For ‘Chapter Three’ of our series highlighting ‘Carlo Salvi Stories’ – a series of articles celebrating business collaborations, successes and shared goals – we have an article focusing on how Carlo Salvi enabled UK plastic fastener manufacturer Fixfast to expand its manufacturing capability and start cold forming a range of fasteners from wire coil.
Founded in 1975, Fixfast is a manufacturer and supplier of quality self-drilling construction fasteners. The company’s main manufacturing, sales and distribution sites are located in Kent, but it also has operations in Ireland and the United States. In 2012, Fixfast moved into manufacturing with the production of its own moulded plastic fastener components and in 2020 the company decided to make a major investment in its UK manufacturing capability by beginning to cold form a range of fasteners from wire coil.
“From our first meeting with Carlo Salvi, we were confident we had found a partner that understood our manufacturing vision and had the technology and capabilities to help us quickly bring that vision to life,” explained Michael Edwards, head of engineering at Fixfast Ltd. “Our cooperation began in 2020 just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite a challenging context, work continued with determination and at a pace until we had achieved our goal – the development and installation of a truly turnkey production line.”
Fixfast’s new state of the art manufacturing cell consists of a wire drawing machine, double stroke heading machine - model CS 003, complete with induction system, washing machine, pointing unit and thread rolling machine. The company’s fasteners are mainly marketed in the UK but exports are growing year-on-year, with customers being served as far away as Australia.
Fixfast produces self-drilling screws that are used in the construction sector, specifically in the installation of roofs, sheeting and cladding, and rainscreen façades. To ensure these systems are safe and secure, it is essential that the fasteners used to fix them are top quality and perform consistently. The CS 003 header model from Carlo Salvi fully satisfies these requirements and the quickchange system delivers significant time and cost efficiencies. In fact, around 4 million fasteners, of different lengths in carbon steel and austenitic stainless steel, are produced by Fixfast every month. After heading, secondary operations such as pinch pointing, thread rolling, heat treatments and coatings follow.
“During a challenging time, a solid and valuable partnership was born. Strengthened by the competence of our respective technicians and confident in the ability to remotely manage all phases of installation, testing and start-up of the new header, we have completed each phase with excellent results,” comments Marco Pizzi, CCO at Carlo Salvi SpA. “The exchange of information between the two working groups was fluid despite the distance and complexity of the operation, allowing us to quickly install a new, completely turnkey line.”
Fixfast’s vision was for a fully integrated manufacturing cell that uses data to link Internet-of-Things enabled machines in one of the sector’s first Industry 4.0 grade facilities. This data would allow close monitoring of each stage of the manufacturing process and deep insight into the performance of the cell. This ultimately gives Fixfast unprecedented control so that fasteners can be produced with greater speed and accuracy than ever before.
“All our machines work in synchronicity, starting from the unwinding of the wire. The load monitoring equipment detects possible problems, protecting the header and its equipment, and supporting the operator in job changes. The CS 003 offers the possibility to connect to the network, thus collecting data and updating the production plan within our ERP system," says Michael Edwards.www.carlosalvi.com/en
Having spent a decade in the fastener industry experiencing every facet – from steel mills, fastener manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, as well as machinery builders and plating + coating companies, Claire has developed an in-depth knowledge of all things fasteners.
Alongside visiting numerous companies, exhibitions and conferences around the world, Claire has also interviewed high profile figures – focusing on key topics impacting the sector and making sure readers stay up to date with the latest developments within the industry.