#100 JuLY 2016: COVER STORY
Connected technologies and bolting experience
With over 30 years of providing effective bolt securing systems to the world, the Nord-Lock Group is now a more vibrant global operation than ever. Combining three technologies and companies into one connected Group has enabled Nord-Lock to offer a broad product range, with a unique global knowledge package.
#100 julY 2016
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EU introduces fastener import licensing
On 3rd June the European Union required fastener companies to obtain a prior licence to import an extensive range of steel and some stainless steel fasteners from any country outside its membership.
The surveillance system is part of wider ranging measures on steel imports, which EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström says will “assist the Commission to better monitor market developments in the steel sector and will give a strong political message to third countries that the EU is actively following the situation”.
EU member countries are required to administer the licensing system and report import data to the Commission within ten days of the month end – far quicker than normal compilation of Eurostat import data.
In February the EU was forced to repeal anti-dumping duties of up to 74.1% on steel fasteners from China, following a series of negative rulings by the WTO dispute body. At the time the European Commission assured member states and fastener manufacturers it would listen sympathetically to a new complaint on Chinese dumping but said it could not initiate a new investigation under its own initiative.
The prior-surveillance system is designed to accelerate building a picture of the change in the pattern of trade following the removal of the anti-dumping duties.
The current volatility of steel prices in China, however, appears to be making many EU importers wary of switching purchases to the country on anything other than basic fasteners, with major importers of higher grade products, at least for the time being, holding firm to supply relationships elsewhere in Asia. This means it may be some while before the EU sees a sufficiently clear upswing in Chinese imports to feel confident it can justify a new investigation, which could then take up to 15 months to reach definitive conclusions.
Implementation of the import licensing system has been inconsistent across EU member states. Electronic systems are reported to be operating effectively in the UK and the Netherlands. Swedish importers also report smooth issue of licences. Implementation of an electronic
system in Germany was delayed, resulting in the small licensing branch being flooded with applications, which have to be processed manually. Importers have reported long delays in receiving licences. France is also processing licences manually but appears to be turning them round within the five day limit specified by the Commission. Processes in Italy and Spain are reportedly more challenging with the former requiring tight adherence to the use of correct paperwork and substantial additional costs being incurred by Spanish importers. The worst hit importers appear to be in Poland, where authorities have reportedly been both slow and unresponsive in implementing the measure.
In response to representations from the European Fastener Distributors Association, Commissioner Malmström wrote that her department “made specific efforts to ensure that it would not impose a disproportionate burden on importers or disrupt normal trade flows in any way. These efforts include encouraging electronic procedures and avoiding any unnecessary administrative requirements”. The Commission certainly issued a strongly worded circular to member state authorities attempting to eliminate lack of clarity in interpretations of the regulation and calling for firm action to ensure an effective system was in place.
The British and Irish Association of Fastener Distributors, BIAFD, however says it learnt that the Commission’s original draft regulation wanted the licensing requirement to come into force the day after publication and was to be a paperwork system. It was only as result of representation from member states, apparently, that the twenty-one working day period before implementation was conceded.
EU manufacturers supplementing their own production range are also obliged to obtain licences but generally appear to have welcomed the move as evidence of the Commission’s commitment to the re-establishment of trade measures on fasteners from China.
Ensuring satisfied customers
Through the astute use of the latest equipment and technology, as well as a unrelenting commitment to its customers, F. REYHER Nchfg GmbH & Co KG is able to provide a comprehensive range of products and a complete service to industry and trade customers around the world – underlining its position as one of Europe’s leading distributors of fasteners and fixing technology.
Established in 1887, and located in the heart of the City, the company has become synonymous with Hamburg – having grown and developed over the last 129 years. REYHER now stocks a wide and deep range in all common dimensions – available in every typical surface coating. In addition to standard fasteners the company has numerous non-standard items, with its in-depth range complemented by a large choice of fixing technology from highly reputable manufacturers.
In total REYHER stocks more than 130,000 different items and has over 80,000 listed in its simple to use catalogue – all laid out in a simple format that makes it easy for customers to find products. A further 50,000 items are dedicated to C-parts management, which means customers can acquire both standard and engineered parts from a single source – in all materials and designs, as well as according to industry standards and with all the necessary tests and certificates.
