Fasteners: a rapidly evolving category
Far from being a ‘fixed’ product category, the world of fasteners is awash with innovation relating to both mechanical and chemical solutions. JOHN POWER talks to the team at ITW Proline about current trends, product developments, as well as strategies to simplify selection processes and optimise correct usage.
Many trade professionals tend to be creatures of habit, which means it is easy to overlook change within such a fundamental product category as fasteners. However, according to the team at ITW Proline, there has never been a better time to explore new technologies and solutions relating to both mechanical and chemical fasteners, which are evolving constantly in response to building substrate changes, technical innovations, and new ideas focused on specific applications.
In this article we will take a peek at some genuinely inventive new releases, and gain an insight into the challenges of bringing everexpanding ranges to end users in a practical and efficient manner.
New demands, new products Even something as seemingly straightforward as a wood screw is subject to immense ongoing refinements and inventive research. The driving forces behind all new fastener developments in Australia are surprisingly complex, says ITW Proline Senior Product Manager, Mark Camilleri, and include deeper insights into the ever-evolving requirements of individual trade professions, coupled with continuous advances in manufacturing capabilities.
“The starting point for a company like ours – which includes well-known brands of fasteners like Ramset, Buildex, Zenith, Pryda and Paslode – is to ask the simple question, ‘Are there end user “pain points” we can overcome?’ Then we look at how we can address those needs,” he says.
A good example of this policy in action is the development of the newly launched Buildex Landscaping Construction Screw, which represents a new foray into this specialist market segment by ITW Proline. As Mark explains, structural landscaping (involving the construction of retaining walls, planters, decks and the like) has become extremely sophisticated in the last few years, with practitioners attaining higher levels of precision and aesthetic polish than ever before. ITW Proline recognised that the industry needed a suitably reliable, extra long timber screw to achieve desired results. The Buildex Landscaping Construction Screw showcases at least half a dozen impressive design features, all of which work in tandem to produce a long-lasting, superior prod-
uct for heavy timbers.
“It’s a whole new screw. We’ve actually looked at understanding the ‘pain points’ of landscapers and the materials they are using for retaining walls, planter boxes and large heavy timbers, and come up with a solution that is cost-effective, easy to use, and which has a clear function,” Mark said.
Whereas most timber screws on the market do not exceed 200mm in length, the new range of Buildex Landscaping Construction Screws is available in lengths of 150mm to 300mm.
“Additionally, we have integrated numerous features to overcome some of the traditional difficulties of screwing in a screw of that length,” Mark said. “Th at comes down to aggressive threads and serrations that reduce driving torque, and a few other features like self-embedding heads that allow the screw to pull below the actual material,” he said.
Th is range is also equipped with a star drive recess to minimise cam-out slippage, self-drilling tip, super strong carbon steel, a clearing thread to help reduce torque loads, a protective Climacoat™ coating designed for treated pine and external applications, and a self-embedding underhead for a crisper finish.
“This is just one example of a new product coming to market. In reality, the development process never stops… and the chemical fastener category is possibly even more dynamic than mechanical varieties,” Mark said.
While mechanical fasteners remain the “bigger part of the portfolio” of fasteners in the context of retail hardware, Mark says there is a firm trend towards the use of chemical fasteners, which are rapidly transitioning from industrial-grade applications to more mainstream residential and commercial building uses and even advanced DIY projects.
The reason for this transition, Mark believes, is the great versatility of modern chemical-based products.
“You have a chemical fastener for practically every application, whether it’s a medium, heavy or extra heavy duty.”
For instance, Israel Perez Bueno, Assistant Product Manager – Ramset/Paslode, points out the appeal of chemical fasteners in circumstances where the properties of substrates are unknown or not particularly well suited to expansion anchors. Examples include hollow bricks, flooded or chronically damp areas, vertical surfaces, close-to-edge surfaces and other applications that might be subject to seismic instability or similarly tough conditions.
Innovations include improved chemical solutions and high-performance cartridges for chemical anchors to enhance efficiency, cut wastage and improve ease of use at the worksite. For example, the new REO 502™ cartridge dispenses contents swiftly and accurately while remaining hardy enough to transport and store in the field. Such innovations are welcome, but how do end users learn about new releases and their applications in the first place?
The user experience
Great products only achieve their full potential if the market understands their preferred applications and performance characteristics. To this end, Mark Camilleri says ‘product innovation’ cannot be separated from ‘product communication’.
In the case of the chemical fastener range, effective communication begins with clear packaging and merchandising in the retail hardware outlet, and extends to instructional videos and other online resources to assist users of varying levels of ability, including trade professionals.
At store level, ITW Proline has been a leader in effective display systems, most recently through its Made for Trade™ platform. Based on clear colour-coded subdivisions of fastener categories such as Timber Screws, Treated Pine Screws, Stainless Steel Bolts, etc, these displays present products in easy-to-understand, clearly labelled compartments according to variety and size. Made for Trade™ is a trade merchandising system, supported by a structured business approach that is ideal for retailers who have a strong trade account base, and who seek to enhance sales via intuitively ranged fastening solutions. Customers can also take it for granted that all ranges are compliant with relevant standards and codes, and are therefore fabricated to perform as expected.
