Category Archives: American Manufacturing

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?


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., 202-626-5822

Jason N., 202-626-5893

Richard A., 202-626-1571

Dana, 202-626-5875

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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.

Fastener Facts from Engine Builder

Original article by Engine Builder >
Some of the most stressed out parts of a high-dollar performance engine are the relatively inexpensive nuts and bolts that hold it all together. If you’re building a performance engine – whether it’s for the street or the racetrack – using stock fasteners in the most critical areas could be asking for trouble. That tricked-out stroker crank and rods and flowed set of heads may be in jeopardy if you bolt it all together using stock or otherwise inferior fasteners.

No matter what the application, there is not one fastener that is right for every job.

Different materials and designs have different advantages in different applications, and selecting the right fastener for the job may be difficult at best when choosing from such a wide array of materials. Variables such as strength, temperature, movement, vibration and fatigue all come into play when deciding on the right bolt or stud. The following article details some of the basic definitions and facts about fasteners that’ll show you why not all fasteners are the same.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the most common mechanical property that is referred to when talking about fastener strength. It is the maximum tension-applied load the fastener can support before it fractures.


Fatigue in a fastener can cause sudden, unexpected failures. A fatigued fastener can fail even when loads are below the strength of the material due to operating under constant cyclic loads. Fatigue strength is often defined as the maximum stress a fastener can withstand for a specified number of repeated cycles before it fails.

Some of the most important fasteners in the engine such as cylinder head bolts, connecting rod bolts and main bearing and cap bolts are subject to fatigue forces. It is important to use fasteners with high fatigue strength, as well as the tensile strength, to hold the joint together under high-pressure forces in these applications.


Torsion strength is typically the amount of torque or friction a fastener can safely handle before it breaks. One thing to remember is that when torque is applied to a fastener, most of the input is spent in overcoming friction. Roughly 85-95 percent of the energy you have spent tightening the fastener is lost, leaving only about 5-15 percent in actual clampload. Because of this, any slight variation in friction can lead to significant changes in resulting preload conditions.

These variables include surface roughness, surface finish, lube, load-range, dimensions, temperature and torque sequence. This is why it’s so important to achieve consistent friction conditions and to use the methods that allow the most consistent torquing. So the preload target will depend on the lube you use (most use a Moly lube or 30 weight oil) and the tightening sequence.

Proof Load

Each material has a certain amount of elastic range, meaning the fastener can be stretched to a certain point but when the load is released it can return to the original shape. But if the load applied exceeds the elastic range and therefore causes the fastener to go past the yield point, it then reaches what is called the plastic range of the fastener. The fastener material is no longer able to return to original size.

The proof load is an applied tensile load that can be applied before permanent deformation. It represents the useable range of a fastener before it goes into its “plastic range” where it cannot return to its original size and shape. At this point of yield, permanent elongation of the fastener sets in. If you continued to load the fastener, it will reach its ultimate tensile strength in which “necking” or elongation occurs until it is stretched to the point of breakage.

Shear Strength

Shear strength is the maximum load a fastener can take before it fails when it is applied at a right angle to its axis. A load occurring in one transverse plane is called single shear, while a load that is applied in two planes, where a fastener may be sliced in three pieces, is called double shear.


Racing applications require high quality, precision tolerance fasteners to achieve the clampload and fatigue strength that is needed in a harsh environment where there are extreme forces placed against them. Materials used to make fasteners vary with the application and load carrying needs.

The most common high-grade material is medium carbon alloy steel that is used in making SAE J429 Grade 8 bolts. These bolts are often used by OEMs in high stress applications and in some racing applications and are rated at 150,000 psi tensile and 130,000 psi yield with a proof load of 120,000 psi.

“One of the issues with Grade 8 bolts is that there are some areas where you really don’t want to use them,” says Doc Hammett, Totally Stainless. “If there’s a cycling load on them you could start to get into trouble. A classic example was on the old belt drives where street rodders were using Grade 8 for accessories and they were breaking bolts all of a sudden. Many were left scratching their heads until someone figured out the bolts were fatigued. The higher the carbon steel the more they are prone to fatigue. Fastener manufacturers add other alloys to carbon steels and change the properties to suit their specific needs. This is one of the most interesting things about steel: you can add a little bit of something and make the properties change drastically.”