European fastener market insight
As Fastener + Fixing Magazine reaches ‘one hundred’ we invited leading fastener businesses from all the European countries it reaches for an insight into the prospects and challenges of their domestic market.
We asked them to consider not just economic and financial issues but also technology drivers for the fastener industry and to identify priorities for the future. We are really grateful for the time and thought generously invested in assembling a unique perspective of the European fastener landscape. For space reasons we have edited some contributions but have been careful to retain the core of each contributor’s insight. Of course, there will be other and perhaps divergent viewpoints.
PolyGrip® offers high flexibility
GESIPA® Blindniettechnik GmbH boasts that its PolyGrip® blind rivet nut shows the highest flexibility out of its entire range of blind rivet nuts and covers an extremely large grip range — helping to reduce the number of parts used in production.
What makes a blind rivet nut such a smart product is that it can be set ‘blindly’ using a threaded rivet body, which means that the user only needs access to one side of the workpiece for installation. A blind rivet nut can produce safe and reliable threads even in very thin sheets and soft materials. Also, further parts can be screwed in without any problem. In principle, it is possible to rivet material first and then screw it together. The blind rivet nut is ideally suited for producing threads in hollow profiles.
For setting blind rivet nuts GESIPA® offers a wide selection of different setting tools, from hand tools to the battery powered setting tools of the FireBird® series and pneumatic setting tools of the innovative FireFox® series.
Once the blind rivet nut has been drilled on the tool, it can be set into the prepared drill hole on the workpiece. When using FireBird and FireFox tools, drilling on and drilling off, as well as the setting itself, are fully automated processes. Now GESIPA also offers the FireFox series with a setting process monitoring option.
Special safety for special products
In the automotive industry processes in the production and installation of airbags, belt restraint systems and child seats have been monitored successfully and efficiently for years. Now, however, setting process monitoring plays a major role in many other industrial production processes. Technology has been further enhanced and developed and guarantees the right fasteners are set in the right place and in the right quantity in all applications where quality is of utmost importance. In addition, it can be checked that the correct workpieces are used.
This method is now also available for monitoring processes when setting blind rivet nuts in industrial applications. The WinTech technology allows the user to define up to three windows for analysis and to store the data. The process is immediately stopped once the slightest irregularity is detected. Only after the customer has acknowledged the malfunction can the process be continued. This means human error is more or less impossible.
Kistler Group acquires Schatz Group
Kistler Group has acquired Schatz AG, based in Remscheid, Germany, as well as its US sales and service company — Schatz USA Inc, in Holly (MI). This acquisition gives the Kistler Group new potential applications in quality assurance in industrial manufacturing. The Schatz Group can now market its systems through Kistler’s global sales network, giving it access to previously underexploited markets.
Screwdriving is still one of the most elementary basic processes in industrial manufacturing. The monitoring and inspection of screw connections is extremely important in quality assurance, especially in the automotive industry. By acquiring Schatz Group, the Kistler Group is strengthening its own position in quality assurance in industrial manufacturing. The takeover is “a logical step for Kistler in the implementation of its overall growth strategy,” says CEO Rolf Sonderegger. “We want to use our measuring technology in even more applications and increase the number of complete systems and targeted services that we offer.”
The Schatz Group develops, manufactures, and distributes laboratory systems for the analysis of screw connections; calibration equipment and test systems for torque tools; and portable measurement systems for random sample testing. The company also supplies the necessary network software and provides a calibration and repair service.
In 2015 the Schatz Group generated sales of close to €16 million. It employs 75 people at its sites in Remscheid and Holly. Following the takeover, Schatz Group products and services can now be marketed through the global sales network of the Kistler Group. “This gives us better access to international markets and entirely new growth opportunities, not least due to an expanded product range,” says Volker Schatz, CEO of Schatz AG.
Customers of both companies will now be able to pull significant benefits from the advantages of the expanded portfolio, the global accessibility and the growth in know-how.
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