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FALL 2019

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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2019 / Vol 42 No4

10 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

10 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK GRABBING HOLD AND LETTING GO: THE EXPLODING BOLTS THAT BRING US TO SPACE The story of heroic fasteners that will get us to the moon and back by Ryan Bradley From the next room, through a thick granite wall, comes a chug-a-chug-a-chug-a, like an old steam train closing in. Rounding the corner, I see the source of the racket: a table, shaking. The long, metal slab jerks quickly back and forth. On it, in two neat rows, are a half-dozen rectangular prisms packed with sensors measuring pressure and motion. Each one holds a titanium-alloy bolt the size of a grown man’s forearm and weighing about 10 pounds. As the elaborate assemblage might hint, these bolts are special. Eventually, this remarkable hardware will go to space. The bolts, or ones like them, will hold together sections of the Orion spacecraft, a new vehicle that, sometime in the next decade, will carry humans out of low-Earth orbit for the first time since 1972—initially to the moon and later on trips to Mars. But before that, the fasteners must survive a mock version of their journey. Only worse. The shaking they’re enduring is merely the beginning, intended to simulate the violence of a launch. The parts also brave hammering, baking, and freezing—24 tests in total. All this before any metal even reaches the launchpad. The abuse ensures not only that the bolts will hold together massive space-faring machines, but that, at the exact right moment, they’ll break neatly apart. More specifically, they’ll explode, strategically jettisoning segments of Orion’s rocketry as they do. The design, manufacture, and most of the testing of this combustible hardware happens in an old stone factory in Eastern Connecticut, where engineers have crammed various items full of pyrotechnic material for well over a century. The 200-acre campus of 19th-century brownstone, granite, and brick—a look that’s part factory town, part college—is the home of the Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company (or EBAD, because what’s a defense contractor without a vaguely sinister acronym?). EBAD is one of more than 2,000 companies making Orion’s nuts and bolts (and ceramics, fabrics, and springs) for Lockheed Martin, NASA’s main contractor on the project. CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 102

  • Page 6 and 7: in the Fall 2019 issue of 6 DISTRIB
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    KEY BELLEVILLES INC. KEY BELLEVILLE

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    62 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 1Shot S

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    64 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ROTOR C

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    MWFA ANNUAL MIXER ELK GROVE, IL - A

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    70 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK The Met

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 73 INTEGRA

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    80 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK INTERNA

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    82 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK VOLT IN

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    84 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK NATIONA

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    BRIGHTON-BEST INTERNATIONAL COCKTAI

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENERS, INC. NEW W

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    NEFDA 31st ANNUAL GOLF OUTING OAK R

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 93

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    96 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK INTERCO

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO MANDALA

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    100 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK LAUREN

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 105 1Shot

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    110 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ROB La

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    112 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK JO MOR

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    114 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK NUTS,

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 119 SALIM

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    122 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK LARRY

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    124 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK FASTEN

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    126 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK JIM TR

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 129 NCFA 2

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    The Agrati Group, a global manufact

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    fastenerlinks THE DEFINITIVE WEB DI

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    fastenerlinks BRINGING YOU THE FAST

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    fastenerlinks BRINGING YOU THE FAST

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    THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 141

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO WELCOME

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    146 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ANTHON

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    148 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK SPIROL

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    150 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK ABBOTT

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO MANDALA

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    164 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK JOE DY

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    Innovative Components Inc. is proud

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    172 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK RYAN B

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    174 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK FASTEN

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    176 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK SOUTHW

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    178 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK RYAN B

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    180 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK FASTEN

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    182 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK WOMEN

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    184 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK INTERN

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO MANDALA

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO MANDALA

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    INTERNATIONAL FASTENER EXPO MANDALA

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