Hammett says one of the biggest things that Totally Stainless has done recently is to introduce large high-strength stainless bolts. Stainless steel by definition is anything with at least 12 percent chromium in it. “There are over 1,000 different alloys of stainless,” says Hammett. “What people generally think of is 300 series stainless is generally a low strength material and is not heat treatable. The most common 300 series is an 18-8. It’s 18 percent chrome and 8 percent nickel. The tensile strength for 1/2? and larger 18-8 stainless bolts is no more than 80,000 psi and the yield strength is only 45,000 psi. We use 17-4 PH for our high-strength bolts, this material is heat treatable and has a tensile strength of 200,000 psi and a yield strength of 175,000. We electro polish them, which makes them more corrosion resistant.”

Don Trapp of A1 Technologies says his company starts out with the basic alloy 4340 or 8740 that is 190-ksi minimum. From that point it goes up to 280 ksi. “The 4340 or 8740 is already far above an OEM fastener in strength and quality. We use a lot of H11, which is a toolsteel for Top Fuel, Funny Car and some in Top Alcohol and Injected Nitro classes use it also. This is a 240 ksi minimum graded material.”

Trapp says almost every team in the top classes of drag racing uses this bolt material, because these cars are some of the most extreme applications. “As far as boost for superchargers and horsepower, to clamp a head and main studs down on a Top Fuel engine is a pretty extreme proposition. We also use this material quite a bit in Sport Compact classes because they use extreme boost levels in many cases. There are many teams running 60 lbs. of boost on top of high compression, so the cylinder pressures are what you would call extreme.”

The next step up from 4340 or 8740 steel is 1722 (AMS 6304). Manufacturer ARP calls it ARP 2000 and it’s all the same material, a 220 ksi material. The next step would be H11, which ARP calls L19. It too is the same material and also comes from Carpenter. Those are getting up to 240-250 ksi. You can go higher than that but it becomes brittle, according to Trapp.

The next step up include two materials: Custom Made 625 and Aerospace Material Specification (AMS) 5844. Trapp says A1 Technologies gets both materials from Carpenter as well. “The AMS 5844 has a trademark name MP35M, which means it’s multiphase,” says Trapp. MP35N is an age hardenable Nickel-Cobalt base alloy that has a unique combination of properties – ultra high strength, toughness, ductility and outstanding corrosion resistance. MP35N resists corrosion in hydrogen sulphide, salt water and other chloride solutions. ARP calls this material ARP 3.5.

Both of those materials are considered a super alloy and are a very high nickel base. The last two are stainless steels because there’s so much nickel in them. One is mostly nickel and the multiphase is Nickel-Cobalt. Right now the multiphase is about the strongest fastener material out there. But the material alone is $75 a pound before anyone begins making the fastener.


There is definitely a relationship between torque and preload, but there is some confusion as to the difference. With connecting rods it is not too difficult to use the stretch method and to measure the preload by measuring stretch. But in head bolts it is much more difficult to measure and you’re basically reliant on the torque wrench to stretch the bolt. A torque wrench needs to be recalibrated often and you need very clean threads that have been burnished in so there is very little friction. The preload is the force on the bolt that clamps the joint together. Torque, however, is just the mechanism used to get the desired preload.


There’s a huge difference in torque depending on what type of lube you use, whether it’s engine oil or extreme pressure lube (EPL), which is used quite a bit in NASCAR for instance. Trapp says A1 Technologies doesn’t recommend any particular type of lube. “We normally recommend that the higher the torque is the more efficient lube you use. It’s better for the fastener and the torsional stress. Friction can take up to 80 percent of the torque to overcome so the more you can reduce friction, the less torsional force you put on the fastener and the more effectively you’ll stretch the stud, which is really the goal.”

