5 Things to Know when Comparing Fastener Brands to Generic Alternatives
This year, we’ve discussed how the trademarked brand Keensert® is often available as a Mil-Spec or generic branded key-locking insert. We also reviewed how national brands of precision shoulder screws, such as Amatom, Concord, RAF and others are also offered by McMaster-Carr (tight tolerance series), MSC, Grainger and generically.
But how exactly do you determine which categories of fasteners cross to generic alternatives? This guide offers creative solutions including when to cross, and how to save money and reduce long lead times by using brand alternatives.
1. What is a functional equivalent when it comes to fasteners and precision components?
You can find hundreds of registered trademark-branded fasteners and components in the industrial marketplace. Much like brand-name pharmaceuticals such as Tylenol and Advil are available generically (as acetaminophen and ibuprofen), some brand name fasteners are also available as “generics,” “crosses,” “alternatives” or “functional equivalents.”
In the world of fasteners, a functional equivalent fastener is a part that is the same as the brand-name product in form, fit and function, including material and plating specifications.
2. How can I determine if I must use the brand name or if I can cross to a generic part?
Before you shop, check the bill of materials to see if it specifically calls out a particular brand name along with the part number. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use a functional equivalent.
Use this handy 4 point checklist as your guide:
- Does your bill of materials specifically call for the OEM brand-name fastener or component?
- Can you live with the lead time or will having parts sooner improve delivery of the final product?
- Will your supplier provide a certificate of conformance?
- Will saving money help you be more competitive?
3. What categories of fasteners are available as generic or functional equivalents?
Popular categories include adhesives and sealants, anchors, bits and nutsetters, cage nuts, flex type lock nuts, handles, Keenserts, knurled thumb screws, nylon insert stop nuts, precision shoulder screws, retaining rings, rivets & blind threaded inserts, self-clinching, fasteners, spacers and standoffs, speed clips, spring nuts, weld nuts, weld studs, and woodworking screws.
4. What brands of fasteners should I consider crossing to their generic or functional equivalent?
3 STAR RIVETS USA, ABBATRON®, ALCOA, AMATOM®, APEX®, ARCONIC®, ATLAS®, AVDEL®, AVK®, B. F. GOODRICH, BOLLHOFF, BUCKEYE, CAPTIVE, CELUS®, CHERRY®, CONCORD, FASTENAL, GESIPA®, GRIPCO®, GLOBE ELECTRONICS, H. H. SMITH, HUCK, INDUX, INTERFAST, KEYSTONE, LOCTITE®, LYN-TRON, MACLEANESNA®, MARSON®, MCMASTER-CARR, MISUMI, MSC INDUSTRIAL, PEM®, PIC DESIGN®, POP®, POWERS®, QUICKSCREWS, RAF, RED HEAD®, ROTOR CLIP®, SHEREX, SIMPSON, SOUTHCO®, SPS TECHNOLOGIES, TINNERMAN®, U. S. ANCHOR. VIP, W. M. BERG, W. W. GRAINGER, WALDES TRUARC®.
5. What are the advantages of using functional equivalents?
Brand names are great, and when they are in stock, available and required by your customer, then you can buy them with confidence in their quality. However, one surefire way to save money and shorten delivery time is to cross the OEM brand part on your bill of materials to a functional equivalent.
Supplying a full range of fastener products and services, MF Supply is an authorized distributor of Amatom/Carey, Captive (Pem equivalent), Chrislynn Inserts, Concord, EZ-Lok, Lok-mor, Lyn-tron, Microplastics, Shear-loc, S&M Retaining Rings, and Unicorp, as well as a distribution partner for many others. We have an expertise in dowel pins, inserts and Keenserts and domestic and Mil-Spec products.
We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing long lead times. Check out our recent case study where a functional equivalent was substituted for an OEM brand, reducing costs by 37% and shaving lead time. This time and money savings gave the manufacturer an advantage over their competition, which helped them win the job.
For more detailed information about brands we commonly cross, visit our website. And if you don’t see it listed, as always, ask us. “Finding the right screw for you” is our tag line after all!
MF Supply is a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of precision fasteners and electronic components, specializing in precision hardware including precision shoulder screws. For more than 40 years, we have been supplying manufacturers in the electronics, industrial, commercial, aerospace and military markets with the full range of fastener products and services.