How to Select Screws     Image credit: Spectrum Pharma-Quip; MyWord.info; Palmer Bolt & Supply Co.     A screw is a type ofhardware fastener that attributes its mechanical capabilities to the helical groove that extends around the circumference of the device's shank. These threads provide the friction and traction that serves a screw's purpose: to assemble or position two workpieces in relation to each other. Screws come in many varieties.
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Q & A on Screws

We asked our users for their input on Screws. Here are the results of 65 users familiar with Screws.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing screw design?
10 answers
Answers:
Most of the tech I am aware of is not new but is becoming more accepted. For example, vibration resistant screws and plastic screws.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
Not sure what technologies are influencing screw design, but there is a need to automate installation of screws more.
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
Don't know. As a Manufacturing Engineer I mostly work with what has already been specified.
~Engineering, Process/Production, Milford, MA
Cell phone miniaturization.
~Tom M., Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Portland, OR
Cosmetics and weight saving
~General Corporate Mgmt, Gnosall, Great Britain
Bi-metal screws.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
Currently
~Engineering, Design, Lake Mary, FL
Materials
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Security
~Marketing/Sales, San Carlos, CA
TIG
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China

Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative screws?
6 answers
Answers:
We only care about whether a producer needs automatic packaging on their production line.
~DANNY HUANG, Marketing/Sales, New Taipei City, TAIWAN
They all seem to be so close when it comes down to requirements.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
Fastex (plastic) and some of the auto suppliers.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
New to industry. Still learning and comparing.
~Marketing/Sales, San Carlos, CA
Shanghai CDM Industry Co. Ltd.
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China
Mc Master
~Engineering, Design, Lake Mary, FL

Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used screws for?
19 answers
Answers:
Cell phone prototype designs desktop computers desk side computers/servers rack mounted servers blade servers Medical equipment. plastic applications sheet metal applications wood shipping container applications
~Tom M., Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Portland, OR
Machine tool jigs; aircraft seats aircraft equipment video lifts plastic assemblies machines etc...
~Francois L, Engineering Consultant, Kharkov, Ukraine
Roof Cladding and the fixing of metal cladding for the mechanical protection of insulation.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
Many different kinds of screws which to be packaged like DIY kits, service packs...etc.
~DANNY HUANG, Marketing/Sales, New Taipei City, TAIWAN
Shear/compression. Office furniture/heavy steel equipment/plastic fastening.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
Motor cycle engine and rolling chassis building.
~General Corporate Mgmt, Gnosall, Great Britain
Mounting electrical connectors to housings
~Engineering, Design, Buxton, United Kingdom
Auto seating,bumpers, seat belts
~General Corporate Mgmt, Alpharetta, GA
Lots, personal and for work.
~Marketing/Sales, San Carlos, CA
SolidWoks, SmarTeam (PLM)
~Engineering, Design, Lake Mary, FL
PCBs, mechanical assembly
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
Assembling swings; repair
~Engineering, Other, Rockledge, FL
Assembly of battery case
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Motorbike,bicycle,etc.
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China
HVAC assembly process
~Engineering, Other, Trenton, NJ
Assembly and fixings
~Technical Support/Services, Waterford, Ireland
Fastening
~Engineering, Process/Production, Milford, MA
Building
~Maintenance/Facilities Management, Scarbough, Canada
ANTENNAS
~Engineering, Design, Auburn Hills, MI

Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that screws have been used for.
5 answers
Answers:
Engine casement replacements screws,socket,button heads
~General Corporate Mgmt, Gnosall, Great Britain
Installation into PTFE PCBs (soft material).
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
Screw with a sleeve as a guide for a spring.
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Hmmm.. not at the moment
~Marketing/Sales, San Carlos, CA
Spectacle Frames
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China

Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of screws?
4 answers
Answers:
No but I know that some Aircraft specific screws are too expensive and could surely be replaced.
~Francois L, Engineering Consultant, Kharkov, Ukraine
Contamination between different grades of steel e.g. driving mild steel screws into stainless.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
The accident occurred!
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China
None comes to mind.
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL

FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
9 answers
Answers:
One problem we have in our industry is maintaining a good water tight seal when screws have been fixed. Most seals tend to lose their integrity when over tightened. There is a fine line between having a good seal, and damaging the seal/washer when screwed into place. I would love to see a seal that can be reused over and over when screws are taken out and put back in. Once a screw has been taken out, the seal has to be replaced, generally meaning the whole screw is replaced.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
Multiple types of drive mechanisms and materials; washer can be captive to screw (eliminating the need to assemble the washer to the screw). Screw holds to drive bit by itself (no need to hold it with your fingers); screw can be installed at odd angles like 45 degrees.
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
I wish I knew what all the funny figures stand for - being european reading inches is a drag
~Francois L, Engineering Consultant, Kharkov, Ukraine
No hydrogen embrittlement. Better plastic screws for thin wall designs.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
Quality and reliability at the lowest cost.
~Tom M., Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Portland, OR
Variable plain shank screws
~General Corporate Mgmt, Gnosall, Great Britain
Stainless Steal, torx
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Standardization
~Marketing/Sales, San Carlos, CA
Useful,best
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of screws?
6 answers
Answers:
Just because something is in the catalog, doesn't mean it's not a "make to order" expensive screw.
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Be careful assuming a screw will work just because it is similar to another screw type.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
Make sure the screw is suitable for the base metal that it is getting screwed into.
~Project Manager, Moranbah, Australia
Keep in mind galvanic potential when selecting the screw material.
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
Think about things like REDOX couple.
~Francois L, Engineering Consultant, Kharkov, Ukraine
Be more patient!
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China

Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using screws?
6 answers
Answers:
It really depends on the application but if you're trying to automate screw installation it can be challenging. Also, screw quality can end up being an issue so check with the supplier where the screws are coming from, if it's a reputable manufacturer and if they can provide certifications. Also, if you're applying torque (this is pretty typical) it can be tricky depending on the material of the screw and material the screw fastens to.
~Manufacturing Engineer, Menlo Park, CA
Make sure you know the typical environmental conditions the product will see before making your selection.
~Tom M., Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Portland, OR
Choosing good company with good quality and service.
~Jim Zhang, Manufacturer, Shanghai, China
Try to design using standard OTS screws.
~Design Engineer, Largo, FL
Do research. Lots of it.
~Jim, Engineer, Iron Mountain, MI
Good luck
~Francois L, Engineering Consultant, Kharkov, Ukraine


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