Head Studs

Generally, when you torque the stud you put a certain amount of stretch on it. The smallest diameter of the stud is where the stretch is going to occur. So if the threads are your smallest diameter, that’s where it will stretch. If you make the body smaller (undercut), then you begin to make the stretch in the body of the fastener be it a stud or a bolt, as opposed to making it occur in the threads. That’s why in a rod bolt, you rarely see one that doesn’t have an undercut. Head studs, depending on the application, you may have an undercut or you may have an in-between or full-body stud.

An in-between doesn’t elongate much while achieving its clampload as opposed to a full undercut stud that will actually elongate a little further. One stud may stretch .005? to achieve 20,000 lbs. of clampload. The other one may stretch .0075? to get the same amount of clampload.

You can reuse any bolt as long as you don’t get into the yield of the bolt and stay within 80 percent of its yield strength. You can still yield even a very strong fastener so it’s a one time only use fastener. It depends on what you want to design and what torque you utilize.

“There’s a whole world of fasteners out there that engine builders need and that industrial suppliers just don’t have. That’s why we are in business,” says Totally Stainless’ Doc Hammett. Keep this in mind next time you are looking for fasteners for your performance build.

Custom Bolts and Fasteners for Engine Manufacturing

Rush work, emergency orders…it’s not our first rodeo

Rush and emergency work have been in our DNA for a long time. The supply chain delivering the world’s goods can be interrupted, as we are seeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chicago Nut & Bolt has been keeping manufacturing lines running and products shipping for a long time. We can accommodate emergency and rush custom orders overnight or within a few hours.

As soon as our CNB representative or engineer receives your request and specifications though fax or email, pricing as well as delivery information is sent within minutes. The person who takes your order tracks the entire production schedule from production to packaging and final shipment. Finding a supplier that will produce your custom part is hard, but we are a company that can have your part ready just when you need it.

custom fastener bolts, emergency and rush work

Rush Orders Custom Bolts | Emergency Orders Custom Fasteners

Chicago Nut & Bolt Deemed an “Essential Business” During COVID-19 Pandemic

We are operating at full capacity.

The Department of Homeland Security has deemed that Chicago Nut & Bolt falls within the Critical Manufacturing Infrastructure Sector. As a business which falls within these guidelines, we’ll  continue to operate despite any Nationally or State ordered quarantine.

We qualify under several of the designated categories, as we support the following categories:  Earth moving, Mining, Agricultural, and Construction Equipment / Locomotive, Railroads & Transit Cars, and Rail Track Equipment.

At this time we will continue normal business hours.


Keeping Golden Gate Bridge in good shape as it turns 80

Original Article by Carl Nolte May 27, 2017 for The San Francisco Chronicle

As the Golden Gate Bridge was being built, Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer, was often asked: How long will the bridge last? His answer was always the same.

“Forever,” he said.

The famous span turns 80 on Saturday, not quite forever, but nearly a lifetime. And how long the bridge lasts depends on a small army of painters, ironworkers, electricians and engineers whose job over the years has taken them to the top and the bottom of the towers and everywhere else on the bridge.

Currently, the Golden Gate Bridge employs 32 painters, five painter laborers, 19 ironworkers, and three ironworker foremen, called “pushers” in the trade. A superintendent is in overall charge.

Though the painters are the most visible of the maintenance crew, it’s the ironworkers, who walk the high steel and build the scaffolding for the painters, who capture the public imagination.

“We have a nickname. They call us Sky Cowboys,” said Phillip Chaney, 57, the ironworker superintendent.

Their job is to replace rusting rivets with bolts, to build scaffolding for the painters and to make sure the bridge is sound.

“The paint protects the steel, but it’s the steel that holds up the bridge,” Chaney said.

“We have a corner office with a view,” said Darren McVeigh, 51, a second-generation ironworker who has been with the Golden Gate Bridge for 15 years and in the trade since 1982.

It’s “rough and dirty work,” McVeigh said, but it’s a good job.

