When you work in assembly or manufacturing, you quickly learn that even the tiniest detail can often make a huge difference to the success of a project. Not following the specifications correctly or not using the right parts can quickly turn an otherwise perfectly manufactured item into little more than expensive junk. One of the most obvious examples of this can be seen in the nuts and bolts used in the product. You might think that all nuts and bolts are similar or that using one that is slightly different from the set specification won't really matter. The truth is that if you don't use the right nuts and bolts, there is no certainty that your product will work correctly at all or that it will continue to work for the expected product life. You could find that the nuts and bolts either won't tighten as expected or that they are not sufficiently strong to hold the two parts of the product in place leading to early product failure. To pick the right nuts and bolts, there are three things you must consider.
Where will you use the nuts and bolts?
If you are choosing nuts and bolts, then the first question to ask is always 'Where will they be used?' If you want to join two pieces of metal together, then you have to think not just about the nut and bolt you want to use but also the metal and the location of the bolt holes. If the material you are bolting is not sufficiently strong or tears at the holes, then your product will always fail.
How much strain will it face?
If the material that you want to hold in place is especially thick or if it experiences particular stresses, then you must use a longer or thicker nut and bolt to avoid bolt shearing if excess strain is applied.
Do you need any washers?
Nuts and bolts are a great fastening tool, but often, they need to be used in conjunction with washers. These might be stainless steel washers, locking washers or shake-proof washers designed to provide extra support to the fastening.
The choice of the washer can make a big difference in how firm the fastening remains in the years ahead, so you need to think carefully before making your choice. If you have any questions about the suitability of a particular fastening, then the manufacturer should be able to guide your choice.