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Vertullo At Pac-West: Fastener 
Lessons Not Learned

Vertullo At Pac-West: Fastener 
Lessons Not Learned
September 05
18:06 2017

What is the state of the fastener industry?

“I see us doing things that we thought would have gone away ten years ago” with today’s training and access to information, noted Carmen Vertullo of Carver Consulting in El Cajon, CA.

“It comes down to risk: Every transaction we make… has some risks associated with it,” Vertullo told members of the Pacific-West Fastener Association.

Risk is the current flavor of the fastener industry, Vertullo noted.

“I don’t think there is another facet of industrial distribution that has the level of risk that (fastener companies) do.”

“Hydrogen embrittlement is never going way.”

There are two types of HE:

Internal (improperly baked product that results in delayed failure 2 hours to 2-3 days).

External (hydrogen introduced from external forces after item installed and exposed to elements).

“It turns out we’ve been baking way too much stuff over the years, and we’ve been underbaking stuff that needed more processing.”

“It’s okay to plate Grade 8 bolts but it’s not necessary because Grade 8 has a Rockwell hardness range of C34-39 and we don’t see HE in that range unless the bolt had structural problems to begin with.”

Four hours of baking is not a strategy to prevent hydrogen embrittlement.

“Actually 4 hours of baking simply makes hydrogen ‘mad.’”

A simple load test can tell if a product is susceptible to HE.

Every fastener company should have an employee specifically trained to understand HE.


“Whoever provides the fastener to the user is the responsible party in cases of failure.”

If you are having product plated, it’s important to visit the plater and ask specific questions.

Another mistake fastener companies make involves “dabbling” in providing structural bolts.

In 2010, it was 1 out of 100 cases where fastener was to blame for failure. Now it’s 2 out of 100, which is significant, Vertullo explained.

“That’s a 100% increase.”

And it’s just as prevalent in domestic product as imported product.

When failure occurs, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer and/or exporter, Vertullo advised.

A good way to share tightening strategy is to ask how tight customer wants fastener to be. Then you can provide general tech info to customer without giving specific advice.

The benefit of this strategy is that if becomes a service you provide to customers.

Consequences of provide specific torque advice are “severe.”

It’s much better to provide “K factor” referenced by a subject authority such as the Industrial Fasteners Institute.

“It’s a safe way to provide tightening information to your clients without making you responsible.”

Recommended coatings have changed.

“We have some new and exciting coating options in the world.”

Now there is zinc nickel; spin coatings; and electro-deposition infused coatings, among others.

The best coating ever developed for fasteners was cadmium, which was outlawed because the plating process created too much toxic material, Vertullo explained.

To get the best coating options, develop a good relationship with your supplier. Web:

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