Global Fastener News

1981 FIN – Industrial Fasteners Institute Will Not Just Be Fasteners Anymore

May 08
00:00 2011


October 2, 1981 FIN – In a restructuring expected to be fully operational by the February 1982 meeting in Phoenix, the Industrial Fasteners Institute will expand its interests to cover whatever heading or forming of parts its manufacturer members get into.

“It was a matter of reshaping the Institute to march in step with the industry,” Dick Belford, IFI’s technical director, tells FIN, “rather than marking time and seeing the industry drift further and further away. If we had continued with the status quo, I think there would have been diminishing interest in the Institute.”

With the reorganization, IFI hopes for an expansion instead. It now has about 60 members and Belford says, “There is no question that we will be talking to a number of companies and soliciting their interest. One hundred is a nice round number.”


The reorganization, accepted in principle at the September IFI board meeting in San Francisco, and to be formalized into new articles of association by the February 15-17 meeting, has three main thrusts:

•Divisions will become stronger, more autonomous, firmer and more significant.

• IFI will deal with the parts member companies are manufacturing even when they are not strictly mechanical fasteners.

• The umbrella IFI structure over the division will concern itself with promotion members heading and forming capabilities.


Belford emphasizes, “We are not going to be doing anything less than we are now in terms of serving the fastener manufacturing industry.”

Divisions will be much more autonomous than they were, he says. “We have greatly strengthened these divisions and expect them to become more active in terms of projects and activities. They will be funded by a formula which will give them money with which to engage in projects and activities.”

The IFI is also providing the opportunity for more divisions to be organized as the need arises.


The present four IFI divisions are:

• Blind rivets and bolts, with heavy emphasis on blind rivets.

• Small products, including manufactures of machine screws, tapping screws and so on—small-headed parts.

• Large externally threaded parts—headed cap screws, structural bolts, studs, heavy hot formed parts, etc.

• Internally threaded products—all of the nut manufacturers.


The divisions were set up originally, Belford tells FIN, because IFI had been criticized for “trying to be all things to all companies. IT was said in our governing board meetings that out of 15 subjects there might be two that would be of very prime interest to producers of certain parts but they for a big yawn out of the other 13. Big bolt people get very bored when we’re talking about rivets. Rivet people get bored when we are talking about cap screws. The idea is to separate these out and give them more concentrated attention within the divisions than they would get at a governing board meeting.”

It is anticipated that new divisions will be set up. “There have been some additional divisions that have been identified,” Belford says, “but we don’t anticipate that any will be set up in the near future.”

One example of a possible future division would be washers.


The IFI will get more into serving the heading and forming industry in the manufacture of parts which may not necessarily be identified as mechanical fasteners.

“We had to broaden our scope of activity to provide necessary service to changing trends within the industry,” Belford explained. “So many of our companies are going in different directions than they were ten years ago. The bulk of manufacture of companies in our membership was basically in standard type mechanical fasteners and other mechanical fasteners. During the past ten years there has been quite a dramatic shift toward special engineered parts, more emphasis on proprietaries and new product development and a lessoning of involvement with basic standard parts.”

“I would guess that probably the predominant percentage of the industry’s production right now is parts which are not mechanical fasteners per se.”

Belford says that a lot of companies who are heading specialists have looked upon IFI as a group of producers of standard fasteners.

“They say, ‘We admire the work you are doing but you really are not in parallel with our company’s interests’. In the future we are going to provide a home for that type of company and are going to get into programs which will be very attractive to them.”

The IFI has, for now, rejected expanding into non-manufacturing facets of the fastener industry by inviting distributors or importers to join.

“Some thought has been given to broadening our membership into associates and so on, but no decision has been made,” Belford says. “It has been put on the back burner until such time as we have the new organization in place and we are able to take a calm look at where are we and where are we heading.

“It is the wish of the membership that we be an association of manufacturers,” Belford continues. “The significant change will be that we will now be an association of manufacturers of headed and formed parts, of which a major line is mechanical fasteners.”

While the divisions will concern themselves with standards and manufacturing problems, they will all be able to part of the umbrella organization which will concern itself with promotion the capabilities and skills of the industry to do “a variety of things which we have not necessarily been identified as having the ability to do.”

The IFI will be something of a federation, with power in the divisions, which will be product oriented, leaving the overall group to work on promotion. “The main institute, ” Belford says, “will concern itself with promoting the industry very actively and aggressively, promoting the skills, the capability, and versatility of the industry to do so may more things than just make mechanical fasteners.

“One of the problems of our industry has been that we are viewed as producers of bolts and nuts. We want to promote the opportunities for the industry in the manufacture of parts for which heading and forming skills are ideally suited. We will promote the industry and what it can do in terms of different materials, processes, sizes, and configurations. Then you are benefiting your entire membership, not any single segment.”


The standards work IFI has been doing will not be lost in all of these changes, Belford says.

“There will probably be a more concentrated effort given to those standards and documents which constitute support type documents rather than full product standards. By support type documents I mean those standards relating to screw threads, platings and coatings, mechanical properties, quality assurance, test methods—all of those things which must be standardized to assist in the design of a fastener or a headed part.”

“In the past we were also responsible for the actual preparation of product standards. We would completely define all of the mechanical requirements and all o the other attributes of a product. We feel that much of this work is completed. Going into the future, efforts will run to maintaining good, technically sounds documents related to support aspects of mechanical fasteners and other parts.

The IFI plans to publish a metric fasteners book.

“The book is probably 60-70% complete now,” Belford reports. “It will be a very complete book, right up to the minute and it will reflect all the international decisions. Anybody who is interested in metric can take it and use it with a high degree of confidence that they are looking at the final answers.”

At present, no changes or additions to the IFI staff are contemplated. Neither are there changes planned in titles, despite the fact that IFI has had no titular head since the departure of Clyde Roberts and Frank Axton from IFI after the February meeting. The staff consists at present of the two professionals, Belford and Wilson, and two clerical positions.

“If we get into new areas of study requiring expertise beyond the present staff,” Belford says, “we will have to make an accommodation.” ©1981/2011 Fastener Industry News

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