Global Fastener News

Updates on Fastener Industry Response To COVID-19

Updates on Fastener Industry Response To COVID-19
March 20
14:28 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our COVID-19 coverage is now free to the fastener industry.

BBI Warns Customers Of Email Scam
Brighton-Best International alerted its customers to an online scam involving fraudulent emails attempting to capture banking information.
“This is a courtesy email to inform you that there are fraudulent emails addressing themselves as Brighton-Best International in regards to a bank reconciliation audit,” the importer announced to customers.
“In the email, they ask to stop all payments to BBI and to update the banking info for BBI.  This email is not BBI.  Please note that all our emails would be from addresses ending with ‘’”
“If you do receive the email, please disregard that message.  Please do not reply to it, do not click any links or open any attachments.”
For information, contact the BBI accounting team.  Email:


Amid Pandemic, FDI Plunges in March
The seasonally adjusted March FDI (44.4) experienced a sharp contraction (February 53) “as the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdowns took hold over the latter half of the month,” R.W. Baird analyst David Manthey wrote.
The seasonally adjusted sales index mirrored the deceleration seen in the overall survey, decreasing to 34.6 from 54.9.
The seasonally adjusted Forward Looking Index decreased to 33.3 (February 48.9), registering a record low for the index amid the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
“This reflected a lower six-month outlook and employment levels that are below seasonal expectations,” Manthey wrote.   “Additionally, supply chain constraints continued to manifest as further respondents noted slower deliveries coming from suppliers.”
Hiring sentiment deteriorated during the month.


FTI Offers Free Training Webinar
The Fastener Training Institute will offer a free webinar on fastener failures on May 1 from 11am to 12:30 PT.
Co-produced by the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI), the 90-minute session will provide a brief review of common failure mechanisms that can occur with fasteners, followed by an overview of three real-world case studies covering overload, fatigue and hydrogen embrittlement.  The webinar will focus on using sound methodology and appropriate techniques for failure analysis.
The webinar is an extract from FTI’s Fastener Training Week.
Anyone in the fastener industry can participate, with those in product and applications engineering, technical sales and fastener testing encouraged.
Instructors are IFI Technical Director Salim Brahimi and IFI Director of Training Laurence Claus.
To register, visit


Grainger Taps $1 Billion of Credit
Grainger said it will draw down $1 billion of credit to boost its cash position amid market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Industrial Distribution reports.
“Our priority remains the health and safety of our team members and customers as we continue to navigate this uncertain period,” stated CEO DG Macpherson. “Grainger’s financial position is strong.  However, in an abundance of caution and as a proactive measure, we are taking prudent actions to increase our liquidity and financial flexibility.”
After the draw down, Grainger expects to have $1.5 billion cash on hand and $250 million of credit capacity.
“With the actions taken today, the company believes it will have sufficient liquidity to navigate through this period of heightened uncertainty,” Grainger added.
Grainger sales in 2019 totaled $11.5 billion.
The credit usage announcement comes four weeks after Grainger canceled its annual trade show.  Web:


