Scissors, gimbals and goniometers are three examples of increasingly complex rotation. Likewise, in the case of translation along axes, a spring loaded pin, a scotch yoke and a combination of these could provide well known examples. In short all bearings and moving parts can only function to achieve their design intent, if they are prevented from motion (fastened) along or around other axes.

Design for function

As Newton stated in his third law of motion: ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. Geometry, gravity and friction are often cooperating bedfellows in preventing movement. Examples of the use of geometry are found and widely used everywhere. A ball in a cone, a key in a slot, a vee section in a slideway, etc. The mass of an object plus its frictional characteristics with the surface, which supports it are undoubtable factors, provided the action of the applied load is in the design direction. Tilt, or rotate the object, and the influence of gravity and the effect of friction may be very different.

The movement of a railway train is a good example. The mass keeps the wheels on the rails and the profiles of the wheels and rails ensure that it cannot slide off. This situation is somewhat different on a wild ride rollercoaster where the thrill seeking designers include the sort of motion derived ‘G’ forces that some folks spend large sums of money to ‘endure’. The Maglev trains require huge energy sources to enable them to transcend the influence of gravity and negate that of friction, but it still needs to ensure it stays on the tracks.

So, where should fastener design begin? Clearly, function is what is being sought but before that can be achieved, the initial question must be, what are the forces it must resist? A simple example in using a circular, multi tooth milling cutter would be, is the cutting action up or down? Up cutting would naturally apply forces, which would try to lift the workpiece off the table; down cutting would have the force passing into the table and, of course, allow for heavier cuts. Whatever the action, the workholding method must be capable of ensuring the workpiece is secure under conditions of intermittent loading.

So, step one – know the loading conditions to be experienced and include an excess factor (factor of safety).

As in any situation, the reaction will be equal to the force that caused it. Place a heavy object on a non-resistant surface and it will sink. Attach a fastener to a surface that is unable to take the applied load and it will fail.

Step two – make sure the object to which the fastener is being applied is capable of achieving the intended function.

Ignoring permanent joints obtained by welding, gluing, etc, those achieved by individual fasteners (for example, rivets) offer interesting options. The resulting tightness of the joint can provide a bearing function for example on slideways and lever systems (scissors) or as permanent joints using both through hole or self piercing rivets.

Alternatively, non-permanent fasteners can be applied in almost all situations using through holes, blind holes, grooves, slots and many combinations using both geometry and friction to obtain the desired function. The major restriction for use of individual fasteners is access.

Step three – ensure there is sufficient space around and access to the area where the fastener is to be used in order for it to function as designed. Also ensure that it can be inserted/removed without compromise.

Conclusion

In the one billion years there has been life on earth, nature has been continuously trialling different biological and chemical ways to join stuff. We have been doing it with design intent for at best a few thousand years.

Progress comes about through the linkage of circumstance to need. The Covid-19 virus apart, our current need is based around supply chains, population growth and climate change. For us, choice is everywhere (assuming normal times) and given this, some way of making a rational decision is the sensible way forward.

In the selection of fasteners, given there are so many options, a simple Decision Matrix listing the fastener requirements against the available choices and applying a simple weighting of 0 to 10 say, would be a useful method of assessment.

As the golfing pro responded to a cry of ‘lucky’ when he holed his bunker shot, “it amazes me that, the more I practice the luckier I seem to get”.

This is clearly true in all walks of life and particularly true for those wishing to use fasteners in their designs. A first class design would satisfy the function, the assembly/cost demand, provide a full in service product life and allow for audited, cost-effective end of life disposal. Almost as easy as holing a bunker shot?

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Heightened Buy American Act Requirements Are Here and More Are on the Way

February 19, 2021 by JD Supra >

To protect the U.S. industrial base, among other reasons, companies that sell goods to the U.S. government are required to comply with domestic source restrictions that dictate the percentage of domestic content and have the potential to impact design, sourcing, and manufacturing decisions. In many respects, these restrictions are out of step with the decades-long trend toward globalization of commercial supply chains.

