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New or improved fastening systems can accommodate engineering designs and shift the capabilities of fastening.

Lighter, thinner substrate materials including plastics and composites are being joined more often, in more industries, and in a wider variety of product assemblies. Although adhesives have traditionally been used for joining many types of plastics, suppliers are coming up with new fastening systems, or improving existing ones, to accommodate engineers’ lighter, thinner, and often smaller designs.

Adhesives or other types of chemical fastening won’t work for a design if it needs one or more mechanical fixing points, said Matthew Stevens, managing director of                         UK-based bigHead Bonding Fasteners. An example of one design that does need fixing points is a carbon fiber car chassis. “In that case, you also need an additional fixing point like a nut or something else bolted on to the head,” he said. “That’s what our bigHead fastener enables: it’s a fixing welded to a head. We’re actually finding that adhesive companies are coming to us because they know their customers need fasteners, specifically bonding fasteners.”

 With bonding fasteners, fixing is done with a specialist adhesive, placed either on the fastener or on the material's surface. When surface bonding materials like thin composites using bigHead's design shown here -- a fixing welded to a head -- adhesive flows through the holes, locking into position after cure. These fasteners are used extensively in cars from interior trim to carbon fiber body panels. (Source: bigHead Bonding Fasteners)

Read the full article: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=280699

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