It holds, and holds, and goes on holding: how Kistler creates the conditions for reliable threaded joints

Fastening is one of the most frequently used industrial joining methods – a crucially important technology in many industries, above all in the automotive sector. By investing heavily in this technology over recent years, Kistler aims to be a single-source supplier of know-how and quality assurance, offering customers everything from analysis of individual threaded joints to tool testing and process monitoring.

It comes as no surprise that threaded joints play an increasingly critical part in industrial production all over the world – after all, they are key factors in ensuring safety, reliability and functionality. You might suppose that joining two or more parts together permanently with a fastener is a straightforward process – but it proves to be a major challenge, especially in series assembly where vast quantities and ever-shorter cycle times are called for. A glance at the automotive industry market proves the point convincingly: hardly a year goes by without an automobile manufacturer being forced to launch a recall action because of faulty threaded joints.

According to estimates by the consulting firm Archetype Joint LLC, the automotive industry assumes that 70% of warranty costs and 20% of all recall actions are caused directly or indirectly by faulty threaded joints. But these joints also figure prominently in other industrial sectors such as wind power and electronics manufacturing. Wind turbines are held together with massive M48 bolts, whereas everything in an intricate electronic component has to fit into the smallest possible space. Two very different industries, but they face very similar challenges: how can preloading forces be precisely reproduced? Once the threaded joints are assembled, how can their quality be tested? And how is it possible to investigate the long-term effects of real loads such as vibrations?

Quality assurance boosts cost-efficiency

The quality of threaded joints is one of the key factors that determine the business success of any manufacturing enterprise. The consequences of faulty joints can quickly damage a company's reputation – not to mention the risks for end customers in industries such as automobile manufacturing. This why quality assurance is expected to meet ever-higher standards. Oliver Schnerr, Head of Sales in Kistler's IPC Division, outlines Kistler's approach: "Our company's strategy-oriented management identified the crucial importance of threaded joints at an early stage, so investments were made in the necessary application know-how. And now, those efforts are paying off for Kistler's customers many times over: when it comes to quality assurance for production and assembly, we can offer our customers a whole series of leading solutions – to test individual threaded joints or torque tools, and to monitor the fastening process, among many others."

Fastener testing as a service to our customers

As well as offering the market's leading technological solutions to measure threaded joints, Kistler can also act as an independent service provider for its customers. Our range of services comprises:

  • Tests in the torque range from 0.02 to 8 000 Nm
  • Tests in the force range from 40 to 1 000 N
  • Application-specific tests on vertical and/or horizontal systems
  • Simulation of real loads on our vibration test stand
  • On-site service at customers' premises with mobile systems

Kistler's expertise in threaded joint technology underwent a quantum leap when Schatz, the market leader, was integrated into the Kistler Group in 2016. Schnerr explains: "We now have a wide-ranging portfolio of fastening technology products and systems that allow us to supply application-specific solutions precisely tailored to each customer's requirements." As usual with Kistler, these systems feature a combination of sensor technology, electronics and software to make quality assurance for fastening technology as simple and efficient as possible. "Take our ANALYSE systems, for instance: they can precisely determine the functional characteristics of threaded joints – such as the friction coefficient – and they also can verify compliance with the applicable standards," Schnerr continues. "What's more, everything is recorded, processed and documented so customers have a detailed overview of their fastening processes – establishing the basis for traceability and transparency. Any customer who deploys Kistler products to reliably monitor preloading force, rotation angle and torque can be sure of quality that leaves the competition standing."

Process transparency: an essential requirement for Industry 4.0

Oliver Schnerr singles out another key advantage of Kistler's outstanding expertise in threaded joint technology: "Our systems play a vital part in enhancing the quality of processes. Consistent monitoring in the laboratory and during production isn't merely the key to improving the quality of all the fastening processes; it's also a cornerstone of the Smart Factory in the Industry 4.0 era. Users can react more quickly if process errors occur. Process risks can be identified at an early stage – so preventive action can be taken. In these ways, transparency in the fastening process supports ongoing process optimization – creating a dependable basis for boosting cost efficiency in industrial production."

 

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