The marine environment poses many considerations for fabricators providing products like cushions, windshield covers, enclosures and the like to this industry. Not only do they have to take the sun, wind, salt air and water into account, they must also figure out how to keep these items firmly in place (while being easy to take off and on) without damaging the vessel. To meet these seemingly conflicting requirements, marine fabricators rely on all manner of fasteners—snaps, magnets, Velcro® systems, zippers and so on—to get the job done.
Still, fasteners aren’t problem-free. The can create rust stains, corrode, puncture surfaces, become tripping hazards or fail altogether. Fortunately for fabricators, marine hardware manufacturers are an inventive lot, devising new products designed to effectively address these and other concerns.
For example, SUREFAS® BV, headquartered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, provides textile fasteners for industrial applications. One of the most recent of these, launched this September, is the CAF-COMPO screw stud.
“This is a composite self-tapping screw stud for use in fiberglass, wood and other composites,” explains Bas Jan Veldhoen, marketing manager. “The stud is the lower part of a snap or ring-spring press fastener system. The stud will fit any regular ring-spring socket, no matter the material or supplier, and there’s no issue with corrosion. A version with a metric thread makes it possible to solve the corrosion issue on any aluminum surface, like window frames.”
The stud—available in variations of white, light grey and black (custom colors are also possible)—is tested to hold 500N shear force and is UV-stabilized, Veldhoen says, adding that even a strong hammer blow won’t cause the stud to pop out.
Among the latest products offered by Scovill Fasteners, a Clarksville, Ga., manufacturer of apparel and light industrial fasteners are the self-piercing grommets and washers. Made of premium brass, the grommets and washers “feature sharp-edged barrels for application on material without having to pre-punch holes, providing faster application during high-volume production,” says Shane McEntyre, vice president of DOT sales and marketing, adding that, thanks to their thick raw material, these grommets and washers are designed to withstand heavy-duty applications.
Headquartered in Marietta, Ga., YKK (U.S.A.) Inc., produces a variety of fastening products for a spectrum of industries, including safety, transportation, tactical, outdoor and more, says David Kelly, regional sales manager. A “brand new concept” from the company is the Stainless Steel Snap Tie, which can be utilized with wire ties, leather straps, ribbons or other items of choice.
“This has dozens of potential applications,” says Kelly. “This will allow the user to move the stud to the appropriate location of the socket instead of being limited to a fixed location. It’s perfect for moving wires and hoses to the side, then being able to move them again at a later date, for example, in the case where a mechanic needs to move wires to get to other electronics.”
Innovations like these and others not only provide marine fabricators with effective solutions, they also enable them to deliver products that exceed customer expectations, and in the process, gain a potentially lucrative competitive advantage.