Global Fastener News

1999 FIN – Graef: South American Fastener Technology Advancing

September 06
00:00 2010

June 4, 1999 FIN – “Talking about technology, we may say that the South American – mainly Brazilian – fastener industry is achieving almost the same level of the first world at the present moment,” John Graef of SouthWind International told the International Fastener & Precision Formed Parts Manufacturing Expositionroundtable.

South America produced 270,000 metric tons of fasteners in 1998, totaling $1 billion in sales, according to estimates by Sao Paulo, Brazil-based South Wind International.

“The restrictions on importing into Brazil in the recent years has pushed the industry to improve its technology level to supply the automobile industry that demands world quality levels,” Graef explained.

“The cold and hot forming processes have been highly improved in recent years to meet the global sourcing requirements of automakers,” he added.

South America is beginning to have local sources for tooling, but a significant volume is still imported, Graef noted.

The 13-nation South American market has five countries with significant fastener manufacturing.

Brazil, with 54% of the South American GNP, easily leads. In addition to major manufacturers, Brazil has about 250 small producers and combined the country produces about 150,000 metric tons or $600 million in sales.

The automobile industry accounts for half the Brazil fastener sales, distributors 22%, electro-electronic industries 8% and other industrial fasteners 20%.

A total of 43% of Brazil steel fastener production is in low carbon steel; 25% in medium carbon; 22% in alloy steel; 4% aluminum; and stainless and copper alloys, each 3%.

Graef listed the main types of fasteners produced in South America as standard hex flange bolts and nuts; structural hex and square bolts and nuts; standard and automotive screws; automotive bolts & nuts, including engine fasteners; standard and special rivets, including solid, tubular and blind; all types of washers; and special cold and hot formed fasteners.

Graef told the IFE roundtable that 90% of steel for fasteners comes from local mills and only a few special alloys are imported.

Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela each have at least one major fastener manufacturer. Graef listed major producers as: Fabio Hermanos, Ochoteco, Mercurio Papaiani, Acc, Prax & Tell, and Fabutor in Argentina; American Screw in Chile; Gutemberto and Catho in Columbia; and Torcar in Venezuela.

Major manufacturers in Brazil are: Mapri-Textron, Ciser, Industrial Rex, Rex Maquinas, Bökkgiff-Neumeier, Michaletto, Hassmann, Metalac/SPS, Fibam, Fanaupe, Ingepal, Fey, Continental and Parasmo.

Graef said South American fastener manufacturers are capable of producing aerospace fasteners, “but due to the few aircraft manufacturers, those fasteners are usually imported.”

South America produces according to most known international standards, including SAE, ANSI, ASTM, DIN, UNI and JIS. UNI is required by automaker Fiat and JIS by Honda and Toyota plants.

Though Brazil has the ABNT standards and Argentina has IRAN, most fasteners are produced to international standards, Graef noted.

Quality assurance systems have become a must for automotive suppliers and “today all of the major automotive fastener suppliers in South America are ISO-9000 registered and many of them are already QS 9000 certified or are in the process of being certified. Some of these companies are already working to get the ISO-14001 environmental certification,” Graef said.

South American Future

Though GNP growth is forecast at only 1.2%, Graef speculated that the Brazilian automotive market will grow faster and “that may push the whole continent ahead after the complete integration of local trade zones.”

“Such important growth will open wide opportunities for foreign machinery, technology and equipment suppliers,” Graef predicted.

The needs are not only for increasing production, “but also to replace old equipment in order to become more competitive and meet the growing quality standards required by customers.”

“Brazilian currency devaluation makes imported fasteners more expensive,” Graef pointed out. “Given the currency scenario, Brazil may become an important fastener exporter of world class quality fasteners,” Graef suggested.

There is plenty of room for growth in the Brazilian auto market, Graef finds. In Brazil there are about 10 people ford every car and in Argentina the ratio is 5 people per car. The U.S. has two vehicles for every inhabitant.  ©1999/2010 Fastener Industry News.

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