Fastener Industry Holds the World Together October 20, 2008Posted by champion in : Special Issues , trackback
Fastener demands are subject to the boom-bust cycle of global economic climate. Generally speaking, more industrialized, more fasteners needed. The demands will rise with increases in construction activity and manufacturing output, particularly in production of motor vehicles, aircrafts, electrical /electronics, appliances, furniture/office equipments and other equipment in which fasteners are essential components. Industrial fasteners are generally classified as standards, specials, or proprietary designs, in members fundamentally of bolts, screws, socket screws, cap screws, studs, nuts, washers, blind rivets, pins, inserts, tapping screws, machine screws, set screws, SEMS, and rivets and special industrial fasteners. Non-threaded standard fasteners continue to outsell other types in fastener family spurred by growth in global construction expenditures and backed by stepped-up spending for aircraft and military equipment in many areas. Nevertheless, the sales of application-specific fasteners soar at a faster pace than the standardized products and more OEMs replace non-specialized items with application-specific designs.
Recent innovations and improvement on fastener design spotlight on new generations of self-locking and self-sealing fasteners. The newest generation of self-locking fasteners threaded highlights a promising future for manufacturers seeking for the fasteners with greater strength and reliability, achieved by reduced product weight, heightened joint strength, better resistance to vibration, temperature extremes, axial-torsion loading and less material fatigue. Lately, there is a new look in fastener family called flexible fastener. It looks like a normal bolts or screw, except the shank is composed of a flexible material such as nylon or steel cable, which allows the bolt to bend or flex laterally, yet not stretch axially. The fastener can be used to secure surfaces various types of surfaces either non-parallel or non-aligned where compliance is needed, owing to production or construction errors.
Fastener are big business. World fastener market scale is predicted to reach US$46 billion in 2006, up 4.8 % than the previous year, and to hit US$55 billion by 2010, boosted by forthcoming economic expansion within the developing nations of Asia Pacific Rim, Mideast, Latin American and Eastern European regions. Robust growth will also be seen in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Turkey and Russia. The growths in the above-mentioned areas tend to outpace those in the US, Western Europe and Japan. The price war of fasteners continued for several years, which made many industrial players struggle to live out. Recently, the price competition is somewhat eased, not as fierce as in the previous years.
U.S. Fastener industry operates nearly 350 manufacturing facilities with 40,000 employees. Every year, there are over 200 billion fasteners consumed mainly by the miscellaneous industries of automobile, aircraft, appliances, agricultural machinery and equipment, and the construction of commercial buildings and infrastructure. Among them, 26 billion pieces are used solely by the auto industry. In recent years, growth in fastener demand slow down as manufacturing output and construction spending moderate. However, U.S. is still the biggest buyer of fastener products. The country imports more than US$3 billions worth of fasteners from China, Taiwan and Japan annually.
China consumes 9% of world demands and surpasses Japan as the second largest fastener market in the world behind the US. At present, there are nearly 8,000 fastener enterprises in China. In the first half of 2006, the export value of China fasteners totaled 1.229 billion US dollars, or 40% of the national fastener output. Invariably, price maintains a crucial factor in decision-making. Buyers from the EU, the US and Australia prefer to buy more affordable fasteners made in China. Local enterprises are working on transfer the low-end bolts and nuts under the property class of 8.8 to the higher-ends of property class from 6.8 to 10.9. Since fastener technology has been relatively mature in China, the significance of differentiation has been constantly discussed. Recently, China government promotes local enterprises with “Made by China” program, namely by resorting to brand strategy, international standards such as GB, DIN, JIS and IFI, etc. and well-known certifications to overall upgrade the industry from labor-intensive low-ends to tech-based, value-added high-ends. ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949 is essential certification required to improve the quality, service and logistics.
Taiwan exports more than 90% of the Fastener it produces every year. Nowadays, Taiwan has shifted from mass production mode to customized service provider. Proprietary design fasteners are made to the patented designs, licensed to several manufacturers, for threads, drive types, head types, locking devices, points, etc. For industrial upgrading, the quality-uplifting financing program of US$875,000 was officially approved by the government, aiming to boost its exports of automotive fasteners to 40% of its total export from current 20% in two years. Meanwhile, the program hopes to increase retail price from about US$1.9 per kilogram on average, barely of 40% of the average price of Japan-made products to US$2.2 per kilogram in 2009 and US$2.87 in 2014.
Article from TTnet.net