Brighton-Best Co-Founder Perry Rosenstein Dies From COVID-19
Brighton-Best Socket Screw Mfg. co-founder Perry Rosenstein, 94, died April 3 from COVID-19, the New Jersey Globe reports.
His company, which he sold in 2008 to a consortium of Taiwanese investors led by Ta Chen International president Robert Shieh, became Brighton-Best International, the largest fastener importer in North America.
“Sad new for us old timers that had the privilege to know Perry,” stated Don Haggerty of Stelfast.
This is terrible news, especially for those of us at Brighton, added BBI president Jun Xu.  I can only say that we would not be where we are today without the work Perry put into BBSSMI.  It was an incredible platform to build off of.  We are humbled and proud to carry on a part of his legacy in the work we do everyday.
Rosenstein was born in the Bronx to Polish emigrants “who instilled in him a tremendous work ethic and a passion for social justice,” his website biography said.  He served in the South Pacific during World War II and and graduated from Indiana University, after which he earned a masters degree from Long Island University.
Rosenstein started his post-college career as a school teacher.
“The experience of learning to be a teacher” was excellent training for his career in fasteners, Rosenstein told in 2007.
His first fastener job was with Globe Bolt & Screw Co.  He then joined Stevens Socket Screw Co., which was later bought out by MSL Industries and became a part of Heads & Threads.  Rosenstein then became a VP of Heads & Threads.
Stanley Sevell and Rosenstein founded Best Socket Screw Co. in New York City in 1965.  Three years later they formed Brighton-Best Socket Screw when they acquired Brighton Screw Co. of Cincinnati and merged the names.  Brighton-Best grew to a major supplier of inch and metric hexagon alloy socket screws.
After retiring in 2008, Rosenstein gave even more attention to his foundations.  He told he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to support the arts in New York, New Jersey and Ohio.
“We support the arts – especially those by ‘people with beliefs, color or gender which are out of the mainstream.’”
In 1983, Rosenstein founded the Puffin Foundation, a Teaneck-based progressive non-profit that he self-funded to provide over 400 grants for the arts and culture.  He also created the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives, which preserved the history of Americans who fought against Franco and fascism, and started an awards program that recognized individuals and groups that impact human rights.  The Puffin Gallery for Social Activism is a permanent exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
Puffin reportedly provided $100,000 annually to the National Associates for a creative citizenship award.  Recipients included Reverend Barber, Ben Jealous, Colin Kaepernick, the Parkland Students, and the Sunrise Movement.
Another Rosenstein favorite foundation, Teaneck Creek Conservancy, turned garbage dumps into parks or wetlands where birds return to nest.
His philanthropy was all a part of “giving back” from his successful career and in fighting global warming and pollution, he told
Click here to visit the Facebook page created by the Puffin Foundation to celebrate Rosenstein’s life.


Agrati CEO Identifies 1st Known Fastener COVID-19 Death
Agrati CEO Paolo Pozzi wrote that 44-year-old Pasquale Gallace of Agrati logistics in Italy died March 27, 2020, of COVID-19.  His father had died a few days earlier.
At that point, Italy had 12,428 deaths and 105,792 infections, Pozzi wrote.
Agrati formed a task force in January to guide the Italy-based company through the COVID-19 crisis.  Web:


Washer Repurposed As Mask Nose Band
Rome Fastener Corp. owner Howard Reiter has repurposed a steel washer to serve as a noseband on medical face masks, the Hartford Courant reports.
He said he’s shipped 150,000 in two days from the Connecticut-based company.
Rome Fastener’s work is part of a statewide effort by hundreds of manufacturers to make surgical gowns, face masks and other equipment and components to help stop the spread of the pandemic, according to the Courant.  Web:


Rotor Clip Expediting Products For Medical OEMs
Rotor Clip Co. is dedicating time and resources from engineering, supply chain, production, QA, and logistics to expedite parts to customers producing medical equipment such as ventilators or filtration systems.
OEMs and Tier 1 customers are using the expedited process.
 “During this crisis, Rotor Clip Company currently is open and has full manufacturing capability to support our customers with our full range of products,” stated co-president Craig Slass.  “We will put our full resources behind any customer producing components for essential medical devices needed to combat and treat the Coronavirus.”
In order to facilitate those needs, Rotor Clip has setup a specific webpage for those customers to start the expedited process.
Founded in 1957, New-Jersey-based Rotor Clip manufactures retaining rings and hose clamps.  Web: 


