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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2021 / Vol 44 No 2


28 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK PENN ENGINEERING 5190 Old Easton Road, Danboro, PA 18916 TEL 1-800-237-4736 FAX 215-766-0143 EMAIL WEB SELF-CLINCHING FASTENERS & STAINLESS STEEL ASSEMBLIES: APPLICATION SUCCESS by Michael J. Rossi, Marketing Services Supervisor When designers need an ideal fastening solution for attachment applications in which metal sheets may be too thin to be tapped, or where extruded or stamped threads would be impractical, self-clinching fasteners are often the answer. Upon permanent installation, they become an integral part of the assembly – never loosening or falling out, never needing to be restrained from rotation with a tool, and never having to be handled again. On the flip side, self-clinching fasteners can also allow for repeated component removal and re-attachment as needed, unlike conventional welds and adhesives. They can significantly reduce loose hardware count and promote thinner and lighter designs. The end result – quicker assembly, lower production costs, and optimized performance and reliability. The Self-Clinching Installation Process In general, installation of self-clinching fasteners is accomplished by pressing the fastener into place in a properly sized drilled or punched hole. This process causes displaced sheet material (softer than the fastener) to cold flow into a specially designed annular recess in the shank or pilot of the fastener, locking the fastener into place. A common misconception is that all stainless steel self-clinching fasteners will perform as intended in all stainless sheets. However, the self-clinching installation process requires that the fastener always be harder than its host sheet. With differing stainless-steel levels available, and varying degrees of corrosion resistance required depending on the application, the decision-making process for choosing a fastener can be challenging. When pairing stainless steel self-clinching fasteners with stainless steel assemblies, the following considerations can help point the way to application success. Ensure Your Fastener Is Harder Than The Host Sheet Due to the installation method, the fastener must always be sufficiently harder (typically 20 points on the HRB hardness scale or 50 points on the HB hardness scale) than the host material to ensure proper and permanent installation. Sheets must also be in the annealed condition to allow the displaced sheet material to cold flow into the fastener’s undercut without fracturing. Our catalog provides guidance on the max panel hardness that each fastener is designed for. Determine The Required Level Of Corrosion Resistance Know what kind of corrosion protection your application requires. Precipitation-hardened stainless clinch fasteners can provide extremely high corrosion resistance for use in challenging environments including medical, food service, fluid handling, and marine applications, among others. TECHNICAL ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 110


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