A passive side effect of high-quality merchandising, Israel adds, is improved customer education, gained through point of sale signage indicating preferred applications and configurations.
This education process continues post-purchase through various online tools. With regard to chemical fasteners, for instance, ITW Proline provides an important service with the website www.chemset.com.au
This website offers busy tradespeople a quick means of checking different chemical fastener specifications, complete with tabular listings of typical applications.
The home page menu includes a handy ‘Selection Guide’ link that outlines the main chemical fasteners according to their physical properties and working conditions. Another link takes the user to a calculator to determine the correct amounts of chemical adhesive required depending on variables like the number of fixings being installed, bar size, hole depth and substrate temperature. This initiative reduces waste and gives the user a clear overview of likely working and loading times.
R&D – next steps
According to Mark, the above online guides are intrinsic elements of product development because they steer trades professionals towards the right products for the tasks at hand.
Trouble-free fastener identification inspires the user to assess each job on its merits, and to seek out the most appropriate fastener – even if that means breaking old habits!
The process is aided further by handy YouTube videos aimed at demystifying new technologies and removing fears about experimenting with new products.
A new range of videos is currently being rolled out to make sure trade customers of all qualifications can obtain up-to-date information about current fastener options.
As for future product releases, Mark says ITW’s research and development facilities at Chirnside Park and Moorabbin, Melbourne, are hubs of activity for local solutions to local fastening challenges, supported by strong local manufacturing facilities.
“While ITW Proline might be involved in global development, the products sold in Australia are designed for local conditions. We don’t take a product off the shelf and put it into the Australian market. We make sure it is tested locally and validated with end users, and especially with chemical fasteners it’s very important to develop a product that’s fit for market conditions,” he said.
All the above-mentioned measures, from in-store merchandising to How To videos and local R&D strategies, Mark adds, are necessary to ensure “all trades are covered” when it comes to new generation fasteners.
Product and packaging innovation grows Australia adhesives market
The latest adhesive products released to the Australian market indicate that innovation continues, not just for products, but also for packaging as well as application methods and delivery systems. A focus on strength, drying and curing times, better storage leading to longer shelf life, larger scope of usage applications and of course, price, has seen on-going success on our shores.
J-B Weld® USA partners with HPP Lunds, bringing epoxy adhesives to Australia
Just over 40 years ago, J-B Weld® released its twin tube cold weld epoxy. The product was developed to repair metal com-
ponents that could not be welded using traditional welding techniques. The end result was a permanent repair product that can be used on many different applications and materials, not just metal. Amazingly, the same original formulae are still used today.
Over the last 10 years the range of J-B Weld® products have grown to over 60 part numbers to include: a syringe range, silicones, putty sticks, thread lockers, super glues and repair kits. In December 2016 HPP Lunds also released its first full range catalogue for the Australian market. Since HPP Lunds’ initial product launch of the J-B Weld® brand in Australia, the market acceptance has been impressive. “We are yet to find any store, regardless of being an auto parts, industrial or hardware store, that when stocking a comprehensive display offering of J-B Weld® that does not outsell the competitor offer in the respective category. The majority of stockists of J-B Weld® have also stated that not only have the sales of J-B Weld® products been strong but it has improved the investment return in the total product category. What more could you ask for,” a company spokesperson said recently.
J-B Weld® products are innovative, not only in quality levels, but also in delivery systems, the spokesperson said. “An example is the unique locking cap used on all syringes. The one way fitting locking cap allows for multi uses of the syringe without the contents going off after only one use. The SuperWeld™ super glue is available in a bottle, with brush applicator cap for drip free, no mess application,” the spokesperson said.
The J-B Weld® brand has strong retail and trade presentation with dynamic visual artwork that features the USA flag which signifies it is manufactured in the USA and is synonymous with quality. In the USA, J-B Weld® products have earned a loyal and enthusiastic following from avid DIY’ers and repair professionals alike, offering a range of simple and affordable solutions that help just about anyone to take on small and large repairs throughout the home or workshop, according to the company. In the USA J-B Weld® hold a majority market share in its respective product category in all industries and this brand awareness and loyalty is now quickly building here in Australia, the company recently reported.
HPP Lunds distributes the entire range of J-B Weld® products in Australia.
“With national representation and several industry related sub distributors we can customize a range tailored to target your business’ clientele,” the spokesperson said.
For more information, visit the products section, J-B Weld® at: www.hpplunds.com.au.
New ‘hybrid’ adhesive
ICCONS® is an Australasian construction product provider dedicated to supplying a broad range of innovative product systems and services, and specialises in providing the latest technology in Construction Fastening Systems, Power Tools and Accessories.
ICCONS® newest product to hit the market is its ‘hybrid’ adhesive. The New ICCONS® BIS-HY hybrid adhesive system is the most complete adhesive product on the market and is fully supported with comprehensive European approvals.