Böllhoff Braces For Surging Demand From Medical Sector
Böllhoff Group is preparing for a surge in fastener orders from medical supply companies, the company announced.
Germany-based Böllhoff supplies fasteners for hospital trolleys, beds and trays, all now in significant demand as goverments establish field hospitals in various locations.
“To cope with the demand, the company’s management says it has taken steps to ensure that it can provide continuity of supply to the manufacturers concerned,” Machinery reports.  “The company’s Rivnut, Amtec and Snaploc fasteners, used extensively for speedy and secure fastening into the aluminum sheet and section used so widely in trolleys, beds and trays,” are in high demand.
“Like everyone else at the moment, we remain keen to do our bit in whatever way we can” stated manager Clive Brown. “Our colleagues at plants in Willenhall and Germany, as well as the team here in Hull (producing Helicoil threaded inserts), are working flat-out to ensure that demand is met for this vital equipment.
“We all want to see the new hospitals operational in double quick time, and we remain indebted to our own suppliers and their staff for keeping us supplied with the essential materials we need to make the fasteners.”
Böllhoff is a global fastener group with 45 companies at 36 locations in 24 countries.  Web:


BBI USA Adds Plexiglass To Will-Call Counter
“The BBI warehouses added safe guards, plexiglass to the will call for the safety of the drivers and employees.” #SafetyFirst #COVID19 #brightonbest #bbi

FINdex Plummets Amid Pandemic
Reversing strong results in 2019, the FIN Fastener Stock Index fell 30.3% in the opening quarter of 2020, compared to a 22.4% drop in value for an index of related industrial stocks.
U.S. stocks dropped sharply in the first three months of the year as worries about the global coronavirus pandemic and its impact on businesses and the economy grew, CNN reports.  The Dow recorded its worst start to a year in history, down 23.2% for the quarter.|
The FINdex gained 33.7% in 2019, besting a 24.4% increase by an index of related industrial stocks.
No publicly traded fastener companies increased their stock value during Q1.
Fastener companies losing 30% or more in value during Q1 included Arconic (down 47.8%); ITW (down 47.1%); Lawson Products (down 48.7%); MSC Industrial (down 30%); Nucor (down 36%); Park Ohio (down 43.8%); Stanley Black & Decker (down 39.6%); and Tree Island Steel (down 40%).
For the last decade of financial coverage, FIN Subscribers can visit the FIN Stock Review section of


Orbitform Building Sanitizing Machines for Medical Masks
Orbitform is re-purposing their facilities to produce sanitizing machines for medical masks, WKHM reports.
Owner Mike Shirkey said the Orbitform machine, which still requires testing before being put into production, will improve the use of the masks and help conserve inventory.
“The development of this sanitizing machine will not only prove valuable to the medical industry but helped give the Orbitform team a purpose during a difficult time,” WKHM reports.
Jackson, MI-based Orbitform designs and manufactures orbital forming riveting machines and forming, fastening and assembly automation equipment.  Web:


NEFDA Postpones Training
New England Fastener Distributors Association president Mike Lentini of Spirol International announced the April Fundamentals of Fasteners class has been postponed due to COVID-19 and will be rescheduled.
The deadline for scholarship applications remains May 15, 2020.  Web:


Stanley: No Pac-West Events Pending Pandemic
Pacific-West Fastener Association president Ron Stanley announced there would be no events pending the COVID-19 situation. “We do not know when we will be able to get back to business as usual.”
Pac-West is providing COVID-19 information to members, including legal counsel on guidelines for “essential business” and a blog for members to share best practices in the current environment.  The information is available in the members section of


SFS Scaling Back Production
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to protect the health of its employees, SFS is temporarily adjusting its operations,” the company announced.
SFS is introducing short-time work at several sites, mostly in Europe and North America.
“This action is also being taken in response to the temporary production plant shutdowns or drastically reduced operations of several important customers.”
Switzerland-based SFS supplies the construction, automotive, electronics, aircraft, medical and other industries.  The company reports 10,231 employees at 80 worldwide locations.  Web:


