Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Foremost Contracting for High-Strength Bolts to Assure Domestic Supply

October 05
00:00 2012

June 22, 1982 FIN – An innovative California distributor is attempting to shield a segment of its business from imports by contracting to get high-strength bolts make for it.

Foremost Threaded Products, City of Industry, California has gotten what it calls its F-911 program underway by contracting with Lake Erie Screw Co. of Cleveland to make head set bolts of 180,000 psi strength alloy steel. It is also contracting with Bethlehem Steel to manufacture a segment of the line. Foremost will handle the marketing.
“We found that with a lot of our OEM customers there was a market for this high strength bolt,” Neal Thompson, president and co-owner, tells FIN.
Foremost is having the bolts make to its specifications, including full certification on ever run, and is buying them out right.
It started the program about a year ago but was quiet about it while it built inventory to the point where it could offer the full size range. Thompson says come other distributors have shown a strong interest in the program, and he is interested in finding a distributor on the East Coast he can work with. He says they have spent about $300,000 on the program so far, mainly building inventory, and expect to spend about $1 million over the next three years.
Foremost is now looking for a domestic manufacturer of nuts it can give a $100,000 order to. “We don’t run across any nut manufacturers in California. I don’t know if there are any in the country.” This is a market that has virtually totally gone to imports.”
The program will include extensive advertising on a nationwide basis along with the building of inventory.
Without such efforts, Thompson feels that more and more market segments like this will go to imports. “I’m not trying to raise the flag or anything, but if you have inventory that keeps on going down and down in price it is going to be of no advantage to the distributor.” The program started with certain OEM customers who had design problems, Thompson says. One was a company that was trying to mate a very large metric bearing to another piece and would either have to drill the bearing out to a larger diameter to put a bigger bolt in, which would be expensive, or would have to go to a higher strength bolt.
Another instance was a truck manufacturer who makes and sells trucks in Mexico. Because roads tend to be unpaved in Mexico, American components which have been drilled for 5/8″ diameter bolts would have to be redrilled to 3/4″ to provide the strength needed to resist the wear and tear. They found that with the higher strength bolt they got the torsion strength they needed without modifying the components.
Demand for this product is also seen as coming from OEMs who want domestic bolts, but have a hard time believing that what they are being sold is domestic. (Hence, the certification in Formost’s F-911).
“We watched the grade 8 market totally collapse,” Thompson says. “It has gone to almost totally imports, now. People were requesting domestic grade 8 bolts and they were coming in with ‘R’ on the head or ‘S’ on the head and people were claiming that those were domestic. There were a lot of problems and most of the problems with the imported grade 8s was that they were made of boron steel and that is not suitable for all applications.”
The F-911 program is planned to replace the domestic grade 8 market and to help some OEMs improve their products. “There is a high end of the market,” Thompson tells Fastener Industry News, “and what we really want to do is keep the high end from collapsing.”
Other Foremost innovations, particularly its policy of staying open 24 hours a day from midnight Sunday through midnight Friday, seem to be working. “The target we set for the year back in November was to go up 40%,” Thompson says. “Now, a little past six months, we are a little over target.” A big reason, he thinks, is the urgent desire of people to reduce their inventories. “We appeal to this. If a person wants to not stock fasteners he can do that and not worry about it because he can get it from us 24 hours a day. So a lot of companies have done that, including some that used to do a lot of their own buying overseas.” ©1982/2012 Fastener Industry News.
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