Global Fastener News

1994 FIN – Marbacher & Unferth: Metric is Coming

May 04
00:00 2010

October 25, 1994 FIN – “The U.S. is going metric to trade better in the international world,” Bruno Marbacher of Bossard International Inc. told the National Fastener Distributors Association fall meeting.

Marbacher noted that U.S. companies have subsidiaries overseas. Overseas subsidiaries of U.S. companies are involved in international projects. U.S. companies are subcontracting.
Subassemblies are made in different parts of the world. The U.S. Navy has decided to produce its first metric frigate.

It also involves interchangeability and availability. “Fasteners made to worldwide recognized standards are more available,” Marbacher said.

Bill Unferth, Bossard’s vice president of sales, told the Southwestern Fastener Association that it is too late to use the old excuse, “I’m going to retire before metric is here.”
“It is here,” Unferth said. “In 1988 there were two metric suppliers at Southwestern’s tabletop show. This year there are seven.”

Manufacturers must look beyond their traditional local markets. “Hopefully the market is throughout the world,” Unferth said. He noted that John Deere currently sells more tractors in Europe than in the United States.

“People also shy away from metric because they find it intimidating,” Unferth said. “It is easier to sell quarter inch because you know it.”

U.S. firms can sell metric fasteners, Unferth said. “If you talk with some degree of intelligence, you will get some business. If you need answers, go to your suppliers.”

Unferth predicted ISO 9000 “will probably be the world standard,” but until then, U.S. fastener firms selling in metric should be careful about what standard they use.

• DIN is the standard “you hear most about and is the only worldwide recognized and accepted standard.” While many standards have been converted to ISO, many machines are still only in DIN, he noted.
• ANSI is “almost in agreement with ISO.”
• CEN “most likely will follow ISO.”
• JIS used on the West Coast, in Japanese auto and electronic uses, is “really only available from Japan and the Pacific Rim and is not a worldwide recognized standard.”

Because of the variances between standards, distributors need to buy and inspect to the same standard.
“If you don’t ask the right questions of customers, it could cause major, major problems,” Unferth said. There are differences in drive sizes between machine screws manufactured to the different standards and some standards don’t include all sizes. For example, ANSI goes up to M48 in socket head cap screws and DIN contributes on to M100.
“A customer may need one standard one time, but another the next order,” Unferth said. ©1994/2010 Fastener Industry News

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