Advanced fastening and sealing technologies 31 October 2018

Even the best-designed fastener assemblies can succumb to a range of negative side effects including rattling, leaking, loosening, seizing, stripping, corroding or shearing. Each of these issues could potentially lead to a product failure and costly warranty claims or recalls. That is why customers turn to ND Industries to provide solutions for all these problems and more.

A family-owned business since 1955, ND Industries specialises in the development of innovative materials and processes that increase the safety and reliability of fastener assemblies. Headquartered outside Detroit, Michigan, ND serves a global market with divisions across the USA, as well as facilities in Taiwan and China, plus licensees around the world.

ND’s core business is the application of a wide variety of materials onto fasteners and assemblies to aid functions such as locking, sealing, masking, lubricating, and noise and vibration dampening. ND’s success in the pre-applied fastener industry is due in large part to the strength of its resources. Whether a customer’s project requires chemical engineering, chemical manufacturing, mechanical engineering, inspecting and sorting, bottling and packaging services, or A2LA lab testing, ND reports that no other fastener processor can match its in-house capabilities.

Research and development
To ensure the highest product quality standards possible, ND Industries employs a team of degreed scientists and PhD chemists dedicated to the development and testing of all its chemical formulations. With more than 55 years of experience in the automotive, electronics, aerospace and military markets, ND’s R&D and chemical manufacturing staff has built one of the most extensive product portfolios in the pre-applied fastener industry. Each ND material has been specifically designed to solve a unique customer application issue. Not one to rest on its laurels, ND continually works to optimise existing materials and formulate new products through rigorous lab and quality control procedures. The ND Technologies Group holds an A2LA ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation and is able to assist customers by performing independent testing for a wide range of criteria.

Pre-applied product categories
Inert threadlocking: Also known as prevailing torque, this process uses a mechanical force to create a secure lock that is resistant to vibration, shock, and related slippage. Processed fasteners can typically be removed and reused.

Reactive threadlocking: Once installed into a mating part, a strong chemical bond is formed, preventing slippage from shock and vibration, while helping to seal fastening points against gas and liquid leakage.

Masking and lubricating: ND produces formulations to ease the assembly process and protect fastening parts against exposure to undesirable substances that can adhere to uncoated fasteners.

Advanced sealing: ND pre-applied sealants are designed to withstand a wide range of pressures, chemical fluids and gases, while reducing the chance of fastener loosening.

Assembly aids: These aids are designed to make assembly safer, easier, and faster by reducing application errors and worker fatigue.

Innovative products
ND continues to develop bold, new technologies to support the fastener industry. Recent product offerings include:

Thread Armor® GP: This material prevents galvanic corrosion in assemblies with dissimilar metals, such as aluminium and steel, by electrically insulating the fastener. Specially bonded to the fastener, ND Thread Armor GP is durable, chemical resistant, and non-conductive.

Thread Armor® VC: An advanced anti-galling and lubricating thread coating designed to extend the life of bolts up to 15 times while under intense torque and high friction loads. It also helps to ensure consistent clamp load and works well on stainless steel fasteners.

Thermoloc® 1500: ND’s highest temperature chemical threadlocker, Thermoloc™ 1500 initially performs like a vibration dampening compound. Once temperatures reach 750°F (400°C), a secondary activation begins, causing the fastener to be permanently locked in place. The threadlock has been tested to over 1,500°F (850°C).

Chemical blending
Once a product formulation is complete, production moves next door to ND’s chemical blending facility where scale-up takes place. The close proximity and collaborative workflow greatly reduce manufacturing time and allow for the customisation of materials to customer specifications. ND’s chemical blending operation annually manufactures over one million pounds of a wide variety of adhesives, microcaps, anaerobics, epoxies, urethanes, ultraviolets, acrylics, and more. ND chemical toll blending services provide customers with the opportunity to have their own chemical formulations blended, packaged, and prepared for shipment.

Design and engineering
When developing a pre-applied product, formulating the right chemical blend is only half the challenge. Just as important, is the process of applying that material onto fasteners. That’s where ND’s Design Engineering Group steps in. They work alongside R&D to build the custom application equipment that gives ND the ability to meet virtually any processing requirement. ND machines operate at some of the fastest rates in the industry, while the parts processed exhibit both excellent visual and performance qualities. ND prides itself on the fact that it is able to achieve these goals and still maintain highly competitive pricing. Companies that qualify for ND’s licensing programme can gain access to equipment and materials that will put them ahead of their competition.

Fastener processing
ND’s pre-applied processing centres are where it all comes together. Once a customer has selected the ND product that meets their specifications, uncoated fasteners are shipped from a manufacturer or distributor to one of ND’s worldwide divisions or licensees. ND plant supervisors and machine operators carefully direct and monitor each part as it is processed – sometimes for multiple materials. To maintain consistent quality, ND divisions operate under strict ISO or AS certifications and, if appropriate, utilise smart factory technology, including vision inspection systems, for in-process checks. ND also offers services like part sorting, colour coding, and even partial assembly.

Claire Aldridge Deputy Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 743 889

Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.

Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.