BUMAX Supplying Ventilator Fasteners ‘At Cost’
Swedish stainless steel fastener manufacturer BUMAX has offered to provide ventilator manufacturers and all medical equipment OEMs with “at-cost premium fasteners for their devices.”
“We have already offered at-cost fasteners to companies manufacturing ‘basic’ breathing machines that can be rapidly produced on a large scale to cope with demand and save lives,” stated managing director Patrik Lundström Törnquist.  “This is an open offer to all companies around the world who are developing and producing ventilators and other critical medical equipment to deal with Covid-19.”
Premium fasteners play an important role in a range of critical applications.  BUMAX said it’s working to maintain the supply of its fasteners to ensure Covid-19 has minimal disruption on the global supply chain.
“We already maintain a large stock of our products that are ready for shipping – including both standard BUMAX products and some custom products,” explained Törnquist.  “We have also set up our production teams in Sweden to minimize the direct impacts of Covid-19 on our production.”  Web:


Bisco Industries Increasing Supply To Ventilator OEMs
Ventilator manufacturer orders for critical components have jumped more than 10-fold in quantity, according to Bisco Industries.
Ventilator manufacturers face three main issues:

  1. Demand is increasing at an extremely high pace
  2. Availability of raw materials for production
  3. Availability of staff to keep production running

Click here to read Bisco Industries’ blog on their supply efforts.


Bufab Executives Take Pay Cut
Bufab’s CEO and other management members implemented a voluntary 10% reduction in salary to cut costs during the pandemic, the company reported.  Many subsidiary managing directors and other senior managers have followed this example.
“Bufab’s primary concern is keeping our staff and partners healthy and safe,” stated CEO Jörgen Rosengren.  “We will then focus on continued uninterrupted supply to all customers worldwide.”
Bufab said it expects sales and orders to be impacted “at least during April, and it is currently difficult to say how long it will last.”
“Most subsidiaries are already implementing short-time work schemes according to the rules in each country.  This will make it possible to reduce cost to meet a potential fall in demand.”
In addition, the company is accelerating existing cost savings programs and the board has suspended dividends.  Web:


Fastener Fair France Postponed
The 2nd Fastener Fair France has been postponed from its May 2020 schedule due to the COVID-19 escalation.  A new date has not been announced.
Nicola Hamann, managing director at Mack Brooks Exhibitions, said that “after many weeks closely monitoring the evolving situation around COVID-19 and the notices issued by the World Health Organisation as well as the French Government and in close coordination with all partners involved, we have decided to postpone the exhibition.”
The FFF team will work with the venue, Paris Expo – Porte de Versailles, customers and partners over the coming weeks to find new dates.  Web:


CBP Drops Plan To Delay Tariff Payments
Bowing to pressure from domestic producers, the Trump administration rescinded its proposal to allow importers more time to pay tariffs during the coronavirus pandemic, Law360 reports.
“Just six days after CBP told importers it would consider delaying tariff payments on a case-by-case basis, the agency issued a new bulletin to ‘notify the trade community that CBP is no longer accepting requests for additional days for payment,’” writes Alex Lawson of Law360.
Any owed duties that were not paid in the wake of CBP’s initial tariff delay reportedly will be due to the agency by March 27.
On March 20, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued communication #42097586 through the Cargo Systems Messaging Service noting that CBP will grant on a “case by case basis additional days for payment of estimated duties, taxes and fees due to this emergency.”
The CBP notification further indicated that a more comprehensive, longer-term policy may be forthcoming through the CSMS.  However, the notice doesn’t specify how long any reprieve from tariff payment would last.
U.S. steel producers were quick to reject the policy shift.
“Any efforts to delay or reduce the collection of duties on unfairly-traded steel imports or imports that threaten to impair U.S. national and economic security will ultimately hurt U.S. workers and businesses during this unprecedented moment,” the American Iron and Steel Institute and other domestic producers stated in a March 24 letter to CBP.
Trump has publicly dismissed the idea of tariff reduction as part of his coronavirus strategy, while White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has floated an executive order that will strengthen “Buy American” government procurement rules for drugs and medical devices as a means of reducing the government’s reliance on imports.
President Donald Trump’s original duty on fasteners from China was applied in September 2018.  Trump imposed 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports six months earlier. 