Ironworkers report at 6:30 in the morning and are off by 3. It’s a union job, and the pay is good: $41.53 an hour, according to bridge district figures. It takes a four-year apprenticeship to become a journeyman, and Golden Gate work is especially prized in the trade: Bridge workers get 13 paid holidays, plus vacation.

In other jobs, McVeigh said, “When you don’t work, you don’t get paid.”

On the other hand, working on the Golden Gate presents special problems. The bridge crosses a strait on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and the strait is famous for its wind and fog.

“Sometimes it cuts through you like a knife,” McVeigh said. “It’s brutal, just brutal. At the end of the day, all you can do is stand under a hot shower.”

The moisture from the fog and rain also add an element of danger to the work because it makes the steel slippery.

No one can be an ironworker who has a fear of heights, but the trade requires a finely honed sense of caution.

“You know the saying: ‘One hand for the company and one hand for yourself,’” McVeigh said.

All ironworkers on the bridge are required to wear a harness — 100 percent tie-off they call it — but there’s a trade-off. With layers of clothing on a chilly day, a body harness and a tool belt, ironworkers look like bears up on the steel. It makes it harder to move, to work.

Though 11 workers were killed during construction, there have been only two fatal accidents involving bridge crews in the past 80 years. In 1970, a painter fell to his death, and in 2003 an ironworker in the employ of a contractor died in an accident during a seismic retrofit project.

And there are also injuries, especially working with steel beams and building scaffolding.

“You get hand smashes and eye injuries, back injuries, bad knees,” McVeigh said.

They also face death, especially when someone is threatening suicide. Bridge workers are trained to intervene and will go to the railing to try to stop someone from jumping. “We put on a harness and tie-off so if they go, we are not going to go with them,” McVeigh said.

Like the others, he has talked some would-be jumpers off the edge. “I’ve lost count,” he said. “Maybe a dozen.”

In the next few years, a suicide barrier will be strung under the deck. The work won’t be done by in-house ironworkers, but by ironworkers hired by the contractors for the job.

The ironworkers’ main work at the bridge is keeping it standing. “There’s an old saying,” McVeigh said. “Rust never rests.”

Chaney points to a long color-coded chart in an engineering office near the toll plaza. It’s a conceptual printout of the bridge, showing the results of regular inspections: green for good steel, yellow for caution, red for problems.

Last year, the ironworkers spent a lot of time replacing some of the 600,000 rivets in the Marin tower. Rusted rivets are removed by a device called a “rivet buster” and are replaced with steel bolts.

Most of this year is devoted to building stages — “dance floors,” they are called — under the roadway deck, so old paint and some steel can be replaced. The stages are surrounded by tent-like structures that keep the old paint and debris from falling into the water.

It takes months to build the stages and the tenting, careful work done under the roadway. It’s not as dramatic as high work on the 746-foot-tall towers, but just as important.

There are other jobs, too. “I have guys working on greasing the bearings on the deck,” Chaney said. Like all suspension spans, the Golden Gate Bridge moves with the weight of traffic and with the wind. The steel moves. “You don’t want a stiff structure,” he said.

After the stages are done, the next big job will be to work on the San Francisco tower, where the effects of wind and rain have left the tower looking a bit shabby, as if it needs a new paint job. “It’s structurally sound,” Chaney said, “but not aesthetically.”

Not everybody can work on what may well be the most famous bridge in the world. Like others on the bridge, McVeigh is proud of it.

“When you are driving to work and see it in the windshield,” he said, “you say to yourself: ‘Wow! Look at this thing!’”

A quiet anniversary

It will be a quiet birthday Saturday when the Golden Gate Bridge turns 80.

Instead, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is inviting the public to post personal stories about the bridge on the bridge’s Facebook page and to Twitter @goldengatebridge, hashtag #GGB80 and #MyGGBstory.

The idea, the district says, is to “allow visitors from all over the world to join the fun.”

