Fasteners-Important Customer to Steel

Fasteners - Important Customer to Steel

By: David Anderson
Director, Bar and Rod Applications

This article appeared in Fastener Technology International / October 1998.

The fastener industry is, and will continue to be, a very important customer base for steel producers. With that in mind, an important introductory meeting was recently held between the American Iron and Steel Institute's (AISI) relatively new Bar and Rod Market Development Group (BRNIDG) and the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI) to explore opportunities and needs within this sector.

According to Jim Thompson, President, Cargill Steel, and chairman of the Bar and Rod CEO Group, "In the bar and rod market, you have a multi-layered supply chain between the steelmaker and end-user, making it extremely important to listen to each customer with his unique concerns and requirements, and then evolving the steel to best meet customer requirements."

The bar and rod initiative has representatives from 16 bar and rod producing companies. The AISI is a nonprofit association of North American companies engaged in the iron and steel industry. The Institute is comprised of 48 member companies including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers and 173 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.

The AISI BRMDG was established in 1997 in order to develop and expand the markets for high value bar and rod products. As a result of the initial strategic planning process, the group established three broad-based industry task forces:

  • Construction/Infrastructure
  • Fastener Industry
  • Automotive/Heavy Equipment

Each task force shares the common challenge to review the market issues influencing the competitiveness of steel. Under the leadership of BRMDG Chairman Linn Osterman, Vice President, Marketing and Sales-Steel, The Timken Company, the group's work to evaluate and scope the significant issues is progressing well and a business plan is being developed.

During the FY 1998 BRMDG startup period, meetings were held with customers in the automotive, construction, fastener and service center industries. Among the topics discussed during those meetings were:

Early opportunities to review the Ultra Light Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) project and participate in the future with input on related fastener requirements:

  • Standardization of materials

  • Auto industry future trends and needs

  • Asian transplant participation

Certain automotive companies are encouraged and have indicated interest in participating in meetings with the steel and fastener industries. Working together, the consortium of raw material supplier, finished product supplier and end customer can design and produce the best fasteners for the new millennium. Accordingly, the BRMDG is looking forward to building a successful relationship with the companies in the fastener industry.

The Author: David Anderson is Manager of Bar and Rod Applications at the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) offices in Southfield, MI, USA. Anderson has nearly two decades of engineering and marketing experience with the automotive and steel industries.

IFI Note:
The Institute interacts on several fronts in its Associations' Outreach Program to advance the interest in and overall quality of raw material used in fastener manufacturing. The following activities are in process:

  • Steel Alliance promoting the broad use of steel in industrial and commercial applications.
  • The Steel Construction Round Table (with AISC, AISI, SSCI, SMA, AGA, SPFA, MEA, etc.) to address material issues with steel construction fabricators and erectors.
  • USCAR - comprised of the "Big Three" automakers to resolve technical fastener issues such as raw material chemistry, metallurgy and surface discontinuities.
  • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) working on topics common to automakers and their suppliers on quality assurance, PPM defect reductions and other common problems.
  • Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc. (SAE) which has jurisdiction over several fastener industry workhorse documents covering mechanical and material requirements for fastener material performance.
  • Metal Working Executives Group to address a wide variety of issues common to metalworking industries activities such as OSHA and EPA.
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) which maintains primary industry specifications for chemical and mechanical requirements of popular grades of ferrous and nonferrous fastener materials.
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), through its codes and practices, maintains a prominent position advancing the standards documentation supporting the fastener industry.
  • IFI Raw Materials Study Committee - which has jurisdiction over IFI Standard 140 Carbon and Alloy Steel Wire, Rod and Bars for Mechanical Fasteners.
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