IN DEPTH: FASTENERS
New materials, focuses on speed and durability, and other factors are driving fastener performance forward.
BY: CRAIG A SHUTT
Fastener manufacturers are continually adjusting and adding to their product lines as new challenges arise in the market. Sometimes, those challenges arise from new materials being introduced, while others stem from customers’ demands for more efficiency and durability.
“The materials being used in projects keep changing, which means fasteners have to adapt to meet the new needs,” explains Bevan Wulfenstein, marketing director at Grabber Construction Products. “This is an ongoing challenge for us. Every time we think things have settled down and nothing new will be coming, something comes up. We always monitor what’s going on with new materials. We never know in advance, so we have to stay up-to-date on our own.”
Changes occur for a variety of reasons, including a lack of supply for existing materials, new technologies and code requirements. “We’re seeing more use of plantation lumber, which grows fast and isn’t as stable as slower-growth wood,” reports Clark Allen, product manager for fasteners at Simpson Strong-Tie. “That creates challenges to secure fastening. We’ve been seeing this trend for the last two or three years.”
New Needs Arise
Engineered lumber products also are evolving and gaining fastener manufacturers’ attention. “Prefabricated shearwall panels are growing in use,” says Marty Ruch, vice president of retail sales at USP Structural Connectors. These applications, begun in California, have spread to the Midwest and Northeast, he adds. “We’re developing new sizes of fasteners to meet the demand.”