1. New Materials
“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it…” But that isn’t Fast-Rite’s way. We say, “if it can be better, then why not?”. Fasteners were traditionally made from metal and plastic but there are other materials that can be more suitable with enhanced solidity. Materials such as ceramics, carbon fiber and special alloy can both be more durable and lighter in weight. We can even produce fasteners that can endure more extreme heat and pressure. For industries that require ultra-lightweight options, titanium fasteners may be the answer. For example, Titanium grade 5 has a strength-to-weight ratio of 29.1. Compared to a 9.2 of cold-rolled steel, there are some major differences there.
Ceramic (left), Inconel (top right), and carbon Fiber (bottom right)
2. Miniature and Micro Designs
We have all probably seen fasteners in watches, phones, computers, but they are also used in various medical devices, control panels, and in some lighting fixtures. The production of compactly designed devices drives the demand for tiny fasteners. There is potential there for an array of products and tools. For example, tiny screws need tiny screw insertions. There are automated or semi-automated small screw insertion tools available to make the installation process a lot less challenging.
Micro fasteners inside a watch (Photo by Felix Mittermeier from Pexels)
3. Even Better Resistance to Corrosion
Carbon properties are susceptible to corrosion however, it is necessary for certain applications, depending on the durability and strength requirements. A variety of finishes or just a coat of paint can help combat corrosion. Stainless steel is also a good option for fasteners because it is corrosion resistant. At Fast-Rite, we offer corrosion resistant fasteners.
Stainless steel fasteners
4. Tamper Proof
Is property and public safety important to you? Fasteners are everywhere and a lot of them are installed in visible and accessible places. It is staggeringly surprising how many individuals hijack various components and fasteners out of their intended applications. Security is essential which is why Fast-Rite puts in countless hours to ensure a wide range of high-quality fasteners and components exceeding industry standards. Some common examples are one-way screws and security pin drives. These would make removing fasteners in any application a more challenging task. In this case, that’s a good thing. Just think of the fixtures in a prison.
Read more about these trends here
Co-writer: Nick Telander
How did the container shortage come about?
Only 40% of containers shipped from China to North America were returned to China after China’s Covid-19 recovery and during the shutdowns in the Western hemisphere. This means almost half of those containers are unusable. On one hand, container manufacturers are not producing them fast enough to meet the current demands. On the other hand, containers are not unloading fast enough due to the lack of resources and due to the previous port congestions. Port congestions are the results of the previous port closures during the pandemic. Rail companies such as the Union Pacific have instituted shutdowns due to congestion and will further contribute to delays.
What does a shortage in containers mean?
A shortage in containers means a shortage in inventories. Big retailers are driving demands even higher as they try to get stock ready for the pre-holiday season. Container manufacturers are charging premiums for their containers due to this high demand (Source: dedola.com).
We manufacture our fasteners, stampings, and castings overseas, so this is a direct impact to our costs. We are already seeing the increase in freight costs across all international supply chains. These container surcharges will begin to emerge in our prices despite our best efforts to absorb them. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news but these are the results of an unfavorable situation. We are hoping for the market to stabilize but this is unlikely to happen before the major Holidays in 2021.