PennEngineering®: Accelerate your innovation 06 February 2024

Founded in 1942, PennEngineering® specialises in the design and manufacture of fastening solutions and installation systems. Operating across 20 global locations, with a team of over 4,000 professionals, the company focuses on globally deployed capabilities, locally produced parts and close collaboration with customers. 

PEM® Europe, headquartered in Galway, Ireland, is one of PennEngineering®’s leading brands. From here, innovative fastening solutions and installation equipment is designed and manufactured for a range of industries, including automotive electronics, consumer electronics, datacom, telecommunications, electric vehicles and more. Through precision engineering, PEM® delivers cutting edge products that improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance reliability in manufacturing and assembly processes.

A unique aspect of PennEngineering® is that more than 10% of its workforce is comprised of qualified engineers, highlighting its commitment to innovation, which was recently recognised by Lean Business Ireland – declaring PennEngineering® as winner of the ‘Medium Lean Business of the Year 2023’ category. “This award is a fantastic achievement and recognition of our commitment to Lean excellence, as well as a testament to our culture of continuous improvement and innovation,” explained Mary Ann Fleming, president of PennEngineering® EMEA.

Made in Europe for Europe 

Choosing products ‘Made in Europe’ brings significant advantages. Known for quality and craftsmanship, European fasteners and installation equipment present meticulous attention to detail, durability and superior standards. Moreover, they adhere to strict ethical and environmental guidelines – promoting worker safety and eco-friendly production methods. Supporting European manufacturing not only bolsters local economies, preserves jobs, and fosters innovation, it also champions sustainability efforts – aligning with eco-conscious consumer priorities. The transparency of sourcing in Europe, for Europe, and using European manufacturing processes, enhances consumer confidence, while reducing carbon footprints through shorter transportation distances – speaking to concerns about climate change, with the additional benefit of avoiding Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) duty,  a measure aimed to address the risk of carbon leakage by ensuring equivalent carbon pricing for imports and domestic (EU) products that are subject to carbon costs under the EU ETS.

“At PEM® Europe, we embrace CBAM as an opportunity to further our dedication to sustainable production, fostering innovation and contributing to a cleaner future for generations to come,” reports Mary Ann Fleming.

In addition to the CBAM regulation, there is also the European ‘Right to Repair’ (R2R) legislation, which aims to tackle the ‘throwaway tech culture’ by compelling manufacturers to offer consumers and third party repair shops the tools, information, and parts, needed for fixing electronic devices. This law is poised to revolutionise assembly methods, prolong product lifespan, cut carbon emissions, as well as minimise landfill waste. PEM®’s fastening solutions not only make assembly quick and easy, but they streamline disassembly too. This way, parts can be repaired, recycled and reused much more easily. Many manufacturing processes that currently rely on welding, gluing or sealing will benefit from PEM® fastening solutions that withstand R2R procedures.

Get testing support anytime, anywhere

Another key factor that enables PennEngineering® to standout is its ability to offer customers complete testing support through its technical services, as well as through PEMEdge™ – an extensive set of in-house testing capabilities available under PEM®’s Technical Lab Services portfolio, at no additional cost to customers. These testing services help customers meet industry regulations, develop new products and evaluate the properties and limits of existing parts. 

These testing services are offered throughout Europe, providing global support at the local level, and include FEA analysis, mechanical testing, tensile and compression strength testing, hardness and micro hardness testing, microstructural analysis, XRF spectroscopy, fastener joint analysis, corrosion and plating testing, as well as cleanliness testing.

Technical Cleanliness is a measure of the level of contamination of parts, including a particle size measure and an overall number and mass of particles measured. The PEM® Clean Lab, launched in 2020, is able to provide comprehensive cleaning and testing capabilities using the most advanced equipment in the industry. These Clean Lab operations provide the ability to achieve technical cleanliness of PEM® fastening products per customer specifications and ISO 16232 and VDA volume 19 standards.

PEM®’s laboratory in Galway also hosts state of the art vacuum leak detection testing capability, replicating IPX7/8 conditions. Ingress Protection Rating testing evaluates enclosures’ protection for electrical components against foreign bodies (dust, dirt, moisture) by subjecting them to various conditions, and measuring their effectiveness in preventing intrusion. 

Through its PEMedge™ service the company is also able to provide a teardown service that helps customers cut costs and improve assembly times with a free fastener analysis – providing cost savings through lighter weight solutions that have a more compact design and provide a streamlined and cleaner assembly and disassembly.

Every test at the PEM® laboratory is carried out according to the relevant accredited testing standards, such as NASM 25027 and NASM 45938, ASTM A380, AS9100, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, IATF 16949, A2LA certification and QSLM approval.