Guangdong Province Boosts Tax Rebate To Support Chinese Producers
On March 20, the South China province of Guangdong increased tax rebate rates for more than 1,000 types of exports, Xinhua News Agency reports.
“The administration lifted the export tax rebate rate for 1,084 categories of exports including porcelain sanitary wares, new plastics, knives and scissors, construction accessories and auto parts from 10 percent to 13 percent, that for another 380 items such as plant growth regulators to 9 percent, and that for agricultural products and fresh meat products from 6 percent to 9 percent,” according to Xinhua.
The rebate adjustments are projected to contribute 1.31 billion yuan (US185.5 million) of export tax exemption funds to 12,000 enterprises in Guangdong.
The tax rebate adjustments cover US$6.17 billion worth of export commodities for Guangdong producers hurt by shrinking demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, Xinhua reports.


Beaulieu: Economic Trend Ahead Not a Great Recession Redux
Several states have issued shelter-in-home orders and shut down “nonessential” businesses.
“This is going to contribute to a wave of layoffs and create a level of uncertainty that we had not adequately built into the forecast you saw ITR Economics present last week,” stated CEO and economist Brian Beaulieu.
“This is not turning into a redux of the Great Recession. News accounts advocating that the world is teetering on the brink of a Great Depression are inflammatory at best.”

The changes:

  • We have universally lowered the outlook for 2Q20.
  • We are building into our GDP and US Total Industrial Production forecasts a 3Q20 low in the quarterly data. Their 12/12 rate-of-change and 12MMA lows will occur in early 2021.
  • Retail Sales are now expected to slip below the year-earlier level through the remainder of 2020.

The constants:

  • The trend ahead of us is not a redux of the Great Recession.
  • The downturn remains relatively normal in duration.
  • A recovery trend is probable for 2021.
  • Not all businesses will be impacted the same way and/or on the same timeline.
  • The size of the monetary and fiscal policy stimuli will no doubt help.

“The orders to shut down businesses and the shelter-in-home mandates will likely be debated for a long time. The reasonableness of these actions will forever be a function of your perspective. A debate at this time is moot. It is incumbent upon business leaders to work the plan to not only navigate the near-term decline, but also position their businesses for maximum performance in the next rising trend.” Web:


NORMA Group CEO Receiving Treatment For COVID-19
NORMA Group CEO Michael Schneider “is currently receiving medical treatment for the respiratory disease COVID-19 due to a coronavirus infection,” the company announced.  “He will not be able to perform his tasks for the time being.”
NORMA Group has initiated measures to protect its employees and is in discussions with the health authority regarding further steps.
COO Friedrich Klein is temporarily assuming Schneider’s tasks, supported by an international management team who have been working from home for more than a week.
“We wish Dr. Michael Schneider all the best and a quick recovery,” stated Klein. “Thanks to the excellent support of the management team and the close cooperation with the Supervisory Board, I am confident that together we can cope with this difficult situation.”
Several weeks ago, NORMA Group established teams at the global, regional and local levels to respond to further developments in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and regional and local authorities. In addition to preventive measures and guidelines, such as travel restrictions and hygiene measures, emergency plans are being implemented.
NORMA Group will announce its final results for 2019 this Wednesday, March 25.
“The impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 financial figures has yet to be determined.  They are expected to be below the latest known market expectations.”
Germany-based NORMA Group manufactures joining products in three categories (clamp, connect and fluid) and offers more than 35,000 products to 10,000 customers in 100 countries. Web:


Supply Chain Update From Earnest Machine
“As everyone in the fastener industry has been watching the news, questions may have risen regarding the health of the supply chain. In an ongoing effort to be transparent with our customers, we want to share any updates we have:”

“Earnest’s primary inbound port is in California at Los Angeles/Long Beach. As you may already be aware, California’s governor issued a mandate for all California residents to remain in their homes. However, under the Essential Business Clause, key businesses and services deemed essential are still functioning, which includes the port. Our freight forwarder has and will continue to advise us on any change in status to the port.”

