Machine Screws represent a technology that is now conventional, so that Challenge Europe believe it is interesting to ask “what is their future?”
We have already seen many developments in drives/head configurations for automated production such as Hex drives and other socket screws, leading on to the more modern Phillips, Pozi and star drives, e.g. TORX, developed with a view to self-centring so that they will sustain torque loadings of automatic drives and with the further aim of being self-aligning when inserted.
We already have in the market an extensive selection of different thread pitches/multiple thread screws – custom screws – many diameters and head styles. Including threads for different materials such as steel, soft metals, plastics, zinc die castings, aluminium castings and so on.
More sophisticated driver forms can now be readily produced with advanced production machinery, leading to a great variety of head forms for differing purposes, e.g. wafer heads – thin and large diameter to spread the load over the substrate, which may be a thin sheet or soft material.
Other common forms include Narrow/small dia heads for confined spaces, Dome heads for aesthetics, Countersunk heads for smooth surfaces, Vandal-resistant heads for security, Integral washers, Pre-assembled sealing washers, Load spreading heads and Anti-vibration, e.g. serrated flanges.
Generally, in the future we foresee evolution rather than revolution with major market trends focused on:
Better production technologies leading to better quality, greater accuracy, cleaner execution, reduced wastage, lower cost.
Higher performance through use of higher spec materials, better finishes, superior insertion and drive capabilities, coupled with development of new thread forms to suit different materials and applications.
As discussed elsewhere, new thread forms are in development, but do not seem to have mass market utility as yet.
This has been the story of machine screws so far and we can only see it continuing as new industries of personal transit, renewable energy and recycling continue to develop new requirements with ever-lower energy use.
Clearly the threaded fastener industry continues to be vibrant with evolutionary growth based on their simple functionality at low cost.
Further information on Machine Screws from Challenge Europe can be found at www.challenge-europe.co.uk/threaded-products-screws/.