PEM® new product releases

The PEM® range of fasteners consists of thousands upon thousands of products, but the company is always looking to innovate and provide new solutions, with recent new product developments including PEM® CastSert™ stainless steel press-in inserts for castings and soft metals – including aluminium and magnesium castings. PennEngineering® points out that this means manufacturers working with die cast alloys, and soft metals, now have an innovative, time and labour saving solution to create strong, durable metal threads.

PEM® has also introduced the 300 series stainless steel CastSert™ inserts, designed for quick, reliable, and cost-effective installations. The stainless steel CastSert™ inserts help revolutionise installing durable threads into casted materials, offering a simple press-in technique. Unlike helical inserts, which require panel preparation, CastSert™ inserts are installed by simply pressing into an ‘as-cast’ or drilled hole. PEM® highlights that this rapid installation method, using a flat punch and anvil, outpaces traditional methods by approximately 80%.

Other new solutions from PEM® includes PEM® GHOST™ fasteners, which provide a fully concealed fastener with zero visible evidence of how to disassemble – making it an ideal choice for industries that demand both sleek aesthetics and robust security. Only the user has the knowledge to disengage the fastener using a properly placed magnet or magnets. The gripping fastener utilises a fully concealed pinch-lock mechanism. A magnetic tool is used to actuate internal components, relieving the pinch-lock/grip.

PEM® has further expanded its range of fastener offerings with the launch of RVTB™ threaded rivet bushes, which create robust and reusable threads in ultra-thin panels – making them an ideal choice for a wide range of industries and applications, as they enable installation into high hardness panel materials. PEM® believes this addition solidifies its position as the primary destination for captive fasteners in thin sheet materials – with the versatility of rivet bushes spanning across non-ferrous metals like aluminium alloy, copper, and brass, extending even to non-metallic materials.

PEM®’s commitment to ensuring joint integrity is emphasised by also offering trust in the installation process. Utilising a Haeger® or PEMSERTER® installation machine for auto-feeding, customers can meet the industry’s demand for automated rivet bush installation. Notably, PEM® mentions it is the sole company in the market designing and manufacturing both the rivet bush and its specialised installation machinery, reflecting a comprehensive approach to meeting fabricators’ needs and maintaining quality control throughout the process.

PEM® growth campaigns

The electrification of transportation, often referred to as eMobility, is reshaping the automotive industry in unprecedented ways. Once dominated by mechanical engineers, the automotive sector now demands expertise in electrical engineering – as vehicles transform into data-rich, smart machines. This shift is driven by consumer expectations, government regulations, and a desire for sustainable transportation options. PEM® is already playing a pivotal role in the eMobility revolution across EV battery trays, battery storage, charging stations and 2/3 wheelers. 

PEM®’s innovative solutions address key challenges, such as ensuring watertightness, managing weight, maintaining a low profile, ensuring strength, as well as meeting specific dimensions in battery tray design. These components are essential for the seamless operation of electric vehicles.

In addition to consulting, development, production, prototyping, testing, and service, comprehensive support for customer specific production planning, considering all the necessary building blocks for process, optimised automation technology, follows PEM®’s goal of 360 degree connection technology.

Better together

In addition to PEM®’s range of fastening solutions, PennEngineering® is also able to supply Haeger® fastener
installation equipment – ensuring installation confidence and optimal production performance.

“In today’s competitive manufacturing landscape, efficient fastener installation is pivotal,” states Mary Ann Fleming. “The partnership between Haeger® and PEM® exemplifies a ‘Better Together’ approach, elevating manufacturing prowess. Haeger® fastener installation equipment, known for automating installation processes across various materials, seamlessly complements the reliability of PEM® fasteners. This synergy enhances production efficiency, ensuring uniform placements and elevated product quality. The precision of Haeger® equipment aligns perfectly with the durability of PEM® fasteners, reducing downtime and operational costs.”

The ease of use and integrated software also enables ‘real time’ monitoring, production planning, and data acquisition, promoting Industry 4.0 readiness. The technical service program HaegerCare™ also provides comprehensive support, ensuring uninterrupted performance. 

What’s next for PEM®

PEM® is planning to increase its presence in Europe with the development of a new 80,00 square foot (7,400m2) facility located in Galway, Ireland. The new facility will be a ‘centre of excellence’ focusing on developing innovative solutions for the
European market.  

“As we look ahead to the coming year, we acknowledge the challenges presented by uncertain market conditions and global turmoil. Despite these obstacles, we have secured many new projects for 2024 and our commitment remains unwavering – to pursue growth, adaptability and innovation. We stand resilient, ready to navigate through these turbulent times, leveraging our strengths, and fostering a culture of perseverance and creativity. Together, we embrace the opportunities ahead, driving progress and achieving success,” states Ger Quaid, vice-president of sales and marketing PEM® EMEA. 

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.