Maintenance free solutions 12 September 2017

Here Dr-Ing Hans-Albert Städler, customer engineering director Europe at Arconic Fastening Systems and Rings, looks at what the term ‘maintenance free’ truly means and the importance of providing maintenance free solutions.

For Arconic Fastening Systems & Rings what does the term ‘maintenance free’ mean?
Defining ‘maintenance free’ varies depending on which industrial sector Arconic is supplying its products to. However, as the term relates to the actual mechanical performance of fasteners, the best example is the use of Huck® BobTail® lockbolts in civil engineering.

BobTail is internationally recognised as ‘maintenance free’ by Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt). DIBt approval is generally sought for non-regular products for which international standards have not yet been set.

The rigorous test programme prior to approval considers several factors including:
• Static performance (shear and tensile strength) in accordance with EN 1993-1-8.
• Clamp preload ability also in accordance with EN 1993-1-8.
• Fatigue testing notch group evaluation in accordance with EN 1993-1-9. BobTail is registered in a high notch group in terms of tension fatigue, for example, CD 63 for one inch and CD 67 for 20mm fasteners respectively, which is three to four times better than conventional high resistance bolts.
• Corrosion testing in line with ISO 9227 and classification as per ISO 12944 classes C4 and C5, which is also termed as red rust resistant.

Each of these sub-sector approvals resulted in DIBt recognising and accrediting the BobTail as a high-performance fastener that is ‘maintenance free’ in terms of preload.

What are the benefits to engineers of using a maintenance free solution?
In essence, engineers will have no need to plan, prepare and execute additional and costly follow up maintenance activities. Nuts and bolts have the potential to loosen in both static and dynamic civil engineering applications. This means they are not ‘maintenance free’ as subsequent visits to the installation to retighten them and maintain the preload are often required.”

How does Arconic ensure that the products its supplies are maintenance free?
Arconic has rigorous and robust internal production control procedures, which cover all the steps from the raw material arriving at its facilities to final products being shipped out to customers. These procedures cover all the methods of production carried out within boundaries of pre-set environmental guidelines, operator training, and suppliers and sub-contractors adhering to Arconic’s product specifications.

Any changes in the above, in the design of the product, or relocation of equipment at the production facilities are monitored by accredited DIBt inspectors.

Why should engineers use Arconic’s products?
There are numerous reasons why engineers should use Arconic’s products, such as the ease by which lockbolt and blind rivet potential fastening solutions can be calculated and dimensioned, as well as the consistent quality of products.

In addition, engineers will receive technical advice and support from highly qualified and knowledgeable staff in terms of fastener recommendation for the potential application and after sales support. Arconic also offers a complete range of complementary and often bespoke tooling, designed and manufactured in-house.

Once an appropriate product has been identified as the very best fastening solution for the application, other advantages include speed, ease and safety of installation - in some cases saving up to 70% operator time compared to previous methods such as welding.

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888

Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector – interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe. Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the brand is renowned.