On the bridge’s 50th anniversary, in 1987, as many as 300,000 people walked on the bridge, causing the arch in the main span to flatten. The bridge staged an elaborate fireworks display on its 75th, in 2012. See Original Article >

Custom Bolts | Special Bolts | Custom Machined Bolts

How Custom Fasteners are Made

When companies in industries from agriculture to shipping need standard fasteners, they have plenty of options for purchasing them. But when a special part is needed, only a company that focuses on delivering custom fasteners will ensure a quick turnaround and superior product. At Chicago Nut & Bolt, custom work is what we do, and our custom fasteners can be made to any specifications in a timely manner that has impressed our clients for 20 years.

Despite the complex parts we have been able to produce during the past two decades, our process is simple. It begins when a client sends a blueprint for a part, which might be anything from a custom screw for a century-old bridge to a 6-ft. bolt for a crane. Based on the blueprint and specifications for features like a particular grade of steel or type of plating, we typically provide a quote within 24 hours. That’s our goal, and it’s an industry-leading turnaround.

Once we send the quote and it becomes an order, we coordinate with the manufacturers handling the multiple aspects of production that go into developing a custom order. Next, we continue to the vital step of quality control. During this testing phase, our experts check 30, 60 or even more dimensions, verifying them within a tolerance range. Only after all quality measures have been approved do we package the order. Along with the parts, we send certification that all material grade and strength properties have been met. Everything needed is shipped to the customer, but we also offer warehousing. That means, our customers have the option of making large orders and asking for their certified parts as needed.

There is a lot that goes into making custom fasteners, but because we have been doing precisely that for 20 years, we have a tested, step-by-step process that enables us to offer the quickest turnaround in the market.

Custom Machined BoltsCustom Fasteners | Custom Bolts

A Custom Fastener for the Mining Industry Shines Like Gold

Crafting just the right piece of hardware can sometimes feel like creating a piece of jewelry. And when custom bolts and nuts are needed to secure heavy equipment, absolute precision is necessary. A recent custom fastener we developed for hydraulic mining equipment both met the exacting tolerances of the blueprint and sparkled like a golden pendant thanks to its distinctive plating.

The client came to Chicago Nut & Bolt with an order to produce 2,500 custom pieces with several special features. First, the fastener had to be crafted from high-alloy hardened steel, which would provide considerable strength and resistance to corrosion. Because the mining equipment would be exposed to wet conditions, including ocean water, this high level of preservation was key. Second, the custom fasteners needed to feature internal and external threads so that they could be screwed both inside and out. Basically, it was a special nut and bolt combined in one piece.

Based on the client’s exacting blueprints, we began the process of filling this custom order by utilizing CNC machinery. Thanks to this advanced technology, the raw steel could be cut in a precise manner with a computer-controlled metal lathe. The CNC machine also added the interior and exterior threads to this special fastener. Next, the pieces were heat treated and finally plated, which created the gold sheen that makes the fasteners look like a modern piece of industrial-style jewelry. At each step in the process, our team performed a stringent quality inspection.

Finally, the 2,500 special fasteners were packaged to the customer’s specs and shipped. From blueprint to delivery, the process took about four weeks, although we have been known to create custom nuts and bolts as fast as overnight or within a few hours. That’s because our main capability is creating one-of-a-kind nuts and bolts in quantities from one to 1 million. Not every custom fastener we manufacture will look like a piece of jewelry, but every piece will always be just the right fit.

Chicago Nut & Bolt manufacturers custom large size fasteners, including bolts, nuts and screws per blue print. With over 20 years in the custom fastener business, Chicago Nut & Bolt supplies quantities from one to 1 million pieces and can also warehouse orders.


How Radically A High-Speed Train System Would Improve Travel In The US

Business Insider has broadcasted a video showing just how radically a high-speed train would revolutionize our traveling systems.  Hyperloop is in the making and has some great projects ahead to making this high-speed train a reality.

According to this video, the US railroad network is composed of about 140,000 miles of tracks. Many passengers travel by train at only 50 mph.  The top speed of the fastest train, AMTRACK, is on average anywhere between 80-90 MPH.


A new vision for high-speed trains would connect to all the U.S major cities of a 170,000  mile network.  Here is how it would be mapped out.