Buyer’s Guide to Mil-Spec Fasteners

MS24693C

7 things you need to know

If you sell to the military either directly or indirectly, then you are probably familiar with Mil-spec fasteners. But, what exactly are they and what should you know before buying them? We’d like to help you out with this Seven point buyer’s guide.

  1. What does Mil-spec mean anyway?

Mil-spec or MIL-STD, is the informal name for the military standard the U.S. Department of Defense uses in the production of military equipment. Critical fasteners and components used in the production, repair and maintenance of this equipment are classified as “Mil-spec” fasteners. These parts are usually designated by an AN, MS, NAS or NASM prefix followed by a part number (i.e. MS24693C-4). Each of these prefixes is an abbreviation: for example: NAS stands for National Aerospace Standard and MS stands for Military Standard.

  1. What’s the difference between Mil-spec and commercial fasteners?

Mil-spec fasteners look a lot like their civilian cousins, but these little guys are made to a specific standard that defines in detail, the screw’s attributes, including: dimensions, tensile strength, hardness, threads, drive type, material qualities and plating, just to name a few. Mil-spec fasteners are even traceable by lot to designated manufacturers. The government maintains a list of factories that are qualified to manufacture and distribute Mil-spec fasteners. These suppliers have met all the government’s requirements and pass the highest quality control standards. This designation is called Qualified Suppliers List for Manufacturer’s [QSLM]. Commercial fasteners are not held to such specific and exacting standards.

  1. Who uses Mil-Spec Fasteners?

Mil-spec fasteners are used by anyone manufacturing or servicing military equipment. How do you know if your project requires Mil-spec parts? Often, the bill of materials (BOM) calls for specific Mil-spec grade fasteners in accordance with a part number, drawing, NIIN or NSN or procurement requirement. Some of the most common uses of Mil-spec fasteners include aerospace and naval vessels.

  1. Do Mil-Spec fasteners have different features and standards than commercial fasteners?

Mil-spec parts are manufactured and tested to strict military standards ensure performance and reliability. In general, commercial fasteners will not have the same exacting quality standards. Let’s look at a specific example and compare the Mil-Spec MS24693-C4, which is a 4-40 x 3/8 Phillips Flat 100 degree Machine screws in 300 series stainless steel, to its commercial cousin.

Features of the MS24693C-4:

  • ­  Manufactured in an QLSM approved factory
  • ­  Made/melted in the USA or other DFARs* approved country
  • ­  Materials to procurement spec FF-S-92, SAE AIR 4127
  • ­  Cleaned, descaled, passivated to AMS-QQ-P-35; AMS 2700
  • ­  Dimensions, tensile, hardness, threads, recess, head marking to AN, MS, NAS, NASM standard
  • ­   Magnetic permeability to test specs ASTM A342
  • ­  Quality Assurance to procurement spec FF-S-92 MIL-STD 1312
  • ­  Inspection system requirements per Mil-I-45208
  • ­  Full lot traceability, manufacturer’s certification and chemical and physical certification
  • ­  Available in diameters from #0 through 1/4 inch in coarse and fine thread and various lengths

 

Features of a 4-40 x 3/8 Commercial Phillips Flat 100 degree Machine screws in 18-8 series stainless steel:

  • ­ Manufactured per ASME B18.6.3-2002
  • ­ Thread dimensions to ASME B1.1

 

As you can see, the Mil-spec version is held to a higher and more exacting level of quality and testing than the commercial version. As such, the Mil-spec parts are cleaned and passivated, and tested for magnetic permeability, whereas the commercial parts are not.

 

5.   What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance (COC) or a record affirming a fastener has met the requirements of the relevant specification, contract or regulation is sufficient for Mil-Spec fasteners. Full certifications, which include the part name, part description, date of manufacture, lot number, chemical composition of material, and treatment of material including plating or passivation, and material test reports, are often available for a fee. It is critical to ask for the level of certification (COC, full material certs, passivation certs, etc) in advance in order to have the most efficient buying experience.

6. Are there other factors to consider when procuring Mil-spec fasteners?

Great question! Almost a decade ago, the term “DFARS Compliant Material” came to the forefront for companies supplying parts and services to the government. The original Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause 252.225-7014 specified “A Preference for Domestic Specialty Metals.” What that means in our world is that for fasteners to be DFARS compliant, the metal used to fabricate them must be melted or manufactured in the United States or a qualifying country.

Qualifying countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Important Note: DFARS only pertains to fasteners made from “specialty metals” including: stainless steel, high alloy steel like Grade-BD, or Grade 5 Chromium steel with high chromium content.

