Global Fastener News

1995 FIN – Shamrock to Share Technology Learned in New Research Venture

March 04
00:00 2010

FASTENER HISTORY
1995 FIN – Shamrock to Share Technology Learned in New Research Venture

April 17, 1995 FIN – Shamrock Technologies last month opened a $12 million fastener research facility and plans to share with the entire fastener industry what the firm learns.

Shamrock president Paul Morath told FIN he went to the U.S. auto industry’s Big Three a year ago and proposed a cooperative venture to produce “more optimal” fasteners and make the North American automotive industry more competitive.

New manufacturing processes or fastener designs codeveloped by Shamrock and Ring Screw Works of Madison Heights, MI, will be shared freely with the fastener industry “in order to maximize the benefits to the North American automobile industry and its customers,” Morath said.

Ring Screw, which has 13 plants, 600 employees and $160 million in annual fastener sales, owns 80% of Shamrock.

Traditionally, American firms treat their research and manufacturing processes with secrecy. “My plant doors would be closed and your plant doors would be closed,” Morath pointed out. “That’s not what they do in Japan. Other countries are more cooperative.”

Acknowledging that such corporate sharing is unusual, Morath, former CEO for Cold Heading Company in Warren, MI, explained how he told his idea to the auto industry.
“There are way too many problems with fasteners in assembly and recalls. There are problems with everything from uniform torques to nicked threads,” Morath explained. “I proposed our mission would be to do joint studies.”

The goal is to see “why fasteners fail and why they work. Let’s see why cylinder bolts used in aluminum blocks tend to bend in heat treating. Let’s be able to reliably predict the results.”
“People saluted that,” Morath recalled. The automakers were intrigued with the idea of benchmarking fastener quality.
Ford, General Motors and Chrysler agreed to assign engineers to work at Shamrock and donate the time.

Tom Sanna, purchasing agent for body assembly and power train fasteners for Ford Motor Co. said that “from a customer perspective we’ve been working with our suppliers to benchmark best-in-class levels of design and quality. We’re very excited about the new Shamrock facility as far as its state-of-the-art capabilities and quality are concerned.”

The Shamrock operation includes participants from raw material suppliers to end users.
National Machinery is placing its first FX 6 4XL – the replacement for the 750 parts former and the next step up in its Formax line for fastener manufacturing – at Shamrock for initial testing.
“We’ll work out the bugs,” Morath said. “We’re willing to be the guinea pigs.”

The new Shamrock facility includes new equipment such as a scanning electron microscope capable of analyzing material at the molecular level (which Morath described as “the eye that lets you see inside”) and a heat treat line designed to protect thread quality and eliminate scale build-up.
“You don’t normally see those in small shops,” Morath said.

Research at Shamrock, which officially opened its 80,000 sq ft facility in suburban Detroit on St. Patrick’s Day, will sole assembly and quality problems due to fastener failure, whether in design or manufacturing or by outside contaminants, Morath said.

In addition to including new equipment, the Shamrock facility is designed for maximum productivity, energy efficiency and utilization, said John Kay, vice president for Can-Eng, a Niagara Falls, Ontario, manufacturer of heat treating equipment.
“Shamrock’s use of heat treating processes, which are designed to reduce or eliminate thread damage and parts distortion during heat treating, should enable them to become worldwide leaders in quality.”

If Shamrock is going to share with competitors,, what is the advantage for Shamrock and Ring Screw?
“Our goal is to take a leadership position,” Morath responded. “My experience is that if you take a technical leadership position then you gain a market leadership position.” ©1995/2010 Fastener Industry News

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