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Enerpac Plays Critical Role in Industry-changing Discovery for Long Span Bridges at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Results show promising future for 19-wire strands in concrete bridge construction

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (April 18, 2022) – Three years ago when Marc Maguire, assistant professor of construction programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, started investigating a new stranded wire product for bridge girder reinforcing he thought the best strands for bridge construction were the industry standard 7-wire strands.

After running a multitude of analyses, Maguire and student researchers found that 19-wire 1-1/8 in. diameter strands outperform the typical 7-wire 1-1/6 in. diameter strands and allow bridges to reach unprecedented lengths. Further tests conducted by the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction with the help of Enerpac hydraulic tools examined the bond strength, force transfer, and development length of the 19-wire strands.

“Traditionally, 19-wire strands are not often used in the U.S. because they are not widely available and they are much larger than standard strands,” said Maguire. “We wanted to show that there was an alternative option to the common 7-wire strand–one that can perform at the same level, if not better.”

Results from Maguire’s tests are not only impressive, they are highly impactful for several reasons. First, the bond of the concrete to the strand seems to be higher for 19-wire strands, which allows surprisingly efficient force transfer. Using a 19-wire strand also could reduce fabrication costs as less strands will be used in comparison to the 7-strand method. Finally, the strands can reach longer spans, up to 10% longer than conventionally reinforced bridge girders, which reduces construction costs in some situations because intermediate piers may be avoided. Further, when making long span concrete girders, there are limited options for pushing total span length beyond what has already been done, and these 19-wire strands may be a viable strategy.

Enerpac hydraulic cylinder helps apply force to test new strands

To test the strength and durability of the 19-wire strands, researchers used a variety of different tests including: The large block pullout test (LBPT), ASTM 1081 standard test, concentrically reinforced untensioned prisms (CRUP), large-scale tests, effective prestress and flexural test, and material testing.

“For fabricating our specimens, it is very difficult to generate enough force to safely pull on the 19-wire strands. Conventional strands have specialized equipment for doing this that does not exist for these strands,” said Maguire. “That’s where Enerpac came in and provided the tools to make these experiments happen.”

To help pull on the strands, the test used the Enerpac RR20013 double-acting, general purpose hydraulic cylinder with a221-ton capacity and 13.00 in stroke that the university has been using for years to conduct tests as such. The linear motion and high force produced by the cylinder gave the researchers what they needed to replicate the stress that these strands will be undergoing if used in a bridge girder. To prevent accidental over-pressurization, the hydraulic cylinder features a built-in safety valve. The researchers also used Enerpac hand pumps to apply hydraulic pressure with even more accurate control and simplicity as needed.

“The Enerpac equipment’s simplicity and reliability is why we’ve relied on it for decades to conduct tests and fabricate our own prestressed concrete specimens. In addition, the reliable service is extremely helpful to the university. The territory manager will visit the lab regularly to conduct inspections, make equipment recommendations and train new students,” said Maguire. “And for a test like the wire strand testing, easy-to-use equipment with dependable expertise is paramount.” The precision and combination of the Enerpac equipment allowed Maguire and his team to simulate stressors, producing accurate and consistent results.

Results show promising future for 19-wire strands

The results presented in a formal written report found that bridge designs with medium to higher strength concretes could be using 19-wire 1-1/8 in. diameter strands as the number of strands needed is dramatically reduced, the maximum span achievable is greater, and they are safe to undergo expected loading.

“Three years ago we didn’t know a new $1 trillion infrastructure bill would be passed and a lot of bridges would be getting updates that they so desperately need,” said Maguire. “We hope that this research can show that 19-wire 1-1/8 in. strands can be a tool in the tool belt.”

Testing hasn’t formally concluded, but Maguire is confident that the 19-wire strand meets engineering expectations and is a viable option for long-span concrete girder applications.

About Enerpac

Enerpac is a global market leader in high pressure hydraulic tools, controlled force products, portable machining, on-site services and solutions for precise positioning of heavy loads. As a leading innovator with a 110-year legacy, Enerpac has helped move and maintain some of the largest structures on earth. When safety and precision matters, elite professionals in industries such as aerospace, infrastructure, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas and power generation rely on Enerpac for quality tools, services and solutions. For more information, visit

Chicago Nut and Bolt provides  construction fasteners for bridge projects.

Demand for threaded industrial fasteners is growing, finds new report

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The latest insight on global industrial fasteners market projects an expansion of around 4% CAGR through 2031. This is according to Fact.MR, a market intelligence firm.

The firm’s research indicates that a speedy recovery from the recent pandemic effects, as well as a rising demand from various end-use industries — such as building, construction, and automotive requirements — will boost these sales.

What’s more is that a growing focus on R&D activities and high-performance quality material is driving the demand in manufacturers, finds the study.