To keep up to date with DFARs requirements, visit www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfarspgi/current/index.html

  1. Where can I find a list of Mil-spec fasteners and specs?

The Defense Logistics agency is a great resource. They maintain a comprehensive database of specifications and drawings. They also maintain a catalog of hardware that includes NIINs and NSNs that sometimes called out in a bill of materials. Check out the following links for more comprehensive information regarding hardware:

http://www.dla.mil/TroopSupport/IndustrialHardware/  – to view catalogs of mil-spec parts and specs by category

http://quicksearch.dla.mil/qsSearch.aspx   – To look up a specific part

http://www.mfsupply.com/mil-spec-fasteners-s/1823.htm – To see MF Supply’s Mil-Spec fastener stock

http://www.mfsupply.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/MFSUPPLY_MILITARY.pdf – To download MF Supply’s Mil-spec line card

 

For more detailed information about Mil-Spec parts, to request a Mil-Spec Line Card or to send an RFQ, visit our website. And if you don’t see what you need listed, as always, ask us. “Finding the right screw for you” is our tag line after all!

Contact me at robin@mfsupply.com with your questions, comments or helpful hints!


Standoffs and Spacers Buyer’s Guide

standoffs and spacers mf supply

7 things you need to know

According to the dictionary, a standoff is defined as “a stalemate or a deadlock between two equally matched opponents and a spacer is a piece of material used to maintain space between 2 things.   In the world of precision manufacturing, standoffs and spacers are mechanical components that are used the create space or join parts together, typically in PC boards.  Below are 7 things to know to have the most efficient buying process.

  1. What are spacers and standoffs?

Often classified as Electronic or Panel Hardware, Standoffs and Spacers are commonly used to mechanically support and electrically connect and position components within assemblies, typically in PC boards and instrument panels.

  1. What’s the difference between a standoff and a spacer?

Both standoffs and spacers have a hex or round shaped body, and 2 openings.  The main difference is that spacers are unthreaded with an inside clearance hole, and standoffs are threaded on both ends.  Threads may be male (external) r female (internal).

  1. Who uses standoffs and spacers?

Look inside an assembled circuit board, and you will be greeted by a bevy of Standoffs and Spacers, because in the world of Electronic Hardware, they are the standard for connecting and mounting circuit boards, panels, doors, and gears. Both are commonly used to properly position parts within an assembly, to reduce component contact, to elevate stacked sections, to ensure enough room for heat to dissipate, and to separate or create space between two objects. These guys are workhorses!

  1. What materials and platings are available?

Common materials include aluminum, brass, plastic/nylon and stainless steel. Common platings include clear anodized, nickel, gold iridite and zinc plated. There are over 20 common platings available! Here is a guide to most common materials:

  • Aluminumis popular because of its ratio of weight to strength. It is light, non-magnetic, performs well in severe temperatures, and has insulating properties.
  • Brassis used in making high-quality standoffs. It is conductive, resists corrosion, and is non-magnetic. It is costlier and heavier than aluminum and is usually plated zinc or nickel.
  • 18-8 Stainless Steelis strong, conductive, nonmagnetic and offers excellent corrosion resistance.
  • Nylon 6/6is superlight, nonconductive, and resistant to chemicals and solvents.

316 stainless steel, alloy and other exotic materials, and special diameters and lengths are available in certain sizes and/or for special order and usually involve a lead time.

  1. What sizes are available off the shelf?

Standard stock sizes run from 3/16 – 1/2 body diameter, 1/4 to 2” long with threads starting at 2-56 running through 1/4-20 and clearance holes ranging from #2 though 1/4”. Metric stock sizes run from M3.5-M6 body diameter with M2.5, M3 and M4 threads.  Remember, the lengths and threads available depend upon the diameter of the body and not all size configurations will be available.

As always, special lengths and sizes are available – just ask!

  1. What information should I provide to get an accurate quote?

The easiest way to order is by manufacturer part number.  If you don’t have one, you’ll need to specify body diameter, body shape (hex or round), body length, thread size & gender (male or female), material and plating.  For example, a popular standoff size is a 1/4 hex x 1/2 Long x 10-32 male Standoff in Stainless Steel.

  1. Are there other factors to consider?

YES! 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.  Popular brands include: Amatom, Concord, Globe, H.H. Smith, Lyn-tron, Microplastics, Keystone, Pem, RAF, Unicorp.