“Unbrako’s Distribution Center is located in Los Angeles, California. However, Unbrako USA also falls under the Essential Business Clause and is open today. They are able to ship and freight companies are still functioning.
Earnest Machine provides a weekly inventory report on the products available in our DCs as well as what’s available in Unbrako’s LA location. This email is distributed on Mondays. If you would like to sign up to receive these reports, click here. ”

US/Canada Border
“You may have seen articles circulating regarding the US/Canada border closing. This is in regards to non-essential business. Cargo is still moving across the border although we should expect some delays due to congestion. This will apply to shipments arriving from Asia through Port Rupert in British Columbia and orders we are shipping to Canadian customers. Know that delivery could be delayed. Our freight forwarder has reported some confusion and congestion at the borders.”

“Most recently the State of Pennsylvania closed all non-essential business. Our third party logistics provider is located in Pittsburgh, but has fortunately moved to a full work from home scenario in anticipation of this change. They are FULLY functioning and directing freight as needed and they are available via phone and email.
At present, this bodes well for our overall supply chain, but please be aware this situation is fluid and is subject to change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”


Fastener Companies Continue To Operate As ‘Essential’ Businesses
Advance Components: “All our operations will remain open and we will continue to ship to our customers who are supplying, producing or distributing to many of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors ‘whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.’  (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Presidential Policy Directive 21, PPD-21).  These sectors include medical products, communications, critical manufacturing, energy, food and agriculture, information technology, transportation systems and water/wastewater systems and others.”

Abbot Interfast: “Abott Interfast is considered an ‘Essential Service’ manufacturer/supplier providing many products to critical industries, including but not limited to Medical, Food, Energy, Transportation, Water & Public Works, and Communication.  These industries are among others which are critical to maintaining the USA infrastructure and our economy.  Consequently, it is our responsibility and our plan to remain open during these trying times.”


MWFA: Illinois Governor Orders “Non-Essential Businesses Must Stop Operating”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay at home” executive order from March 21 through April 7.
The order states that “All non-essential businesses must stop operating.  All public and private gatherings are prohibited except for very limited purposes.  Places of public amusement, indoors and outdoors, shall be closed to the public.  All travel is prohibited unless for essential business or operations.”
The Mid-West Fastener Association responded to requests for definition of an “essential service company.”
MWFA cited the following section  of Pritzer’s executive order: Page 7, Section 12.t  of the Executive Order states: “Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”
MWFA noted companies “self-determine” if they are “essential.”  No permit is required from the state.
For a more in-depth explanation of essential critical industries you may refer to CISA website:


Fastener Fair USA Postponed to July
“After extensive internal and external consultation and monitoring of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Fastener Fair USA to July 13-15, 2020, at the Charlotte Convention Center.”
The third Fastener Fair USA was scheduled for May.
Show management also announced any money paid for the May trade show “will rollover for participation to the July 2020 edition.”
The show suggested participants modify hotels, flights and any other arrangements.  Multiple airlines have dropped change fees.
For more information, contact Fastener Fair USA.  Email:  Tel: 203 840-5652  Web:


STAFDA Webinar: Small Business & COVID-19
The Small Business Legislative Council presented a webinar for STAFDA members on March 24 on issues facing companies due to COVID-19.
The Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association is posting frequent updates online for members based on information from the SBLC, the National Association of Manufacturers and consultants CliftonLarsonAllen.  Web:
The one-hour webinar starting at 12:30pm Eastern time “will provide an overview of new and existing laws businesses need to navigate during this unprecedented time.”  There will be extended time for questions. STAFDA members were emailed information on registering.
SBLC provided STAFDA with information sheets for employers, facts for employees and a summary of the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which takes effect April 2, 2020.


U.S. Fastener Industry Sheltering In Place Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Industrial fastener companies in the U.S. have cut travel and limited face-to-face interactions with customers in an attempt to keep employees safe and minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Impending problems from the coronavirus beyond production include freight constraints on lifts or trucks.  There is also concern about lower inventories of raw materials and backlogs in the finishing process.

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