Two recent developments, the implementation of former President Trump’s July 15, 2019, Executive Order 13881, Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials, and President Biden’s January 25, 2021, Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers, continue to tighten these restrictions. These requirements have the potential to cause a further divergence between commercial and government production, reversing the push toward commercial contracting and eliminating the associated efficiencies and cost-savings to the U.S. taxpayers.
Overview of the Buy American Act

The Buy American Act (BAA), 41 U.S.C. §§ 8301-8305, provides a price preference for goods sold to the U.S. government that are deemed to be “domestic end products.” To qualify for that designation, a product has to be both manufactured in the United States and the majority of its components have to be sourced domestically. For decades prior to the January 2021 final rule, the domestic component, or content, requirement, was set at 50%. In addition, that domestic content requirement was waived for all commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) items.
Implementation of EO 13881’s Changes to the Buy American Act

Three Major Changes

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council (FARC) issued a final rule, effective January 21, 2021, implementing President Trump’s EO 13881. The rule, which applies to solicitations issued on or after February 22, 2021, implements the following three major changes for procurements subject to the BAA:

Raises the required amount of domestic content from 50% to 55% as measured by cost.
Except for commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) fasteners (g., nuts, bolts, pins, rivets, nails, and screws), domestic iron and steel end products and construction material, including commercial items and COTS items, may contain no more than 5% foreign iron or steel.
Raises the price evaluation preference for domestic items in non-Department of Defense (DoD) procurements from 12% to 30% for small businesses and from 6% to 20% for large businesses (the DoD price preference, 50% regardless of the size of the business before this rule, remains the same).

Impact of the Changes

While the percentage changes for domestic content from 50% to 55% may not be large, it could have major impacts on production decisions. For items that previously qualified as domestic such that they received the BAA price evaluation preference, contractors whose products no longer qualify may now need to make significant sourcing and production changes to maintain those price advantages over foreign-manufactured goods.

To the extent contractors are unwilling or unable to make those changes and thereby lose the now-higher price preference, these increased domestic content requirements may have the counter-intuitive impact of providing an advantage to foreign-manufactured goods in some circumstances. Hopefully, the increased price-preference will prove a sufficient motivation to make the necessary sourcing changes.

The separate higher standards for iron and steel end products, which implement for the first time in the BAA regulations a distinction that has existed for years in the Buy America domestic source restrictions applicable to certain federal grant programs (see, e.g., Federal Transit Administration regulations at 49 C.F.R. Part 661 and Federal Highway Administration regulations at 23 C.F.R. § 635.410), may present an even greater challenge.

Because the standard 50% domestic content requirement previously applied to iron and steel end products and construction material, U.S. manufacturers may have to increase the percentage of domestic metal in their iron or steel products by 45% to qualify for the price preference under the new, separate domestic content requirement of 95% for iron or steel products. That may not be economically feasible, and even it if is, it may not be possible before the date on which these new rules will be incorporated into solicitations and resulting contracts. This challenge is mitigated to a degree by the fact that contractors that work on sub-awards funded under federal grants subject to the Buy America regulations likely already manufacture steel and iron end products that comply with the new BAA rules.

Before the issuance of the final rule, the government does not appear to have collected any information regarding how many domestic products will now be considered foreign as a result of these changes. While the final rules recognize that it “has the potential to slightly increase the estimated percentage of foreign offers,” it makes clear that neither the FARC nor the Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC) “have any data on how many currently domestic products would fall into this category … [n]or do the Councils have any knowledge as to which option an offeror of such products would select since this is a business decision to make.”