Finally, standoffs and spacers sometimes show up under their Mil-spec numbers, which can be crossed to commercial equivalents. Some common Mil-spec series include NAS42, NAS43, NAS61, NAS1056, NAS1057, NAS1829, NAS1831. Where applicable, these Mil-spec parts will be DFAR compliant with full paperwork.

Contact me at robin@mfsupply.com with your questions, comments or helpful hints!


Buyer’s Guide to Ordering Custom or Reworked Parts per Print

Custom made fasteners

4 Things you need to know

when buying

Custom Made & Special Fasteners

Precision manufacturers and OEMs regularly use custom or designed and engineered-in fasteners and machined parts in the manufacturing process. These “per print” parts may be for a prototype of a new product, a replacement of an existing part, or for a large-scale production run. No matter the reason, this guide will help simplify your process for procuring quotes and ordering custom parts.

1) What are custom parts “per print”?

Fasteners and components that are non-standard and not commercially available and must be manufactured to a print or a drawing are considered “per print” fasteners. Although you’ll find thousands of variations of fasteners, the most common reasons to custom make a part include: a need for an unusual diameter or in-between length, an uncommon material or plating, or a special head size or drive type. For example, an M6 x 1.0 x 37 metric socket cap in A286 material would need to be custom made since the length and the material are nonstandard.

2) What information should I provide to get an accurate quote?
For the most accurate quotes, provide the following six pieces of information:

  • A print with dimensional and tolerance requirements
  • Details of the material and plating specification
  • Quantity levels including EAU for possible price breaks
  • Paperwork needs, which might include: Certificate of conformance, material test report, ROHS or DFAR requirements, domestic or country of origin, first article or PPAP
  • Delivery needs, including desired deliver by date
  • A price target if you have one

If you have any special labeling or bagging requirements, include that information on your RFQ as well.

3) What are reworked parts and how are they different from per print parts?
Reworking parts usually involves taking a commercially available screw and performing a secondary service, that is, removing or adding something to the screw. Common secondary services include, broaching a drive socket into a screw product, slotting a fastener head, adding grooves, special threads, trimming, cutting, drilling or captivating a fastener. Adding special platings, heat treatments, patches, pellets and other locking elements are also considered secondary processes. The majority of “per print” parts involve a secondary service, hence they are manufactured in several steps usually involving several different factories.

4) Are there other factors to consider when selecting a vendor for per print and reworked parts?
We suggest you work with a vendor experienced with established ISO certified factories that specialize in the specific category of part you need. An experienced vendor can help identify the factory best suited for your requirements, and they can compare quotes from their top sources domestically and abroad. The benefits to working with an experienced fastener supplier include:
• One point of contact
• One bill to pay
• Quality control of multiple factories and secondary services
• Stock and release options

And many other benefits that mean you get the right part fast and accurately.

For more detailed information about custom made parts, visit our website. And if you don’t see what you need listed, as always, ask us. “Finding the right screw for you” is our tag line after all!


For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance.

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

MF Supply is a leading supplier of custom parts per-print specializing in the following categories of specials, custom, and reworked hardware: socket products, aero-space and mil-spec parts, tamperproof, electronic, spacers and standoffs, washers, nuts and thread-forming fasteners.

Follow our blog at http://blog.mfsupply.com/

To request a Custom Quote, email yout print to sales@mfsupply.com

 

 

 


Socket Head Cap Screw Buyer’s Guide

7 Things to Know When Buying Socket Head Cap Screws

Socket head cap screws or socket caps, have become the standard among high-strength fasteners needed to withstand the faster speeds and higher pressure of today’s machines, instruments and assemblies.

Also known as their trademarked name, “Allen” screws, these fasteners are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, tooling and fixtures, machinery, military and many more. Common uses include machine parts, die fixtures and assemblies.

1. What is a Socket Head Cap Screw? 

Socket caps are externally threaded cap screws with a cylindrical head with a flat chamfered top and a hexagonal recess for internal wrenching. Hence, socket caps need less space than alternative fasteners.

Whereas nearly 90% of all commercial and industrial fasteners have a 2A fit, which offers a combination of performance, economy, and convenience, socket products generally have a 3A thread fit. 3A threads have restrictive tolerances often used where safety is a critical design consideration.

Because of their efficient design and thread fit, socket cap screws are ideal for precision assembly work with close tolerances and applications that need a well-tooled appearance.

2. What sizes are available?

Commercial socket caps, which conform to ASME B18.3, are available off the shelf in inch sizes starting as small as 0-80 diameter and are commonly available to diameter 1-1/2-6. Metric socket caps, which conform to DIN 912, are available from M1.4 – M48 diameter and are most common in coarse thread. Screw lengths and thread lengths are related to the diameter of the screws and all lengths may not be available in all materials and styles.

