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SUMMER 2011

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  • Fastener
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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2011 / VOL 34 / NO.3

30 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

30 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Industrial Fasteners Institute 636 Oak Tree Blvd. • Independence Ohio 44131 Phone: 216.241.1482 • Fax: 216.241.5901 www.indfast.org WHY SHOULD METRIC FASTENER SUPPLIERS AND END USERS SPECIFY THE ISO STANDARDS by Joe Greenslade Director of Engineering Technology, IFI The adoption of ISO Fastener Standards by suppliers and end users will end 40 years of fastener industry confusion. The adoption of ISO standards is good engineering practice, it simplifies inventory, it enhances assembly uniformity, and it makes export products more attractive to consumers outside the USA. The “Big Three” stimulated the adoption of the metric system in the US. The United states started moving into the use of metric fasteners in a significant way in the early 1970s when the “Big Three” (FORD, GM, and Chrysler) made a commitment to use the metric system for all new vehicle designs. Since the automotive industry then, and still today, use more threaded fasteners than any other industry, the major fastener suppliers in the USA started getting involved in the production of metric fasteners. This auto industry commitment to metric design was adopted so that one car design could be produced all over the world instead of having one design for North America and another design for all markets outside North America. Huge international equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar and John Deere soon followed. Until that time relatively low volumes of metric fasteners were used in the United States. They were mostly used in maintenance applications for the maintenance of imported manufacturing equipment from Europe, with the majority coming from Germany. The German standards system is referred to as the DIN (Deutsches Institut fur Normung e. V.) system and most of the imported fasteners used to support the import equipment were made in Europe to the DIN standards. The Big Three decision to adopt the metric system of measurement in design impacted all industrialized countries in the world. The car manufacturers wanted to be able to source products anywhere in the world and have the components be compatible regardless of where the parts were made, purchased, or assembled. This decision drove the creation and use of common world standards for all components including fasteners. The ISO Fastener Committee was formed to commonize metric fastener systems. At that time several European and Asian countries had their own designs of metric fasteners as defined by their country standards. To commonize these designs the ISO TC2 Fastener Committee was formed. The predominant metric fastener standard at the time was DIN so it became the foundational metric fastener standard system from which the eventual ISO fastener standards evolved. The US joined the ISO efforts, but at the same time tried to mold a unique metric standard called the Optimum Metric Fastener System (OMFS). This work began in the Industrial Fasteners (IFI) Technical Committees and was later transitioned into the fastener committees in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B18 Committee and the American Society for Testing, Materials (ASTM) F16 Committee and the SAE Fastener Committee. The concept behind the OMFS was to narrow the choices that were available in the other metric fastener systems in ways such as limiting the thread series to only course threads. OMFS included efforts to introduce an external spline-head design to replace hex heads on bolts and a new gaging system for threads in an effort to improve thread quality. The work on the OMFS concept within the ASME, ASTM, and SAE committees resulted in an entire series of USA created metric fastener standards. Eventually most of the unique ideas in the OMFS program faded away and the resultant standards were interchangeable with, but not exactly like, the evolved ISO fastener standards. In retrospect, the USA effort just added another metric fastener standard option to metric fastener technology, increasing the complexity instead of achieving its goal of simplifying it. The OMFS concept was noble but its objectives never materialized. In the meantime more and more countries joined the ISO fastener standards efforts and a true worldwide fastener standards system was created. The growing adoption of ISO fastener standards has resulted in most industrialized countries withdrawing their country-specific standards and formally adopting the ISO standards as their metric fastener system. Germany withdraws DIN standards in 2001 to adopt ISO fastener standards. The biggest endorsement of the ISO fastener standards was Germany’s official withdrawal of their DIN fastener standards in 2001 which is documented in DIN 918, Supplement 3. A table showing the withdrawn DIN standards and the ISO standards that should now be used instead is included in this article. please turn to page 156

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