Category Archives: Manufacturing

The Evolution of Bolt Manufacturing

Original Article from Thomas Register >

Like the screw, the bolt occupies an integral position in both industrial and everyday life. In fact, bolts and screws are used more than any other type of mechanical fastener, and they can be found in nearly every simple or complex machine. Although there is no absolute distinction, the difference between screws and bolts can be broadly defined as one of thread size and tapering. Bolts are generally larger and do not have tapered ends. In standard usage, a fastener that is torqued with a nut is usually considered a bolt.

Without bolts, we would not be able to hold together the frames of cars or the arms and backs of chairs. A device as common as a pair of scissors or as sophisticated as a particle accelerator would be rendered inoperable. The self-evident utility of the modern bolt makes it all the more interesting to discover how this object came to be so crucial to our way of life. In the United States alone, the bolt has undergone several distinct stages of development.

The Origins of Bolt Production

Bolt usage can be traced back to ancient irrigation systems and construction projects, but metal bolts and screws did not become the standard until the early modern era. The first machines used to produce metal bolts resembled cutting lathes and were invented in France in the mid-sixteenth century. However, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century and the beginning of mass production that bolts became the norm in industrial manufacturing.

In the United States, the first systematic bolt manufacturing operation was founded by Micah Rugg in 1818. Rugg was a Connecticut blacksmith who developed a process of cutting and heating square iron bars into bolt-sized pieces. These workpieces were then smoothed along an anvil, and a die-cutting press was used to shape the bolt’s head and threads. Using machine tooling processes, such as drop hammering and die trimming, proved to be both time- and cost-efficient. By 1840, Rugg had sold several thousand bolts and expanded his operation to produce nearly 500 bolts a day.

Bolt Innovations

Following the success of Rugg’s pioneering bolt production methods, other manufacturers began developing new technologies and techniques to capitalize on the burgeoning fastener market. William Clark, another manufacturer from Connecticut, is credited with designing the first bolts and dies made from round, rather than square, iron in the 1860s. Clark also streamlined the bolt head formation process by using die compression to create both the head and the angled neck in the same operation. His pinched and concave neck bolts proved highly cost-efficient and reduced the risk of splitting wood when driving the bolts into a workpiece.

Some of the other new bolt configurations that emerged over the next thirty-year period included:

  • Star Bolt: This was a pinched neck bolt similar to Clark’s first design that eventually fell under his patent.
  • Bastard Neck Bolt: The bastard neck configuration had a thin bolt head and a short rectangular shank.
  • Fin-Head Bolt: This bolt was designed with narrow lugs underneath the head that helped keep it steady while a nut was being tightened or removed.

By 1905, there were over five hundred factories in the United States specializing in bolt and nut production. Part of the skyrocketing demand for bolts in the later half of the nineteenth century was driven by the spreading utility of new bolt designs.

Current Production Methods

The twentieth century saw the development of our present-day bolt manufacturing methods, particularly through the advances and armaments engendered by the two world wars. Although these techniques greatly expanded previous production capabilities, they were similar in principle to the original processes established in the 1800s. For example, the cold-forging technique used today hearkens back to the cold-forged fin-head bolts first developed in 1890.

The majority of current bolt manufacturing methods employ cold-forged heading to shape a steel workpiece. A gripping die holds the metal stock in place while a concave compression punch forms the bolt’s angled round head. The bolt’s shaft is then deformed through the thread rolling process, which uses cutting dies to shape threads into the metal shaft. The bolt is then usually coated with anti-corrosive substances to strengthen its durability. Hot or cold blackening and galvanization may be used to chemically bond a sealant, such as oil, onto the bolt in order to extend its working life. While these methods are more cost-efficient, boast higher production rates, and create less waste than the older methods of the nineteenth century, the modern-day bolt still owes its design and central attributes to the pioneering efforts of early manufacturers.

Custom Bolts | Custom Made Bolts

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

Engine Fasteners: An In-Depth Look at What Keeps Your Car Together

From Hot Rod, author: Marlan Davis October 11, 2019 Read Original Article >

Part 1: A Fastener-Ating Look At The Bolts And Studs That Hold Your Engine Together—We’d Really Be Screwed Without Them!