While these changes, mandated by EO 13881, were unavoidable, the lack of any market analysis is an unfortunate oversight in a rule purportedly designed to give additional protection to the U.S. industrial base where there is a risk that the increased price preference may be insufficient to motivate domestic manufacturers to make the product changes necessary to continue to qualify for those preferences.
Examples of the New Iron and Steel Requirements

To help contractors understand how the new iron and steel requirements will be implemented, the rule includes these helpful examples:

A steel beam. For purposes of this example, this steel beam consists wholly of steel. The cost of all material in the beam, excluding final manufacture, overhead costs, and profit, is $50. If the steel beam is rolled from steel bloom, then the steel beam probably contains either all domestic steel or all foreign steel. However, if the beam is welded or riveted from separate steel plates, then it is conceivable that some of the steel plates could have been formed from steel not produced in the United States. If the cost of the foreign steel plates used to make the beam equals or exceeds $2.50 (i.e., 5% of the cost of all the components used in the product), then the entire beam is a foreign construction material.
A steel safe. The steel safe may include other components such as a combination lock, a dehumidifier, or drawers. The safe costs $1,000 and the cost of all components in the safe is $500. If the cost of the steel plates or other steel mill products (excluding COTS fasteners) utilized in the manufacture of the safe exceeds $250 (i.e., 50% of the total cost of all the components as defined in FAR 25.003), then the safe consists predominantly of steel. If the cost of foreign iron or steel mill products (such as bar, billet, slab, wire, plate, or sheet), castings, or forgings utilized in the manufacture of the safe and a good faith estimate of the cost of all foreign iron or steel components (excluding COTS fasteners) is less than $25 (i.e., 5% of the cost of all the components used in the product), then the safe is a domestic end product.
A refrigerator. The refrigerator consists of many components and materials. The exterior cabinet and door and the inner cabinet of this refrigerator are steel. The refrigerator also includes insulation, a cooling system, refrigerant, and fixtures. The refrigerator costs $2,000 and the cost of all components in the refrigerator is $1,000. If the cost of the steel plates or other steel mill products (excluding COTS fasteners) utilized in the manufacture of the refrigerator does not exceed $500 (i.e., 50% of the total cost of all the components as defined in FAR 25.003), then the refrigerator does not consist predominantly of steel.

President Biden’s EO 14005

In his first three weeks in office, President Biden has issued a flurry of 30 Executive Orders, including one that will have both near-term and, potentially, long-term impacts on the BAA regime. Following through on a campaign promise, EO 14005 provides that it is the policy of the new administration to use grants and procurements to “maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.” The EO, which revokes several of President Trump’s BAA Executive Orders and supersedes others, including EO 13881, to the extent they are inconsistent with EO 14005, does not, however, mandate any immediate changes to the BAA rules. Rather, EO 14005 tightens waiver processes, heightens reporting requirements, and directs a review of the current laws and regulations to determine what, if any, changes are necessary.

While the EO directs a review of the BAA, its impact is much broader, requiring a general review of all statutes, regulations, rules, and EOs relating to grants or procurements that provide a preference for U.S. goods referred to generally as “Made in America Laws.” It also establishes a “Made in America Office” in the Office of Management and Budget, to which any waiver request must be submitted with a detailed supporting justification. No doubt these soon-to-be-implemented waiver requirements will impact contractors by slowing the process and putting in place a more rigorous review of waiver justifications.

The EO also does the following:

Directs review of the current list of nonavailable articles.
Requires agencies file an initial report with the new Made in America Director regarding implementation and compliance with Made in America Laws, use of longstanding waivers, and recommendation on how to further effectuate the EO, as well as bi-annual reports thereafter.
Directs that there be increased transparency relating to waivers.

With regard to the BAA, the EO directs the FARC to promote enforcement of the BAA by considering the following revisions:

Replace the “component test” in Part 25 of the FAR that is used to identify domestic end products and domestic construction materials with a test under which domestic content is measured by the value that is added to the product through U.S.-based production or U.S. job-supporting economic activity.
Increase the numerical threshold for domestic content requirements for end products and construction materials.
Increase the price preferences for domestic end products and domestic construction materials.

