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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2018 / Vol 41 No3


168 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK CARMEN VERTULLO HYDROGEN EMBRITTLEMENT IN FASTENERS CASE STUDIES - PART 3 from page 108 As an alternative to electroplated zinc, suppliers should offer mechanical zinc plated spring pins. One major supplier of spring pins provides this technical information regarding coatings for spring pins: Vogelsang has taken the initiative in offering mechanically plated pins. The Vogelsang standard is mechanically applied, commercial zinc plating. Mechanical plating minimizes the possibility of hydrogen embrittlement, which is a common concern when parts are subjected to electroplating. Mechanically plated pins are commonly available from stock. Other platings are available as special orders. Should you ever encounter a zinc coated spring pin and wonder if it is electro plated or mechanically plated, electroplated spring pins will appear as bright and shiny, silver or gold in color; while mechanical zinc coated spring pins will appear dull grey. I recommend that electroplated spring pins be avoided as they pose an unnecessary risk. Spring pins are usually well buried in the assembly, so appearance should not be an issue. Where appearance is an issue, consider using stainless steel. Be aware that stainless steel may not be compatible with some other materials, such as aluminum. Fast forward to today and we see why this failure from the past was brought to mind. I recently received an email from a client with this and some other photos of failed electroplated spring pins. Again, all of the indications of IHE were present. A few questions were answered and we were easily able to conclude that this was an IHE caused failure. The root cause of this failure is currently under investigation, but leaning towards lack of awareness for the need to properly bake this product after plating. If we ask enough “why” questions we eventually land at something that sounds like “management’s failure to provide the resources and training necessary for the staff to understand and mitigate the risks associated with electroplating high hardness fasteners”. This root cause could be applied to both the user and the supplier. This failure will likely have implications of a more serious nature than the safe spring pin failure from the past. A good component of the preventive action for this root cause would be for management to send some staff – sales, purchasing and quality, to a good hydrogen embrittlement training program. The Fastener Training Institute© provides the best and most comprehensive fastener hydrogen embrittlement training programs in the industry. Go to for a schedule of fastener training programs. Another necessary component of an effective preventive action is the implementation of a risk management strategy aimed directly at hydrogen embrittlement prevention. This strategy requires careful consideration and includes training, testing, process control, QMS integration and appropriate risk assignment. The Carver FACT (Fastening Applications Consulting and Training) Center can help you with your HE prevention risk management strategy. We do not often think of non-threaded fasteners when hydrogen embrittlement comes to mind. I have worked on IHE cases that involved lock washers, spring pins, conical washers, and coil springs. A few of these cases will be the subject of a future HE case study article. CARMEN VERTULLO | FASTENER TRAINING INSTITUTE

Earnest Machine is now offering domestic hex nuts in response to increased demand for U.S.-made products. “The federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 requires the use of domestically made products in transit projects that receive more than 0,000 in federal money,” said Patrick Ginnetti, marketing director for Earnest Machine. “As the country’s infrastructure ages, maintenance and repair spending on transportation infrastructure continues to grow in the U.S., which means increased demand for products made here.” While domestic nuts are required for federal transit-related projects, Ginnetti noted that they’re also specified in many other federally funded projects, such as energy, water works and military. Earnest Machine will carry nine sizes of domestic hex nuts--ranging in size from 1/4- inch to 7/8-inch--in fine and coarse threads and a variety of finishes. Ginnetti said the company will also offer a variety of value-added services, including custom plating, drilling and slotting rework, broken case quantities, kitting and packaging, and branded drop shipping. “One of the big issues with domestic hex nuts is that it’s extremely difficult to find them in low quantities,” said Ginnetti. “We can help smaller distributors get into the domestic nut market because we offer broken case quantities and can accommodate special selling requirements with custom kitting and packaging. And like everything we sell, they’ll be backed by our industry leading service guarantee.” Ginnetti added that Earnest Machine is taking pre-orders now for domestic hex nuts and will begin shipping product in June. Earnest Machine was founded in 1948 and is a global importer, distributor, and manufacturer of large diameter and hard-to-find fasteners for the agriculture, construction equipment, heavy transportation, mining, structural construction and wind industries. For more information contact Earnest Machine Products at 1250 Linda Street, Suite 301, Rocky River, OH 44116. Tel: 1-800-327-6378 or visit them online at THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 169


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