Manufactured by B+BTec, a manufacturer of unique heavy duty concrete anchoring systems based in the Netherlands, ICCONS® BIS-HY is built upon over 45 years of manufacturing expertise.
How is this ‘hybrid’ adhesive different to conventional adhesive systems?
ICCONS® BIS-HY combines the superior strength of Epoxy with a fast cure Vinylester. BIS-HY is a rapid cure, styrene free, non-sag, extreme performance Hybrid Injection Adhesive. BIS-HY is suitable for rebar, threaded studs and inserts in cracked and non-cracked concrete and Australia’s first rapid cure with Seismic C2 approval for threaded rod.
– Extreme strength and load performance
– Fast 30-minute cure at 20ºC dry concrete
– Working time in three minutes
– Perfect for Rebar
– ETA approved for cracked concrete
– Perfect for threaded studs and inserts
– Fire resistant
– Low VOC for green projects
– Competitively priced
Complimenting ICCONS® extensive range of approved adhesive solutions is ICCONS® team of engineers and technical sales representatives, who provide around the clock support with tenders, design specification and site support.
Alongside ICCONS® support network is its DesignFiX Software. This Anchor Design Software is available for free download, and allows engineers, project managers, site engineers and end users to calculate complex mechanical or chemical heavy duty anchor arrangements in minutes.
The team at ICCONS® pride themselves on being at the forefront of National Code Compliant (NCC) products, and in doing so pioneered the introduction of seismic C1 and C2 tested Mechanical and Chemical anchors into Australia and
ICCONS® commitment to providing the construction industry with the best in construction supplies is demonstrated in its extensive range of existing code compliant products, and constant introduction of new and innovative products to the market.
For more information visit: www.iccons.com.au.
Soudal contact adhesive 110LQ
Sealants adhesives and foams manufacturer Soudal, recently launched 110LQ Contact Adhesives into Australia. Contact adhesives are very useful for bonding two surfaces that may not have access to moisture. If a moisture curing adhesive is applied for this application, the adhesive may not dry due to the lack of moisture. A contact adhesive is applied on both surfaces and when all the solvents have evaporated and the adhesive is almost dry and no longer tacky, both surfaces will adhere together immediately. Contact adhesives have superior holding strength and do not require clamps to hold the substrate together. This kind of adhesive is suitable for non-porous materials but also works well for porous materials. Soudal 110LQ Contact Adhesive is a ready to use solvent construction adhesive based on polychloroprene rubber. It exhibits high initial tack and fast build-up of end strength, high adhesive strength, and is fast drying and moisture resistant once used. It is easy to apply by using brush, rollers or a trowel by spreading the adhesive on the surface evenly. It is high heat resistant to withstand temperatures up to 130°C after the adhesive has been applied. Having 22 per cent (by weight) total solid con-
tent means that there is enough usable adhesive on every packaging. Solvent is added on the compound for easier application and will evaporate completely before attaching both surfaces. Soudal 110LQ Contact Adhesive works on and bonds best to materials like rubbers, veneers, metals, leather, cork, plastics, felt and wood. The most common usage for contact adhesives in homes are for larger surfaces like laminate countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. One of the advantages of using contact adhesive is once the two surfaces are bonded or attached together, the job is done and it can be used instantly. For more information visit: www.soudal.com.au or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joins as good as new – in just one step
Having new, fresh bright white silicone joins is now easier with Loctite Re-New, the innovative silicone technology that can be applied to existing joins in one simple step without the need for any preparation work, finishing touches, tools – or experience.
About 70 per cent of the population have mouldy dirty joins at home with 44 per cent leaving joins unrepaired, even though mouldy joins look unsightly, cracked and mildewed joins allow leaks, discoloration or harmful spores to appear.
Until now, replacing old sealants required using a cartridge gun, taping the areas around the joins and waiting 24 hours before taking a shower. Th is was way too complex, messy and time consuming so the only alternative was to hire a tradesman and bear the high costs.
Loctite Re-New is a totally new way of sealing that enables anyone to get a new clean, white silicone join in just one step without removing the old join. The new pen applicator makes sealant jobs as easy as using a highlighter. Once the cap is opened, Re-New is simply applied over the existing join. In addition, the new pen applicator has an auto-smoothing feature that makes it easy to smooth the join, creating a professional look.
Loctite Re-New is simple to correct and can be easily removed immediately with a cloth and applied again. This is thanks to the innovative Henkel exclusive Silicotec 2.0 formula offering optimum adhesion on silicone, exceptional water resistance and excellent flexibility. Loctite Re-New is odourless and solvent-free; its re-enforced anti-mould sealant formula also kills, cleans and prevents mould in the long term. One tube of Loctite Re-New can cover five to seven metres and is suitable for all types of silicone joins in bathrooms, showers, toilets, laundry rooms and kitchens. Loctite Re-New is the sealing solution for everyone, as easy as using a highlighter and with results as good as a tradesman.
* Source: MR Online PULSE in Germany Feb. 2015 (IN – 2015 – 530) & Global study, sealants DIY penetration in Germany.