Bolts, nuts, and washers: They’re what keeps your engine, drivetrain, chassis—heck, the entire car—together. Fasteners are the linchpin for a successful build—but how much attention do you really pay to them? Sure, we want our nuts and bolts to look pretty and not rust, but they’re much more than just another pretty face! Failure of a single critical engine or chassis fastener can cost you tens of thousands of bucks, due to a destroyed engine, or even an entire car. Yet with proper selection and installation practices, you can virtually eliminate fastener failure. Over the next few months, we’re going to take a granular look at today’s fastener technology with the help of Chris Raschke and the Automotive Racing Products (ARP) crew. Unless you’ve been living in a cave the last 20 years, you know that the good folks at ARP have risen to become the dominant force in supplying bulletproof fasteners for just about every hot rod and motorsport application. In this installment, we’ll look at fasteners retained primarily in tension, concentrating on those used to hold your engine together. What are their unique materials and characteristics, how are they made, and how do you properly install them?  Go to Original Article >

CUSTOM BOLTS AND FASTENERS FOR ENGINE MANUFACTURING

Airbus’s A400M Was Meant to Be the Pride of Europe’s Military. But After Years of Problems It Still Has a Screw Loose

By David Meyer November 14, 2019 For Fortune.  See Original Article >

Airbus just got some unwelcome pushback from the Luftwaffe.

On Wednesday, it emerged that the German air force had rejected delivery of two of the European plane-building consortium’s A400M military transporters, of which it already has 31, with another 20 also yet to be delivered. The reason: technical issues, including a problem with the bolts holding the propellers onto the craft.

The bolt issue is arguably not that major in itself—due to insufficient tightening, the bolts can become loose during rare high-g maneuvers, potentially leading to structural damage but not causing the propellors to fall off. A day’s work on each plane will fix the issue, a spokesperson for the Luftwaffe told Fortune.

However, the problem adds to a long list of issues with the A400M. The transport aircraft is Europe’s shot at avoiding reliance on the products of American manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Boeing. But since its inception in 2003 it has been plagued with heavy delays, cost overruns requiring $4.3 billion in bailouts from European governments, and technical faults.

The first deliveries of the A400M were supposed to take place in 2009 but only occurred four years later (to France)—the delays caused arguments between Airbus and NATO and led the consortium to report around $9.3 billion in charges overall. Four Spanish crew members died in a 2015 test-flight crash that was down to a software fault. More recently, Airbus has also had to deal with problems with the plane’s engines, propellers and propeller gear boxes.

“This is certainly a bad look for Airbus after a long line of technical faults and delays,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the U.K.’s Royal United Services Institute. “It remains to be seen whether this particular fault is replicated in other users’ fleets, but serviceability remains a concern for many.”

According to Germany’s Der Spiegel, which first reported the Luftwaffe’s rejection of the two transporters, the bolt issue first manifested in a French A400M, leading Airbus to advise its customers to inspect their craft.

“The issue, already communicated to all our customers… is not safety critical and our customers continue to accept and operate their aircraft,” Airbus said in a statement. “Airbus has made great progress so far over this year to meet our customer requirements and the agreed capability roadmap. We continue to work closely with all our customers on those matters.”

The A400M’s issues “pale into insignificance” when compared with those that have plagued Boeing’s KC-46 military transporter, said Mal Craghill, a former commander of the U.K.’s Air Warfare School. “It is not uncommon for new aircraft types to encounter teething problems,” he said.

“I suspect the German move is just to ratchet up the pressure on Airbus to get the engine problems fixed more quickly. I’m not aware of Germany mounting any significant operations at the moment, so now is as good a time as any to highlight the issues,” said Craghill.

Europe’s air forces do not entirely rely on the A400M; as Craghill noted, they still have many Lockheed C-130 and Boeing C-17 military transport aircraft in service.

Nonetheless, said Bronk, “this issue as with others that have dogged the programme will be sorted—the A400M is too important to too many air forces to be allowed to fail now.”

“It is also important to remember that when the aircraft is working as intended, it performs extremely well and offers a unique and valuable mix of capabilities to the Luftwaffe and other operators,” Bronk added.

Custom Bolts | Custom Fasteners

Delayed NASA space telescope literally has some screws loose

Original Article for CNET BY AMANDA KOOSER MAY 4, 2018 5:34 PM PDT
Building a next-generation space telescope isn’t easy. NASA’s James Webb telescope will replace the famous Hubble telescope someday, but the delayed observatory project is feeling a little shaken at the moment.

NASA is testing the telescope’s spacecraft element to make sure it can survive launch and a harsh life out in space. The spacecraft consists of the sunshield and the spacecraft bus, which houses electrical, communication, propulsion and thermal control subsystems, among others.