“Rising projects [and demands from] automotive, construction, and industrial manufacturers, investing heavily…as a requirement for threaded, non-threaded, and aerospace-grade fasteners are accelerating, boosting demand through 2031,” shares a Fact.MR analyst.

This is backed by the high demand for wide variety and threaded industrial fastener from manufacturers. An increase in use of various industrial fasteners — such as cable ties, rivets, screws — is to be expected.

Competitive landscape
In January 2021, Penn Engineering and Manufacturing Corporation announced the launch of its new website, PROFIL, for mechanically attached fasteners manufacturers. Similarly, Stanley Black & Decker unveiled its next-generation 2x20V MAX* DEWALT earlier this year for brushless, direct-drive, high-voltage cutting.

According to the study, the market is highly competitive, so key manufacturers are developing and introducing innovative products to expand their geographical reach to cater to increasing demands.

Additionally, in 2021, LISI Aerospace and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre collaborated to acquire U.S. $1.34 million in funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute to unlock productivity gains and new markets in the fastener industry through advanced technologies.

MW Industries Inc., Stanley Black & Decker Inc., Penn Engineering & Manufacturing Corporation, BPL Limited, Mirc Electronics Limited, and Sony India Private Ltd, among others are some of the prominent manufacturers, profiled by Fact.MR.


The threaded industrial fastener industry will gain traction through 2021 and beyond, with the building, construction, and automotive sectors to witness high demand through 2031
By material, plastic will acquire the maximum share, attributed to its lightweight, flexible, and cost-effective benefits
The U.S. will exhibit hegemony on the back of fast and steady recovery of automotive industry
Highly advanced automotive sector and rising construction project will drive industrial fasteners sales in Germany
Breakthroughs in commercial and residential construction projects will accelerate growth prospects, especially in the UK
Italy and France to emerge as highly lucrative markets, fueled by fast recovery of automotive industry and increasing industrial fasteners application

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.

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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.

Keeping the Arecibo Observatory Scanning the Sky

As a manufacturer, nothing brings you more joy than discovering that your products are helping humanity expand its horizons. At Chicago Nut & Bolt, we are proud that our custom fasteners help keep the famed Arecibo Observatory going strong. Referred to as the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, the observatory, which is located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, is the home of the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope on the globe. The 1,001-foot radio telescope has played a major role in collecting valuable data on Mercury, Venus, Jovian satellites, and Saturn’s Rings, according to its website, as well as searching for life beyond our galaxy. It has also been featured on the popular T.V. program Modern Marvels and in the James Bond film, Goldeye.

As one might imagine, the Arecibo Observatory, which is celebrating its 50th year of service, is in constant need of fixing and fine-tuning. This is where Chicago Nut & Bolt’s custom fasteners play a major role. The telescope is comprised of almost 40,000, 3 ft. by 6 ft. perforated aluminum panels, which require maintenance to guarantee accurate readings, as seen in this article. It just so happens that Chicago Nut & Bolt supplies the custom nuts and bolts made from a unique stainless steel that hold each of these critical panels in place.Arecibo Observatory

If our custom nuts and bolts are trusted to keep this scientific marvel working at peak performance, just imagine what they can do for your next project! To learn how we can help you meet your fastener needs, no matter how big or small, contact Chicago Nut & Bolt today.

Fastening your Bridges for a Smooth Ride

With views overlooking the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge is a well-known construction in northern California, expanding between San Francisco and Oakland. Since its opening back in 1936, it has gone through a number of upgrades and renovations, as any bridge typically does. Recently, the eastern span of the bridge was shut down while undergoing major repairs when it hit a huge snag in its renovations. According to this article, 32 of the bridge’s 17-foot long bolts cracked due to poor material quality and hydrogen infections. Illustrating the importance of fasteners in a huge construction project, the opening of the bridge has now been delayed.

If you looked across the bay, you would see San Francisco’s other famous bridge, the Golden Gate. Found in many famous photographs and attracting thousands of tourists, the Golden Gate’s integrity is a necessary part of its existence. It’s important that, like its Bay Bridge counterpart, faulty parts are not discovered. When it comes to the Golden Gate’s construction, this is something we know much about, as we are a continuous supplier of fasteners to the bridge engineers.Golden Gate bridge

The upkeep on any bridge is a 365-days a year project, for its engineers and its suppliers, like us. Sections of the bridge will be taken apart and at this point, it is determined what repair and replacement fasteners are needed. When it comes to the fasteners, the designers decided the types of bolts that are going to be used; they will specify what they need, and suppliers will provide those bolts. Since maintenance is done year-round, these parts are needed as quickly as possible. On our end, this means custom making the needed bolts and sending them out with as little lead time as possible. The biggest challenge? Ensuring they are of the highest quality, for we would never want our bolts to be faulty, causing delays in the bridge’s construction. This means following a variety of standards, including ISO, as well as investing in strong materials and using proven machining processes.