Takeaways for Government Contractors

For companies that expect to compete for government contracts subject to the BAA in the near future, it is important to confirm your goods meet the increased domestic content requirements – 95% for iron and steel end items, 55% for everything else – before certifying compliance. And while it will be some time before we can assess the full impact of EO 14005, in the near term the heightened review of waivers and the increased focus on domestic sourcing suggest that contractors should review their manufacturing process to ensure compliance with all Made in America laws and, to the extent contractors are relying on waivers, confirm that the justification supporting those waivers are still valid.

These domestic source requirements are complex, and with the additional attention and more rigorous review comes an increased likelihood of enforcement actions for inaccurate certifications and other violations.

We’re Moving!

We are very excited about our upcoming move to a newly built location in East Dundee. We will have double the capacity as well as a brand new lab. Move will be taking place in the middle of February, more details to follow!

Our New Address:
145 Prairie Lake Road,
East Dundee, IL 60118

Chicago Nut and Bolt New Location

 

How the Phillips Screwdriver Took Over America

The Robertson screw is better in multiple ways, but Henry Ford sealed its fate in the U.S.

By Chris Perkins, August 2020 for Road and Track. Read original article >

The history of the screw, and by inevitable implication, the screwdriver, is complicated. In One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw, Witold Rybczynski, professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, traces the metal fasteners to the 15th century, though it wasn’t until the early 18th century that the screw became common. Around then, gunsmiths developed purpose-built tournevis (French for “screwdriver”) for use in the intricate workings of early firearms. A century later, when screws could be mass-produced, factories cranked out accompanying screwdrivers.

According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, toolmaker Joseph Whitworth devised Britain’s first standardized screw in 1841. American engineer William Sellers did the same for his country in 1864. Standardized screw heads and screwdrivers emerged later. Early screws used either a slotted head or some sort of square or octagonal drive. As screw production increased, slotted drives became standard. But if you’ve ever cammed (slipped) a screw-head slot, you know why it’s not the only design. Enter Peter Lymburner Robertson. The official history from the Robertson Screw Company says that Robertson, a Canadian inventor and industrialist, cut himself when the blade slipped during a demonstration of a new spring-loaded screwdriver, forcing an epiphany that the world needed a new type of screw. Robertson designed a fastener that featured a square socket tapering towards a truncated pyramidal bottom, winning a Canadian patent for his work in 1907. It’s a brilliant design—Robertson screws won’t easily cam out, and the socket shape helps center the screwdriver, making one-handed operation easy.

The Robertson was perfect for the burgeoning auto industry. Ford began using it to assemble Model Ts at its Windsor, Ontario, plant, where the screw’s time-saving qualities reduced costs by a significant $2.60 per car. But unless you’re Canadian, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Robertson screws. That’s because Henry Ford wanted to use Robertsons in all of his plants, and he wanted more control over how they were made. Robertson, by most accounts a stubborn man, wouldn’t agree. No deal was struck, and the Canadian lost an important part of his business. Meanwhile, other engineers worked on their own types of screw heads.

According to Rybczynski, the one that stuck came from inventor John P. Thompson and businessman Henry F. Phillips. A Phillips screw offers many of the benefits of a Robertson and can be driven by a traditional slotted screwdriver in a pinch. Phillips licensed his design to the giant American Screw Company, which got General Motors to use the screw in the 1936 Cadillac. Within the decade, almost all automakers were using Phillips screws.

A Phillips is, arguably, not a better screw than a Robertson. Consumer Reports once wrote that “compared with slotted and Phillips-head screwdrivers, the Robertson worked faster, with less cam-out.” However, cam-out was good for automakers increasingly relying on automation, as it meant screws wouldn’t be overtightened. Today the Phillips is the standard, except in Canada, where the Robertson remains popular, and in Japan, which has its own cruciform screw, the Japanese Industrial Standard.

Next time you strip out a Phillips, shake your fist at Henry Ford.

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