3. What materials and platings are available?

“Steel” socket caps off the shelf are alloy steel black oxide through heat treatment and are generally oiled. Stainless steel grades 18-8/303, A2, 316 and A4 are also commonly available. Other exotic materials such as brass, 416, A286 or special finishes may be available for special order with a lead time.

If you need an alloy steel fastener, but require greater corrosion resistance or a different look than black, consider stainless steel or zinc plating.

4. Are there special considerations when plating socket head cap screws?

We are so glad that you asked! If you are considering zinc plated socket caps, proceed with caution! Because of their tight tolerances and 3A fit, zinc plating a socket cap will often change the thread fit to a commercial nut fit. If you need a 3A fit, you must specify that on your purchase order so the factory can meet your thread fit needs when creating and plating your screws.

5. Other than size, material and plating, what other options are available?

The other main considerations when selecting socket caps are the head style and the drive type.

There are four main available head styles, and each serves a slightly different purpose.

  • Standard Head – The standard in socket head cap screws (ASTM A574, F835, DIN912)
  • Low Head – Use in parts too thin for standard height heads and where clearance is limited (DIN7984)
  • Flat Head– Countersunk heads at 82 degrees provide maximum flushness and side wall contact (ASTM F835, F879, DIN7991)
  • Button Head – For use in materials too thin to countersink (ASTM F835, F879, DIN7380)

Most socket caps come with a standard hexagonal socket drive. Other options include security pin-in-hex, pin-in-torx, or six-lobe torx versions in certain sizes and materials.

6. Are there other factors to consider?

We’ve covered the most common variables including head style, diameter and thread, length, material and plating or finish. Here are a few of the other considerations you might be faced with based on the project and the bill of materials:

  • Do you need domestic parts or will imported screws work?
  • Do you require parts that conform to a specific mil-spec number, such as MS16995, MS16996, NAS1351 and NAS1352 with their exacting tolerances and traceability, or will standard commercial parts work?
  • Does your bill of materials calls out a specific manufacturer, such as Holo-krome or Blue Devil?

7. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient for your customer. Full certification with material certs, DFARS certification and test reports are often available for USA-made and mil-spec parts for a fee.

Socket Head Cap Screws Available at MF Supply

MF Supply is a leading supplier of Socket Head Cap Screws in alloy and stainless steel, including the brands Holo-krome and Blue Devil. We offer functional equivalents to the most popular national brands such as Fastenal, McMaster-Carr, MSC Industrial and Grainger.

Here at MF Supply, we offer:

  • The full range of commercial and mil-spec parts, including parts that are DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Brand names, generic equivalents, domestic and import.
  • Custom made parts per print in non-standard and exotic materials and finishes.
  • Inch and Metric sizes.
  • Stainless steel in 18-8, 316, A286, A2 and A4 (ASTM F837, F879).
  • Mil-spec MS16995, MS16996, NAS1351 and NAS1352.

For more detailed information about socket head cap screws, 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!

For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance.

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

Follow our blog at http://blog.mfsupply.com/


Buyer’s Guide for Using Functional Equivalents to OEM Brands

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?

A sample list of brands that have generic alternatives: 

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.

Brands and Functional Equivalents at MF Supply

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.


Precision Shoulder Screws Buyer’s Guide

5 Things to Know When Buying Precision Shoulder Screws

 

Just as Dowel Pins and Retaining Rings are used to locate or hold parts together within a precision assembly or a fixture, so are Precision Shoulder Screws. Yet shoulder screws are far more versatile. When installed, the unthreaded shoulder acts as a shaft for rotating items such as bearings and bushings, precision spacing, machinery support, and motion guiding. The exacting tolerance of Precision Shoulder Screws makes them ideal for use with other precision components. They are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, tooling and fixtures, machinery, military and many more.

Our goal is to make the buying process easier. This guide offers creative solutions to help you save money and reduce long lead times by educating you on your options, including how to use brand alternatives.

  1. What is a Precision Shoulder Screw? 

Precision Shoulder Screws are generally classified as part of the electronic hardware family. They resemble socket cap screws with an enlarged, unthreaded cylindrical shoulder under the head, and are used to hold parts together within a precision assembly.  Sometimes referred to as “tight tolerance” shoulder screws, they are not governed by any official ANSI or ASME standard.

Precision shoulder screws are composed of three main parts: the head, the shoulder and the thread.

  1. What materials and sizes are available?

Precision Shoulder Screws are readily available off the shelf in type 18-8/303 stainless steel and 416 stainless steel.

