On December 6, 2013, Taiwan Fastener Trading Association (TFTA) held its annual meeting and the handing over ceremony of the chairman at Queena Plaza Hotel. In addition to the dinner gala for members throughout Taiwan, the highlight during the event was absolutely the handing over ceremony of TFTA Chairman. President Bill Chen of Chite Enterprises was appointed the new Chairman of TFTA
Since the establishment of TFTA, the scale of the association has been growing under the terms of office of previous chairmen. The association has roughly 250 members who are manufacturers, traders, and suppliers of fasteners, machines, and other associated parts. Every year the association will schedule several technical workshops and visits to companies in order to strengthen the technical and experience interaction among all members and seek more international cooperation around the world.
With efforts of the 5th Chairman Mr. Jim C.N. Chen, the association invited General Manager Lutz Röwer from German HFB Engineering GmbH to give a speech on “Rules for CE Marking According to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR)”. Since the establishment of the EU, regulations within the region have been changed from different regulations for different countries to those applicable to all countries. As a result, the European Commission announced the new Construction Products Regulation to replace the old version of Construction Products Directives. The European directives state that all products with CE marking have to be compliant with the regulations of the EU that require health, safety, and environmental protection before circulating in European economic zones.
On the other hand, Chairman Bill Chen also pointed that Taiwan fastener industry demonstrates fast development in technical upgrade and takes a lion’s share in the global market in terms of its quality and production, which can be attributed to the efforts many Taiwanese manufacturers have made abroad for years. Considering the antidumping measures the EU have imposed on certain countries, Chairman Bill Chen hopes that both Taiwanese companies and Taiwanese government should take China and Malaysia as precaution and adopt necessary steps to prevent the antidumping measures from the EU, which will impede the competitiveness of Taiwan fastener industry. Taiwan has a good ability of R&D and shows the increasing level of sales and unit prices of standard parts and bespoken parts. Its current trend in the industry has been going toward service manufacturing, in order to increase the added value of products and develop self-owned brands. As a result, the advantage of Taiwan fastener industry can be retained.
Taiwan Fastener Trading Association (TFTA) held its workshop for 2013 at National Tainan Living Art Center on November 20. Ended with a big success, the workshop was the 5th and the last round for this year and attracted 135 professional audiences from the industry. Started with the opening remarks by Chairman Jim C.N. Chen of TFTA, the workshop also invited speakers including General Manager Tony Chen from Ming Shyr Metals International Co. Ltd. (Topic: Theories and Practices of Fastener Heat Treatment), General Manager Steven Fang of Fascon Corporation (Topic: Detailing on Threads), and Engineer Bozheng Wang of Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation, CSC (Topic: Steel Selection & Quality Characteristics of Wire Rods for Fasteners). Speakers received loud applause from the audience in return for their splendid courses. Below are the excerpts from the workshop.
Heat Treatment Applied to Fasteners
Tony Chen of Ming Shyr Metals said in the introduction, “As steel is widely related to every manufacturing process in the industry, heat treatment process is necessary and irreplaceable and is an indispensable process for upgrading quality. For instance, dies, materials, forming, and applications are all closely connected with the usage of heat treating technology, whose importance thus cannot be underestimated.”
The application of fastener heat treatment can be started first with material selection ranging from sheet metals, wire coils, round bars, medium/low carbon steel materials in the upstream, wire drawing/sheet metal plants in the middle stream, to a variety of processing chains in the down stream. The technical level of heat treatment differs in every stream. In the upstream, it includes steel refining, hot/cold rolling technology; in the middle stream, it includes die heat treatment, spheroidizing, annealing; in the down stream, it includes forming normalization, annealing spheroidizing, nitrogen treatment, carbonitriding, tempering, stress release, and age hardening. Back to the basics of heat treatment, 3 major elements must be considered: temperature, atmosphere, and time. The required temperature differs on different materials and heat treating ways and so does the required time period with different sizes and work parts. Using carbonitriding and nitrogen treatment to achieve a hardened surface and prevent it from oxidization is a basic requirement. In the end, Mr. Chen referred to 5 problems commonly seen on job sites and offered his advice.
1. Ambiguity of certain ISO, DIN, and IFI statements. For example, definition of the carbonitriding layer in hardness determination.
2. Different methods and mechanical calibration conducted by different men.
3. Auditing cycles and key points of facilities: being inactive to audit facilities even they are very expensive.
4. Connection of different workstations: for example, complaints on electroplating.
5. Incoherence with customers’ requests: For example, no compliance with regulations when certain restrictive requests are made on material selection.
Detailing on Threads
Mr. Steven Fang from Fascon Corporation lectured on the basic forms of threads and the calculation methods. The forms are composed of many basic triangles and calculated by Pythagorean theory. Knowledge about thread definitions & common international standards, calculation of effective thread diameters, thread tolerance of metric fasteners was also discussed in the course. The hydrogen embrittlement of fasteners was stated as: a delayed failure under the status of continuous stress happened 1-24 hours after the assembly. However, fasteners must be processed with heat treatment (incl. carbonitriding) and the hardness must be above HRC36 (360). The higher the hardness, the higher the risk. Fasteners must be also processed with electroplating. In the preliminary treatment, acid solution is used to clean the surface, so the cross section looks like rough swabs or fragmented crystal sugar, which is different from another cross section resulted from strong torque. In the end, Mr. Fang reported that the total value of fastener exports of Taiwan in 2012 was USD3.8 billion and by 2018 the total value of global fastener demand will reach USD94.65 billion, most of which will be generated by the Asia-Pacific region. He also emphasized the value of R&D investment, technological integration within the supply chain, and development of new markets with the widely known “Smiling Curve” on strategies of globalization.
Steel Selection & Features of Wire Rods for Fasteners
Engineer Mr. Bozheng Wang from the Metallurgy Technology Service Department of Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation detailed in the workshop on the steel selection & features of wire rods for fasteners. First, he referred to the manufacturing specifications of steel billets and wire rods, distribution of steel categories, and the distribution of wire rods in the down stream, which the fastener industry takes the highest proportion. He also talked about the way to utilize supersonic inspection applied to record the corrosion or life cycle of pipes and troughs, thickness measurements of thicker test parts, and internal damage inspection. Second, he referred to quality characteristics such as the influence the de-carburized layer caused on fatigue. If hardness of the surface becomes lower, the anti-wear function will reduce and some de-carburized areas will be soft, creating a fatigue-break point and shortening the life. In addition, if contents of carbon in/out of the layer are in a great difference, the sensitivity of chill crack will increase. Third, the categorization and their final usages were referred to. Products can be categorized into low carbon steel, medium/high carbon steel, cold-forged, and low alloy steel according to their later usages. Fourth, material selection for screws & nuts was especially pointed out while selecting steel. To consider the ability to be cold forged and quenched, there is a strict requirement for steel quality, contents, and de-carburization, which are classified strength. In the end, Mr. Wang introduced the facility renovation of Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation, including the second wire manufacturing plant and the production of bigger-size wire rods. Plus, the reduction of time to replace wire rods during wire drawing was adopted to prevent first-piece check and machine tuning to increase production. As for the other supplements, acid-wash, coating, spheroidizing facilities, length of wire rod racks, forklifts, weights of cranes, and safety coefficients are included to boost efficiency.
Through this workshop held by TFTA, the local industry professionals can have a place for interaction and upgrading their industry knowledge. This year is going to be an end and next year is believed to see other workshops with more contents and topics to satisfy fellow members.
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