Fasteners and springs are both common types of components found in numerous assemblies, and they both serve to join and secure materials together. While fasteners may be found in applications ranging from residential use to industrial processes, the exact fasteners chosen for a particular system or assembly will often come down to its particular needs. With the right choice of fasteners and springs, one can better guarantee successful and reliable operations. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the most common fastener and spring types that one may come across, allowing you to have a better grasp on how various products are used.
On the fastener side, the most common components used across industries include nuts and bolts, screws, and rivets. Nuts and bolts are two distinct component types, though they are very commonly used together for securing assemblies. A bolt will typically feature an externally threaded shaft and a head on one side, while a nut will usually be a hexagonal-shape component with a central hole that is internally threaded. To create an assembly, the shaft of the bolt is passed through pre-drilled holes on workpieces, and the nut is tightened to the bolt shaft from the opposite side. Through compression and bolt stretching, the assembly is secured.
Screws are quite similar in appearance to bolts, though rather than pairing with a mating nut to secure an assembly, they are able to bore their own holes in parts as they are installed. Screws are generally driven into an assembly with a screwdriver or a drill, and their external threading will pull materials in as it digs to prevent pull-out. While screws lack some of the strength of other fasteners, they are still highly useful for many medium-duty needs.
Rivets are one of the most rigorous fasteners when considering the common types, coming in the form of metallic components with a smooth, cylindrical shaft and a head on one side. Like bolts, the tail-end of a rivet is passed through pre-drilled holes, though instead of mating with a component, a tool is used to deform the tail to establish a second head. This results in a dumbbell shaped rivet that permanently secures the assembly until the rivet is broken.
Mechanical springs are the most common variation that one may use for industrial, commercial, and consumer applications, and they may be procured in subtypes such as compression, extension, torsion, and wire form springs. Compression springs are used when a load is needed, and they generate this load when squeezed or compressed in an assembly. This allows them to be used in switches, automotive suspensions, and valves. With extension springs, stretching is what creates the load, and they have loops that attach to moving components. Generally, extension springs can be found in tensioning devices, switches, and levers. Torsion springs are also used to create loads,
and they do this by rotating around an axis, releasing the load in an arc around it. This makes them beneficial for rocker switches, mouse traps, and other devices that rotate less than 360 degrees.
Wire forms can be considered a spring, though they differ in their design by lacking a helix or coil configuration. Rather, wire forms are wound in a U- or V-configuration, and they are intended to flex and snap. As such, wire form components are most often used as fasteners, cotter pins being a good example of such products. While wire form springs can secure assemblies, they are much more temporary in nature and thus should not be used in rigorous settings.
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