Standard stock sizes for the shoulder diameter are Inch from 1/8 to 1/2 and Metric from M4 to M12. The thread class is 2A and the tolerance on the shoulder diameter varies from +.000/-.001 to -.0005 to -.0015 depending upon the manufacturer. Now that’s precise!

316 stainless steel, alloy and other exotic materials, and special diameters and lengths are available in certain sizes and/or for special order and usually involve a lead time.

  1. What information do I need for ordering?

The easiest way to order is by manufacturer part number. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to specify shoulder diameter, shoulder length, thread size, material and drive type; for example: 3/16” shoulder diameter x 1” long x 8-32 thread in SS18-8 with a hex-socket drive.

Precision shoulder screws are available in hex socket and slotted drives. Philips, torx and star drives may be available in certain sizes as well.

Typical head styles are a modified fillister with a flat top where the head diameter is about twice the head height and does not need to be specified. Low head fillisters are available in certain sizes.

  1. Are there other factors to consider?

YES! 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.

Popular brands include: Amatom, Cambion, Concord, Globe, HH Smith, Keystone, Lyn-tron, Misumi, Pic Design, RAF, and WM Berg. A comprehensive selection of Precision Shoulder Screws is also offered by McMaster-Carr (tight tolerance series), MSC, and Grainger.

Let’s take the above example of a 3/16” shoulder diameter x 1” long x 8-32 thread in SS18-8 (300 Series) with a hex-socket drive.  This part is offered by the seven brands (yes, seven!) listed below under the following part numbers:

  • Grainger 6JY20
  • Lyn-tron SS7431-00
  • McMaster-Carr 94035A208
  • MSC Industrial 67313726
  • Pic Design 4423
  • RAF 6931-SS
  • WM Berg PZ-14-3

You can also find Precision Shoulder Screws under their Mil-Spec numbers, which include MS51575 and MS51576 and are DFARS compliant with full paperwork. The above part is equivalent to a Mil-Spec MS51576-14.

  1. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient for your customer. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for USA-made and Mil-Spec parts for a fee.

Precision Shoulder Screws at MF Supply

We offer:

  • The full range of commercial and Mil-Spec parts, including parts that are DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Brand names and generic equivalents.
  • Custom made parts per print in non-standard and exotic materials and finishes.
  • Inch and metric sizes.

For more detailed information about Precision Shoulder Screws, 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!

For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance. 

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

Follow our blog at http://blog.mfsupply.com/


Dowel Pin Buyer’s Guide

dowel pin

 8 Things to Know When Buying Dowel Pins

If you are a manufacturer working with complex assemblies or fixtures, then you’re likely very familiar with precision dowel pins. Commonly used as a hinge, shaft or pivot to locate or hold assembled parts together, dowel pins can withstand frequent insertion and removal without distortion. They are broadly used across various applications in many industries, including: aerospace, electrical motors, hydraulic equipment, instrumentation, tooling and fixtures, machinery, military and many more.

Our goal is to help simplify the buying process for this sometimes complex and confusing category of fasteners.

1. What is a precision dowel pin? 

Dowel pins are solid, headless cylindrical shaped straight metal pins with a centerless ground finish. Manufactured to precise fractional diameters and lengths, dowel pins come in a variety of sizes, styles, designs and materials. This variability can cause confusion among buyers, engineers and end-users alike.

2. What materials and platings are available?

Precision dowel pins are available off the shelf in alloy steel (typically hardened) and stainless steel grades 18-8/303, 316 and 416 (typically hardened). Other exotic materials or special finishes are available for special order with a lead time.

3. What sizes are available?

Standard sizes include inch from 1/16″ to 1″ diameter, and metric from M1 to M20 diameter. Length options vary by diameter. Other diameters and special lengths are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

4. When ordering, do I need to specify the dowel pin tolerance or call out attributes such as standard, undersized or oversized fit? 

Precision dowel pins often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, MS16555, MS16556 and Mil-P-21143. Metric dowel pins might show up under the following DINs and ISO numbers: DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734. Dowel pins might also show up under a manufacturer part number such as Pic, WM Berg, Unbrako or Holo-Krome. If you are ordering by MIL-SPEC, manufacturer’s part number or DIN, then the general attributes including tolerance and style are known. Here are a few of the other options that will help you order the correct pin:

The most common standard inch or imperial sized precision dowel pin is made to the ASME ANSI B18.8.2 spec and has a diameter tolerance of -0.00 / +0.0002 and length tolerance of +/-0.010. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter standard dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2502″.