The space agency subjected the spacecraft to routine mechanical shock and acoustic vibration tests, which loosened some of the hardware holding the sunshield membrane cover in place. The loose hardware was an assortment of screws and washers, as noted by SpaceNews.

NASA says this sort of issue isn’t uncommon during testing for complex spacecraft, but the observatory is under extra scrutiny due to the high profile of the project and its $8 billion price tag.

“NASA is reviewing options for repair and the next steps in spacecraft element launch environment testing,” said Greg Robinson, Webb’s program director.

The telescope has been beset with a series of technical issues and recently had its projected launch date pushed back to 2020, though some critical pieces of the telescope project successfully made it through cryogenic testing earlier this year.

It’s good to keep in mind that Hubble, an ultimately triumphant project, was originally expected to launch in the early 1980s, but actually got off the ground in 1990 and still required a series of servicing missions later on.

While the Webb telescope may be facing a minor setback due to the loose hardware, it’s better to figure it out on the ground and fix it than have it happen in space. View Original Article >

Special Fasteners | Custom Fasteners

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.

What’s the Difference between Us and Them?

More choices. It’s that simple. At Chicago Nut & Bolt we specialize in custom made fasteners to meet any specification and application.

Many of our competitors may say they are a custom manufacturer but when you look closely at their products and capabilities, they are 90-95% off the shelf. That might be fine for some applications. But, for truly custom made nuts, bolts and screws the best choice is to work with a company that has the capabilities to produce exactly what you need.

How can we be 100% custom and provide quick turnaround times? It’s because we have a massive inventory of blanks and a plant staffed with experienced machinists. Every imaginable head style of fastener is stocked and the blanks can be modified according to exact specifications. We will provide extra-large or extra-long sizes, drill holes, fit an extra thread, add a special body diameter, or create a special pattern across the flats.

Custom bolts are available in a wide range of materials and many different bolt styles such as square, round, hexagonal, countersunk, flanged, socket, and 12-point. We can add any type of protective and anti-corrosion coatings and treatment. No other company has the same capabilities as we do.

If you want more precision, more accuracy, more style, and more choices, the company to partner with is Chicago Nut & Bolt. We’re all custom! Contact us today to learn more.

Custom Bolts | Custom Fasteners | Chicago Bolts | Special Bolts | Large Diameter Bolts | Custom Nuts | Special Nuts | Special Fasteners

Then US Manufacturing Story: What to Expect in 2015

2015 is all set to be a landmark year in the history of US manufacturing. The trend of sustainable growth as shown by 2014 is a presage of a potential boom in the sector. A long-awaited positive turn after the recent economic slump of the recession!

As per the discussions and opinions of leading analysts, 2015 will set the course for the engine of manufacturing to traverse. The Boston Consulting Group’s analysis has revealed the fact that the default choice of offshoring – China will no longer be able to hold on to its favored position. The mandate to provide minimum wage increases of 15 to 20 percentage points every year has reduced the cost benefit of manufacturing in China to 55% in 2014 and will further push it down to a dismal 39% in 2015. It is not hard to envision the disappearing allure of opening manufacturing units on foreign soil for every conceivable product irrespective of the demand in these offshore markets.

However, labor is not the only cost associated with manufacturing. Transportation, the cost of raw materials and obviously the cost of electric power all contribute heavily to determining the location of the factory. According to the US Energy Information Administration, crude oil production is all geared to touch a record high of 9.3 million b/d in 2015. Thus, the dwindling advantage of cheap labor can no longer offset the high cost of transportation across the seas. Under such circumstances, the abundance of fuel within the country is bound to sway decisions in favor of re-shoring.

Alternative energy production is also becoming more affordable and reliable. By 2040 15% of the global energy consumption will be attributed to alternatives and the US is right at the forefront of this trend promising inexpensive and readily available electricity to power manufacturing ventures.

The Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is also optimistic. It is sitting steady at 54.8 at the end of November, and this indicates a rise in the volume of bulk orders and sales to foreign markets.

The US manufacturing sector has always been the main impetus behind the growth of the nation. It drives two-thirds of all R&D efforts, and its workers are twice as productive as others enjoying higher wages and a better lifestyle. (*National Association of Manufacturers)

Considering major indicators – 2015 is shaping up to be the time to celebrate the return to glory of US manufacturing and will herald prosperity if all external factors co-operate.