A bridge can only be as strong as its fasteners and as bolt and nut suppliers, it’s our hope that any bridge’s integrity is the nuts and bolts of its maintenance.


The Importance of a Safe Workplace

According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.”

All employees are entitled to a safe workplace. First and foremost, it is of utmost importance that employees are not in danger. Secondly, work-related accidents account for lost time and money, high legal and workmen’s compensation costs, and poor morale. A healthy work environment is good for everyone.

This is especially true in manufacturing, where workers are often involved in the use of heavy/complex machinery and physically challenging conditions. There are many OSHA standards and programs related to general workers as well as specifically to manufacturing, and it’s important for employers and employees to be aware of these standards. For instance, OSHA just announced a National Emphasis Program on the hazards of isocyanates, compounds used in building materials, furniture, packaging, and coatings, which have serious potential risks. Workers and employers should always be aware of the related symptoms and practice the safety/preventative procedures.

Thankfully, most companies are aware of the guidelines and reasons to adhere to them, and realize the detrimental effects of employee injuries, as well as the incentives to comply. At Chicago Nut & Bolt, we are vigilant in our efforts to keep our employees safe and to comply with all related standards. We are audited regularly, which is a very good practice for companies to take part in in order to ensure worker safety.

By remaining aware of all relevant standards and how to comply with them, taking part in audits, and keeping employees educated, safety can be assured, and then everybody wins.

Choosing Alloys for High Temperature Applications

The economic recovery appears to be on an upward swing as the automotive, natural gas, and petroleum industries move into high gear. Whether it is the new fuel-efficiency automotive engines or a fast moving natural gas pump, the use of fasteners that can withstand high temperature operations is critical.

Choosing fasteners fabricated with the right alloy that can operate in high temperature applications provides design challenges, as there are only certain types of fasteners that will function in high temperature situations. Fortunately, special alloys have been formed. Fasteners made out of these metals will perform well. Able to withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (587 Celsius), these alloys are heat-treated in high temperatures and then forged together to give them this high temperature tolerance.

Some alloys that are used today in fasteners include:

  • Stainless Steel 309 & 310—these are higher in nickel and chromium content than most other alloys of similar properties. These are recommended for use in high temperature applications. Additionally, the 310 offers extra corrosion resistance for salty or other similar harsh environments.
  • Stainless Steel 630 is a precipitation-hardening stainless steel. They are hardened by a combination of low temperature aging and cold working. It is one of the most widely used precipitated-hardened steels for the fastener industry. This alloy has high tensile strength and good ductility.

However, these two are just a sampling of various alloys available. Whether special alloys, coated metals, or stainless steel, many different metals can perform in extreme temperatures, knowing which one is right for your specific application will be crucial.

Chicago Nut & Bolt recommends that you go to the best resource for help in determining the right alloy. The best information source for determining the correct alloy for your particular design need or industry application is the ASTM A193 / A193M – 12b. This is the Standard Specification for Alloy-Steel and Stainless Steel Bolting for High Temperature or High Pressure Service and Other Special Purpose Applications.

The wise thing is to consult the ASTM specifications and then to spend time talking to your materials engineer to make sure that your particular fastener application, whether it is for automotive, aerospace, energy production, or some other industry, is covered by the correct alloy.

Why Made in America is Back

If you can make it here, why don’t you make it here?

It is a straightforward question which America’s industries are coming face to face with in 2013. There once was a time when a vast majority of manufactures in the U.S. fled the country for the cheaper labor and deals offered by Central America and Asia. The exodus devastated many American towns and cities. Manufacturing hubs like Detroit, Cleveland, and Louisville found themselves stripped of jobs, factories, and pride. Recently the trend of outsourcing has been slowly but surely reversing itself, as seen in this recent article. The factors for this much-needed switch are as varied as the reasons companies left in the first place. They include:

  • The Natural-Gas Boom and Oil Prices

Oil prices have skyrocketed internationally, while the U.S. has moved closer to a level of energy independence unimaginable a decade ago. This has made shipping costs spike, and has made it easier to open energy-intensive factories in the U.S.

  • Labor Costs

According to J.P Morgan, in 2000 Mexican manufacturing workers cost 3x as much as Chinese. Now the cost is almost equal. While these costs are still much lower than the U.S., you also have to factor in the aforementioned shipping costs, along with intellectual property and regulatory costs. The profits from offshoring shrink as every day passes, as evidenced in this article.

  • Quality

We like to believe that things made in America are in general of better quality. However, what we really mean by quality is that you have access to a pool of workers with better training and educational backgrounds. Additionally, more companies are finding that putting R&D facilities near production speeds up innovation.

While there are even more specific reasons for the increase in reshoring, the bottom line is just that…the bottom-line. In the end, manufacturers had to see that the move back to America was going to be cost and quality effective. In the end reshoring is a matter of national security; in order to regain our place as the economic powerhouse, we must be less reliant on others to make the things we buy everyday.