The standard metric tolerance is related to the DIN. Both DIN 7 and DIN 6325 have a standard m6 diameter tolerance of +0.012mm / +0.004mm and a length tolerance related to the specific pin length.

Undersized series dowel pins are used for inconsistent holes. They have a basic diameter 0.0002″ under the nominal diameter. For example, a ¼” (0.25) diameter undersized dowel pin will have a diameter between 0.2500–0.2498″. The Mil-P-21143/2- falls into the undersized category.

Important note:  All pin options may not be available in all sizes and materials.

Finally, the Oversized series of dowel pins are usually used to fit into worn holes and are generally used in the aftermarket for repairs. These pins are only available off the shelf in steel in a small range of sizes.

5. Can I specify if I need radius or chamfer on the pin ends?

The pin style will depend upon the spec and the material. Precision dowel pins may come with either a double chamfer or a radius on one end and a chamfer on the other end. Specific style requirements are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

6. What information do I need for ordering?

The easiest way to order is by either the manufacturer or MIL-SPEC part number. To order by description, you need the diameter, length and material and if applicable, and any special tolerance, plating or style requirements.

7. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

Just remember, no hammers! When installing dowel pins, never drive the pin into the hole with force. Always press it in for best results. And production favors pins since they require no extra fastening hardware for insertion, no secondary operations, and no mating parts. This ease-of-use adds up to speedier production, which makes everyone in the food chain happy!

8. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient for your customer. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for USA made and MIL-SPEC parts for a fee.

Dowel Pins at MF Supply

We offer:

  • The full range of commercial and MIL-SPEC parts, including parts that are USA made, DFARS and ROHS compliant.
  • Brand names and generic equivalents.
  • Custom-made parts per print in non-standard sizes and exotic materials and finishes.
  • Inch and metric sizes including ASME ANSI B18.8.2, DIN 7, DIN 6325, and ISO 2338 and 8734
  • Metric Precision Dowel pins including Press-Fit A, B and Slip-Fit C series and all MD series pins in 416 and 303 Stainless Steel.

For more than 40 years, MF Supply has helped American manufacturers streamline operations, saving them time and money with our sourcing expertise and unique supply chain strategies. We are a WBE/WOSB certified stocking distributor of fasteners and electronic components.

We work with the best-established factories in the United States and DFARS-certified countries, and stock a huge inventory including all major brands and equivalents. MF Supply provides solutions including: same-day drop ship direct from the factory; custom sizes, materials and plating options; and DFARS parts with full paperwork and Certificates of Conformance.

We creatively solve common problems including hard-to-find parts and long lead times. Our sourcing and reworking expertise includes fast turnaround for modification of existing parts, hard to find standards and specials, special threads, non-standard diameters and lengths, exotic materials, special platings and short runs. We provide functional equivalents to expensive brand name fasteners and help our customers save money while reducing lead times.

Follow our blog at http://blog.mfsupply.com/


Case Study: Smart Manufacturers use Brand Equivalents to Save Time and Money

Newsletter
Volume 20
March 7, 2017

In our January blog we discussed how Keylocking Inserts are often referred to by their trademarked brand name Keensert®.  The Keensert® is not alone! Did you know that many brand name OEM fastening products and components can be crossed to a generic alternative equivalent product?

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out a particular brand name. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use a functional alternative or equivalent.   Using equivalents and alternatives to OEM brand names can be a smart way to reduce long lead times and/or cut expenses.

Check out this Case Study where an OEM brand was substituted with a functional equivalent, 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.

Little Known Ways to Save 37% and Shorten Delivery Times
 
ISSUE
Display Manufacturer is bidding on a job where the bill of materials calls for 15,000 pieces of an 8-32 x .312 brass insert by SPIROL®. SPIROL® has 265 local stock, 5000 due in 10 days, balance in 4-5 weeks. Based on this delivery schedule, the Display Manufacturer cannot meet their prospective client’s two week delivery requirement.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION
MF Supply gets a print of the part from SPIROL® and is able to cross it to an exact functional equivalent for an alternative brand we distribute and our factory has in stock. Samples of the alternative fasteners are delivered directly to the customer within 24 hours for inspection and testing.

The alternative sample fasteners are approved for production by the Display Manufacturer within 2 days. The prospective client approves the substitution and awards the manufacturer the business.  A Purchase Order for the inserts is issued to MF Supply. Within 48 hours, the complete 15,000 inserts are available from the factory and delivered to the Display Manufacturer.

