From anchoring stadium seats to fleet vehicle maintenance, holding up drywall and completing physical plant repairs and thousands more applications, fasteners are relied upon to keep things functioning. More than 300 billion fasteners are used in the U.S. annually in maintenance and assembly. But like a chain, a fastening system is only as strong as its weakest link. With the ongoing supply chain disruptions, we have compiled a list of tips to help your facility get the most out of its equipment and eliminate fastener failure.
As a procurement professional, you are in the best position to ensure your organization or facilities are able to run smoothly. This includes keeping up with equipment maintenance and utilizing proper solutions in order to eliminate downtime and equipment failure. As you search for products and solutions that fit your needs, cooperative purchasing organizations can help you save time and money by streamlining your procurement process.
What Causes Fastener Failure?
Longstanding, uniform performance is often interrupted by common fastener failures. Threaded assemblies fail because of gaps, vibration, and loosening. To make assembly possible, nuts and bolts must have some tolerance, which creates gaps between the threads. These gaps allow the parts to move from side-to-side when exposed to vibration.
Expansion and contraction can also cause side-to-side movement. This, in addition to vibration, leads to loosening and ultimately disassembly of parts. Fasteners also fail when disassembly is not possible because a nut and a bolt have seized together. This effect is caused by corrosion (rust) when dealing with humidity, high temperatures and assembly of different metals (galvanic corrosion) or galling (friction welding).
How Can I Prevent This from Happening?
Threadlocking adhesives are a highly reliable and low-cost solution to permanently prevent fastener failure. Available in different strengths for different applications, here are some benefits to utilizing threadlocker adhesives:
✔️ Prevent fastener loosening from vibration and shock
✔️ Seal against fluids and adhesives
✔️ Provide lubricity to achieve controlled strength during assembly
✔️ Prevent galling and seizing for reliable disassembly
Single component anaerobic adhesives are unique liquid resins that harden to a tough solid when exposed to metal ions in the absence of air. The anaerobic cure allows the adhesive to flow and evenly settle to fill the microscopic gaps between interfacing threads to lock and seal threaded assemblies, preventing lateral movement, and protecting the joint from corrosion that can result from moisture, gasses, and fluids.
Just a few drops of liquid threadlocker will keep a fastener torqued down in an assembly until the user wants it to come apart. Threadlockers provide 100% contact between metal parts, whereas a typical nut and bolt assembly may have as little as 15% metal-to-metal contact.
By bonding the thread roots and filling the gap, eliminating side-to-side movement, threadlockers dramatically increase the reliability of threaded assemblies by preventing fastener loosening – a leading cause of catastrophic equipment failure.
Selecting the Right Threadlocker
There are several factors to consider when selecting a threadlocking adhesive:
Strength: Threadlockers are available in various strengths, each denoted by color. Low strength threadlockers are purple, ideal for fasteners <1/4” (6mm) and offer easy removal. Medium strength is typically blue, and for fasteners up to ¾” in diameter used in machine tools and presses, pumps, compressors, and as mounting bolts. High-strength threadlockers are red and used on ¼” to ¾” (6mm to 22mm) fasteners for permanent assembly applications such as heavy equipment and a variety of mounts.
Viscosity: Liquid formulas are perfect for everyday assembly, fine threads, and blind holes, whereas semisolid formulas are ideal for overhead applications. Tape is best for controlled applications and can be pre-applied several days before assembly.
Application: If applied during assembly, low, medium, or high strength grades are used. However, if a project requires a threadlocker to be applied to parts that are already assembled, wicking grades avoid the need to disassemble and reassemble Lawson Products: Hook & Hold™ Liquid Threadlockers
all the fasteners.
Threadlocker Usage Tips
To achieve optimum performance, be certain all parts are clean and free of contaminants (e.g., oil, grease). Wash with hot water before use. In addition, the adhesive must wet the total length of the thread engagement area.
For through-hole nut and bolt assemblies, apply threadlocker only where the nut and bolt will meet when the assembly is fully tightened, as only adhesive between the thread will cure. For blind-hole assemblies such as cap screws, apply threadlockers to both the bolt and the mating threads. If adhesive is applied only to the bolt, air pressure will force the liquid threadlocker to escape as the bolt is torqued down, resulting in an incomplete cure and possible assembly failure.
To keep equipment and end products performing well, consider locking, sealing and holding threaded fasteners in place with a threadlocker. In addition to locking nuts and bolts against vibration and thermal expansion, sealing against corrosion and leakage, and maintaining critical assembly adjustment, threadlocker usage contributes to reduced labor and inventory management costs.
Facility maintenance products and solutions, including fasteners and threadlockers, are available to agencies through a cooperative contract. Click the button below to learn more about the solutions Lawson Products offers through OMNIA Partners.
About Lawson Products and OMNIA Partners
Lawson Products is a leading distributor of fleet and facility maintenance products in North America. In addition to offering a broad range of maintenance and repair products, Lawson offers site-level inventory management services and technical support. We serve state and local governments, school districts, colleges, and universities with our contract available through OMNIA Partners, Public Sector. With approximately 300 different adhesives as part of its chemicals category, procurement professionals have a wide variety of threadlockers from which to choose.