Route to Fastener Innovation Review 16 May 2019

A key attraction of Fastener Fair Stuttgart is always the opportunity to assess new products and services that exhibitors have brought to the market via the Route to Fastener Innovation Competition 2019.

Fastener + Fixing Magazine once again sponsored the Route to Fastener Innovation (RTFI) Competition and had the unenviable task of deciding which of the twenty-seven entrants of high calibre innovative technologies should be awarded the accolade of ‘Fastener Technology Innovator 2019’.

After studying all of the innovations, it was a unanimous decision that the first place award should go to TR Fastenings for its patented new fastening solution, EPW thread forming screw for thin sheet metal.

The EPW screw is a self-extruding, high strength thread form fastener, which creates its own female thread in punched sheet metal, thereby dramatically reducing assembly times and costs. The screw works by being aligned to the pilot hole in the sheet metal, where it then forms the extruded collar, combining the forming of the thread and the creation of a strong extruded profile, before finally tightening and clamping into the metal.

The EPW screw is designed to function best in thin sheet materials, typically steel (0.4mm – 1mm thick) and aluminium (0.4mm – 1.5mm thick). It is available in a variety of surface coatings from standard zinc plating to zinc nickel and organic zinc flake for higher corrosion resistance. The screw is also suitable for use in a variety of applications for home appliances, automotive, electronics, technology, energy, medical, telecoms and general industry sectors.

“Thanks to its special shape and design, the EPW screw is able to create structural and reliable connections on very thin sheet metal without adding extra reinforcements. This obviously leads to significant time and cost savings for our customers who would usually need to use additional measures to achieve the same results,” explains Enrico De Angelis, engineer and inventor of the EPW screw at TR VIC.

“Personally, being the inventor of the EPW, I am thrilled that we have won this award, and we have done so thanks to a close-knit, highly competent and knowledgeable team. However, I don’t see it as a goal achieved, but instead the beginning of a new challenge and an open door to achieve yet more success and be even more innovative in the products we develop.”

“As a team, we are extremely proud of our capability to create innovative products to meet customer needs. We thought the RTFI competition was a great way to celebrate this capability and to showcase the products we have developed,” comments Enrico.

Second place was awarded to Ingramatic, part of the SACMA Group, for its smallest threader inspired by its I-Thread concept, the Micro threader model RP020, W00/W000 die sizes, for the high-speed production of very precise miniature screws.

The well known modular ‘I-Thread’ machine line provides many innovative features such as the motorisation of the die match; a single starter unit driven by torque motor motion; and the patented double starter unit driven by servomotors. These two types of starter units have, as a standard function, the self-learning adjustment of the starter fingers to make the set-up of the blank introduction easy and quick. Ingramatic states it is the first worldwide company having engineered a solution for the whole range of machines from M1 to M33.

The new machine is equipped with the latest technologies available such as an innovative tool holder, an introduction system driven by a torque motor for an ultra-precise introduction of the miniature blanks into the dies. The most innovative feature is the slide body running on linear guides (with ball circulation skates) in order to ensure a very high accuracy for the rolling operation allowing the production of the parts with an extreme precision and reliability. The drive transmission of the RP020 is made by an innovative double helical drive belt connecting the brushless main motor with an absolute master encoder. This new type of drive with double helical belt favours higher torque and precision.

The RP020 is also equipped with the same advanced functions of the ‘I-Thread’ machines, such as the self-learning adjustments of the starter unit. Plus, the introducer stroke can be adjusted by the operator panel or by means of the electronic handwheel, so technicians don’t need to make any manual adjustment with service wrenches, ensuring speed and accuracy of measure change. To guaranty durability and precision, the frame is made of spheroidal cast iron and the SC-Matic interface ensure the management of the motorised adjustments.

“This award confirms our dedicated commitment to offer products with an easy set-up, which have an amazing combination between robustness and high-tech features,” comments Frederic Nathan, sales management at SACMA Group. “We are very proud to have been rewarded for our latest introduction in the Route to Fastener Innovation competition as we consider Fastener + Fixing Magazine to be one of the most valuable publications in the fastener world, representing a fundamental reference in our business,” explains Frederic.

With its technical know-how and use of simulation software, and numerous laboratory tests, Growermetal Srl was awarded third place for its GROWER TENKEEP® flat safety washer, which was launched at the show.

When compared to other safety washers on the market, GROWER TENKEEP® safety washer has knurls with a different geometry on each side of the two surfaces – specially designed to ensure maximum performance against unscrewing of the bolted joints even in the presence of extreme vibrations and dynamic loads.

In fact, thanks to the different geometry of its surfaces, the GROWER TENKEEP safety washer becomes immediately solid to the bearing surface when the bolted joint is tightened, while the screw continues to rotate. In this way the friction conditions are defined and uniform and therefore the tightening torque to be applied in order to reach the required preload of the screw is independent from the material and the mechanical characteristics of the supporting surface. There is no damage of the supporting surface during its application, even on galvanised or painted surfaces.

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Content Director

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888


Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 15 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.