TIME SAVINGS
-MF Supply functional equivalent fasteners shorten delivery time from 4-5 weeks to 2-3 days.

COST SAVINGS
-SPIROL® Price = .11938 each. Total cost $1790.
-MF equivalent price = .075 each. Total cost $1125.

SUMMARY / BENEFIT
-Cost savings of $665 or 37%.
-Display Manufacturer wins bid and is awarded job.
-Work is completed on time.
-Job is more profitable due to cost savings realized on fasteners.
-Job has been a repeater and a money maker for Display manufacturer.

In summary, if your bill of materials calls for an OEM brand fastener or component, find out if you must have the brand name product.  In cases where a generic or equivalent alternative part will work, there might be an opportunity to save money and shorten delivery time.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President
robin@mfsupply.com
973-777-5411


Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

5 Things You Need to Know

If you are a precision manufacturer working in high-torque and high-temperature situations, you might already be familiar with Keensert® key-locking inserts.  Common uses include thread repair applications or to provide thread durability in situations such as aerospace assemblies, electronic equipment and suspension units.

But, what exactly are they and what should you know before buying them? We’d like to help you out with this quick buyer’s guide.

  1. What is a Keensert®?

A Keensert® is a solid bushing style insert that is threaded on both the inside and the outside, and has wedges or “keys” attached at the top. They are generically called key-locking inserts, and are used to distribute loads and repair or strengthen threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion.

Although the name Keensert® is often used generically (like Band-Aid® or Kleenex®), Keensert®  is the registered trademark of Huck Patents (its close cousin, the Keysert® is a registered trademark of Alcoa Fastening Systems.).

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out Huck or Alcoa brand as the Keensert®  manufacturer. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use an alternative like Rock Solid brand, a generic equivalent or cross to a MIL-SPEC part.  This becomes important due to price and availability of the brand name parts.

  1. What materials and sizes are available?

Keenserts are available off the shelf in 303 stainless steel or carbon steel. Standard diameters are: American #6-32 to 1 ½” and Metric  M4 to M24. Other diameters (starting at 2-56 and M2) and materials (including 316 stainless steel, and alloys 4140 and A286) are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

  1. What information do I need for ordering?

To order, you’ll need the manufacturer’s part number or the internal and external thread and material. Alternatively, key-locking inserts often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, which can often be crossed to commercial equivalents. Common MIL-SPEC numbers include: MS51830, MS51831, MS51832, NAS1394, NAS1395, NA0146, NA0147, NA0148, NA0149, NA150, and NA0151.

  1. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

When purchasing key-locking inserts, check with your production department to make sure you have the tools you need to properly install inserts. You can buy kits that include a tap, drill, and installation tool.

  1. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for a fee.

In summary, in order to have the most efficient Keensert shopping/buying experience, be prepared with the following information before you shop:  Do you need the Alcoa or Huck brand product or can you use a generic or MIL-SPEC alternative?  Make sure to have the manufacturer’s part number, MIL-SPEC part number or the internal/external thread and material.  Do you need an installation tool? Finally, check to see if you require a standard COC or full certs.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President
robin@mfsupply.com
973-777-5411

 


March, April, May Newsletter 2016

Newsletter

Volume 18

May 18, 2016

March, April, May News

Greetings and Happy Spring!  Can you believe we are almost one third into 2016!  On the business front, although the March PMI® index rose to 51.8% up from 48.2% in January, the April PMI®  fell to 50.8%, and the outlook in manufacturing remains mixed.

April’s PMI®  highlights are that new orders and production is growing, employment and inventories are contracting, and supplier deliveries are faster.

In this issue, we will cover some of the amazing resources available to the manufacturing and supply chain community.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1.    SBA EMERGING LEADERS-RUTGERS CASE STUDY

2.    MANUFACTURING RESOURCE ROUNDUP

3.    WHAT THE HECK IS A CERTIFICATE OF CONFORMANCE?

4     MF SUPPLY JOINS DPA

5.    GOING LEAN?

SBA EMERGING LEADERS-RUTGERS CASE STUDY

April 27 was my final presentation from The RCG (Rutgers Business School Consulting Group).  I received a 30 page report with a few strong recommendations for growth. The RCG recommends that MF Supply expands our web site and offers ecommerce for our top products, starting yesterday.  They also projected that we will have the best ROI with email marketing rather than Social Media programs like Facebook and Twitter.

So we have begun reworking our website and you will start seeing more emails from us.  Please let us know what topics turn you on vs. what tunes you out.  Check out our newly edited  About Us section and let us know what you think.

