Considering the wide range of applications that fasteners have in the manufacturing, assembly and production industries, it’s remarkable that there isn’t more attention on how you store your fasteners. The incorrect approach to fastener storage can cost you time and money in manufacturing and assembly, especially if you depend on specialty fasteners.
Certain fasteners may have special storage requirements, but even ordinary nuts and bolts will need an organized system to ensure each component and assembly uses the correct item every time. BAE Systems that manufacture the Eurofighter Typhoon depend on one of the most complex assembly processes today and would struggle if they didn’t have innovative fastener storage and handling solutions.
The company that designs and manufactures these storage solutions – Hurst Green Plastics – is a vital partner in BAE’s production process. With 7,000 rivet and fastener storage units in operation currently, it’s clear that a streamlined approach is critical for the manufacturing and assembly of advanced aerospace technologies.
Here is everything you need to know about fastener storage in modern manufacturing and assembly systems.
- Considerations for fastener storage extends across the entire supply chain and manufacturing process in your company
- Designing a modern fastener storage strategy can avoid costly downtimes and reduce the risk of product failure
- Integrating the latest technologies with your fastener storage approach is a way to reduce costs, improve quality, and gain a competitive edge in the manufacturing industry
Why Fastener Storage Matters
It’s common for manufacturers to buy the fasteners required for their production lines in bulk to avoid shortages and maintain a competitive price point. While this is a prudent business approach, you could be undermining the advantages if you fail to store your fasteners properly.
What are the Consequences of Incorrect Fastener Storage?
If you deal with more complex product ranges, you’ll need to pay close attention to your fastener storage strategy. The same considerations will apply when you use structural bolting components on a job site, where a quality issue could lead to major failures that put your organization at risk.
Some of the common issues that come from incorrect fastener storage include:
- Loss – Incorrect or ad hoc storage strategies lead to greater rates of loss that could lead to work stoppages and increased costs
- Inefficiency – If the storage strategy doesn’t support the assembly and manufacturing process, then you’ll end up with reduced production quantities during every shift
- Damage – Most fasteners require storage that limits exposure to the elements and temperatures that damage the integrity of the threads due to increased oxidization
- Quality – Lot traceability may be a vital part of the manufacturing, construction, or production process. Incorrect storage can compromise your product quality
Each of these issues can lead to minor issues or major failures in your assembly process. Developing a fastener storage strategy can help increase productivity, ensure quality, and save you money.
What Are the Best Ways to Store Fasteners?
Depending on the type of fastener, the material, and the application, the proper way to store your components should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also consider process requirements that support your production line when developing a fastener storage strategy. In the case of BAE, a TwinBin Kanban approach ensures that the right fastener is always available for the exact step involved in the assembly process.
Additionally, you may want to:
- Use airtight storage compartments – If you use uncoated fasteners in your assemblies, you should reduce the effects of corrosion by using airtight storage containers. Reducing contact between water in the air will also limit rust which makes your fasteners unsuitable for the application.
- Keep different types apart – While it may require more storage space, keeping different types of fasteners apart reduces the chances of metal-to-metal reactions and ensures the quality of the items for longer periods. You’ll also be able to find the right fastener quickly, saving you time during the assembly process.
Take special precautions with high-quality fasteners – When you depend on high-quality, high-strength nickel and alloy fasteners, take additional care to protect these during storage. Any deformity of the threaded parts can compromise the joint efficiency and lead to recalls or worse, catastrophic failures.
What Additional Fastener Storage Considerations Apply?
Due to the many types of fasteners involved in modern manufacturing, numerous storage requirements may apply. You may also want to consider the organization of your storage strategy and automate restocking and resupply processes for critical items.
The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies can help ensure you always have the right fastener available for your application by keeping track of your inventories automatically. Considering your current approach to fastener storage solutions may help improve your manufacturing efficiency and product quality.
Another emerging approach is to use vendor-managed inventory (VMI) for all your fastener needs.
With a VMI approach, you can:
- Streamline your supply chain using a bin service to maintain all your inventories
- Prevent production shortages across your manufacturing processes by making inventory the responsibility of your supplier
- Save money with improved pricing and reducing the number of stock you have to store onsite
- Conserve man-hours by eliminating the need for your resources to keep track of inventory and forecast demand in the future
Attend International Fastener Expo to Find the Latest Fastener and Storage Trends
Although this year’s IFE just wrapped up, you can plan to join us next year for #IFE2022 October 17 – 22 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas to engage directly with fastener storage experts. Sign up for access to exclusive show news and be the first to know when registration opens by signing up here.