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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2018 / Vol 41 No3


66 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK UNIVERSAL CHEMICALS & COATINGS 1975 Fox Lane, Elgin, IL 60123 TEL 847-931-1700 FAX 847-931-1799 EMAIL WEB FASTENER MANUFACTURERS IMPROVE ‘DRIVABILITY’ WITH UNIQUE COATINGS Specialty coatings can provide fastener manufacturers with new products and a competitive edge Since cordless tool battery life is a serious concern for pros and DIYs, a growing number of fastener manufacturers are addressing the issue with unique coatings that dramatically increases the “drivability” of nails and screws. This, in turn, minimizes the amount of power used by cordless tools, extends the battery life and increases productivity since fasteners can be fixed faster and in higher volume before the battery must be changed out or recharged. Drivability can also impact gas-actuated fastening systems that utilize fuel cells, coupled with batteries, to drive framing nails, finishing brads or screws without having to connect to an air compressor or power cord. The fuel cells, which can cost as much as at big box stores depending on the brand, are typically advertised as being able to driving 1,200 nails. By improving drivability of framing nails, a more economical and efficient 2,000 nails could be achieved per fuel cell, for example. According to Dan Chin, President of Universal Chemicals & Coatings (Unichem), this was the specific goal of one fastener manufacturer that sought his company’s help in creating a specialty coating that would dramatically improve the drivability of nails. Unichem is a custom coating and adhesives formulator that has worked with fastener manufacturers on these types of issues. The manufacturer’s goal, says Chin, was to be able to market the gas-actuated framing nail gun’s ability to drive a higher number of nails per fuel cell to differentiate it from the competition. “The goal was to improve what the company called ‘ease of drive’ by 25%, which is a huge number,” says Chin. “In doing so, more framing nails could be driven flush with one fuel cell.” To shoot a nail, fuel cell-powered nail guns inject a small amount of fuel along with compressed air into a chamber. A battery-supplied spark then causes a tiny explosion, which drives home the nail. Manufacturers of cordless framing and finishing guns often market unit-specific nails or screws. These consumables generate significant ongoing revenue. Given the competition in the space, offering a product with a promotable differentiator is even more critical. The challenge facing Unichem was to create a custom coating for the nails that improved drivability without allowing it to be easily removed. “You can create a coating that increases the lubricity or ‘slipperiness’ of the nail so it goes in easily, but then it must act like an adhesive once in so it cannot be easily taken out,” says Chin. Unichem’s chemists successfully figured out a coating formulation that improved nail drivability by 25%, while meeting required anti-withdrawal properties. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 140


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