How important is e-commerce for you and your company as a buyer and as a seller? Do you prefer to shop online or by emailing in your Purchase Orders?  And how about on the sales side?  Do your customers want to buy your products on-line?  Are your main competitors online?  All the industry experts say that industrial buyers are starting to expect their work buying experience to resemble their personal buying experience.  I am curious to know your thoughts.

Interesting note for anyone working with buyers with “Set Aside” or “Diverse” buying requirements (hint: think the government)  – the RCG hit a dead end while exploring leveraging MF Supply’s WOSB and WBE Certification as a differentiator.  Too bad – the certification process was a ton of paperwork!  If anyone out there is finding success differentiating yourself as a Small, Women, Minority, Veteran or other Disadvantaged business, I’d love to know how!

And, a big thank you to the SBA for connecting me to Rutgers and many other resources.

 

MANUFACTURERS RESOURCE ROUNDUP

NJMEP Programs – Since I last wrote, I’ve attended 2 NJMEP workshops on Lean and Six Sigma.  I highly recommend connecting with your state MEP.  We also hired experts from the NJMEP to lead the MF team through their Destination Innovation program.  Funded in part by the DOD, this program is intended to help companies in the Defense Department Supply chain grow in commercial sectors as DOD spending has decreased. They gave us tools to help define our unique value proposition and spur product innovation. One idea that came up was the concept of inventory planning for our customers.  I will be reaching out to you to gauge your interest in having MF Supply help you do inventory forecasting as a value added service.

Free Employee Training – Did you know there is free training available to your employees through state funded Workforce Development programs?  During the first 2 weeks in May, we sent Dave & Andy to Excel training at Bergen Community College in Paramus, compliments of the NJ taxpayers! Thanks everyone for helping us learn and grow! Email us to create a pivot table for you (just kidding!).  For more info about available programs in NJ, email Louisa Emirzian at lemirzian@bergen.edu.

Commerce and Industry Manufacturing Roundtable – On March 14, I participated in the CIANJ sponsored Manufacturing Roundtable at Triangle Manufacturing in Saddle River.  It’s a super cool facility that makes custom prosthetics and many other precision parts.  We learned that the State of NJ is developing workforce programs and making investments in the following industries: Advanced manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain.  Check out their Manufacturing Resource book for some great info.

Women in Manufacturing – A new chapter of WIM is being launched right here in New Jersey!  The first meeting was held at Sandvik Coromant on April 27th. If you know any women in manufacturing, please send them my way, I’d love to recruit them to join me and the growing NJ chapter.

Amazon in NJ – Amazon is opening 2 distribution centers right here in NJ and is planning to hire over 2000 people.  It’s not manufacturing, but it is logistics, which is a growth industry in NJ.  Very exciting!

What is Aerogistics? – Did you know that aerospace is growing and so are their logistic needs and supply chains? Hence, a new term: “Aerogistics” is coined.  Check out the amazing resources available through UPS that help inform on market trends and solutions in the aerospace logistics world.

WHAT THE HECK IS A COC?

Do you or your customers require a COC for your products?  Do you know if they are asking for a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Conformance?  In April we attended Webinar training from the Fastener Training Institute which clarified some of the most common concepts when it comes to Certifications, Test Reports and Lot Traceability. Here are a few definitions for your enjoyment:

Certificate of Conformance – a record affirming a fastener has met the requirements of the relevant specification, contract or regulation.

Certificate of Compliance – a Certification of Conformance signed by an authorized party.

Material Test Report – a record signed by an authorized party, attesting the raw material is in accordance with specified requirements, including the actual results of required chemical analysis tests and examinations.

Lot – a batch of one part number, submitted for inspection at one time. The “lot” has been made from the same batch of raw material and parts have been produced together under the same conditions and heat treatment process.

MF SUPPLY JOINS DPA

As a member of the DPA Industrial family, MF Supply can now help you with more product categories and pass along fabulous savings on many more items including:

  • Industrial
  • Tools
  • Safety Equipment & Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Janitorial/Sanitorial

Please email me at sales@mfsupply.com to request a full catalog. We’re eager to see if we can help save you time and money by becoming a single source for more of your industrial needs.

GOING LEAN REVISITED

So far this year I have attended informational training in the disciplines of Six Sigma, Lean Operations and Production and Inventory Management planning.  We are determining which area has the best ROI – for ourselves and our customers and are interested in your feedback.

Are the members of your team certified in any of these areas?  Have you gotten value from your continuing education and are you using it to make improvements in your company? I’d love to hear from you regarding this topic.

Regards,

Robin Lieberman

President

robin@mfsupply.com