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Video: ActSafe trusts the proven quality of Nord-Lock washers

Actsafe trusts the proven quality of Nord-Lock washers.

Securing bolted joints is about safety for installers and the public alike. Watch how the company ActSafe trusts the proven quality of Nord-Lock wedge-locking washers for their power ascenders. For when failure is not an option.


Advantage iDapt

6 October 2015

Text: Ulf Wiman

photo: Dunlop


First published in Bolted #2 2015.

Customer: Dunlop Sports Group
Launch: USA 2014, globally 2015–2016
Concept: Customisable look and feel
Product: iDapt tennis rackets

Despite continuous changes in material – from wood to metal to carbon fibre – tennis racket construction has remained pretty much intact. Dunlop’s iDapt range changes the game.

Now tennis players can adapt the racket look and performance to fit their individual preferences. Choosing from different racket heads, shock sleeves and handles, a total of 432 combinations are possible.

The concept is in line with current trends, where consumers have come to expect that they should be able to personalise goods such as mobile phones. “The iDapt range has attracted a younger audience and more women to Dunlop’s customer base,” says Hunter Hines, Dunlop Director of Marketing and Product Development.

Tennis rackets are subject to huge amounts of stress. Ever-changing hitting angles, ball speed and forces lead to vibration, twisting, deformation and settling issues. Looking to upgrade the iDapt construction, Dunlop turned to Nord-Lock. “We did some research and the design of the X-series washers was exactly what we were looking for,” Hines says. “They help make the connection more secure and resistant to both vibration and settlements better than any other washer we tried.”

Check out our Superbolt product video

New Superbolt Tensioners Explainer Video

We are pleased to present our Superbolt product video. It is available on the Nord-Lock Group YouTube channel, and is also embedded below:

This new video explains Superbolt multi-jackbolt tensioner technology, demonstrates how it works, and illustrates how Superbolt tensioners can benefit you. Because only hand tools are needed for installation and removal of any size tensioner, worker safety is greatly increased versus other bolting methods. This video is also available for download in WMV format here.

Interested in learning more?

The Experts: Tightening Superbolt


First published in Bolted #2 2015.

Q: Why should I tighten a Superbolt initially in a crosswise pattern?

A: The crosswise pattern is necessary because the main thread of the multi-jackbolt tensioners needs to be centered with the main thread of the stud during the whole tightening procedure.

This is to prevent an uneven load distribution in the nut body. After you have tightened the jackbolts crosswise with 100% recommended torque, change to a circular tightening pattern to tighten all jackbolts to their full capacity.

Note: Loosening always uses a circular pattern.


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Safety secures trust

In public infrastructure projects, there can be no compromise on the safety front. For more than 30 years, unsurpassed safety has been synonymous with the Nord-Lock Group.


Bridges and railways are much more than parts of a transportation network. They are vital components of public infrastructure, where community investment includes trust in the ongoing safety and performance of the application. Living up to that trust means there can be no compromise on the parts and materials that, at the end of the day, are essential to ensuring critical services with minimum risk of failure and harm.

That’s a lot of responsibility. And though the thousands of train passengers crossing the Hohenzollern Bridge daily are unlikely to give it much thought, they are benefitting from the vigilance of the German Federal Railway Authority and Deutsche Bahn and its partnership with ThyssenKrupp Schulte.

The latter supplies the unique SBS (Steel Beam Sleepers) that are capable of handling the tremendous strain on the bridge’s sleepers and tracks caused by accelerating or braking trains.  And to fasten and secure the SBS positions, ThyssenKrupp Schulte chose Nord-Lock washers.

It pays to make sure

There were other options. There always are. But ThyssenKrupp Schulte put the Nord-Lock washers through single test cycles at the Technical University of Munich. And subsequently chose the solution that would ultimately live up to the safety standards they stand for.

For Nord-Lock, it was more confirmation that their commitment to unparalleled safety is what sets them apart. Nord-Lock is the original innovator of wedge-locking technology. The company’s products are designed for superior performance in the most extreme conditions, providing effective bolt security throughout an application’s lifetime. Since 1982, Nord-Lock washers and Superbolt tensioners have secured billions of bolts in millions of applications all over the world, earning a record for unsurpassed safety and making the company a natural first choice on safety-sensitive projects.

The Nord-Lock commitment to safety is also confirmed in its collaboration with external testing centers and research institutes. The company’s products have been awarded a wide range of certifications from independent testing facilities including AbP, ABS,

DIBt, DNV-GL, TÜV and more. In-house laboratories and verification centers in Europe, North America and Asia ensure quality standards for any application worldwide are consistently high.

One very tangible result of this focus is that Nord-Lock has become a trusted partner, resource and industry voice for bolt securing. Clients often turn to Nord-Lock for advice and insights on securing, especially on challenging or unique applications. Working closely with their clients, Nord-Lock’s expert technical teams use and share their knowledge, insights and expertise to support the project from initial planning to installation and ongoing maintenance. Perhaps that’s why the company boasts an impressive long-term client list, featuring ongoing partnerships with leading brands around the world.

Building trust worldwide

The Hohenzollern Bridge is one of Cologne’s most recognizable landmarks, and a vital link across the Rhine to connect the city’s two main train stations. About 1,200 trains cross the bridge daily, making it one of the busiest rail bridges in Germany. Each of its 1,346 beams is fitted with Nord-Lock washers.

Nord-Lock washers are also securing the more than 8000 SBS sleepers on 50 other bridges throughout Germany. The reality is that leading public infrastructure developers and suppliers put their reputations on the line with their choice of commissioned materials and support technologies. The public puts their trust in the project managers, builders and engineers. And judging by the company’s presence in major projects globally, managers, builders and engineers are putting their trust in Nord-Lock, number 1 in bolt securing systems.

Powerful circles

22 September 2015

Text: Ulrich Schamari

photo: SCHADE


First published in Bolted #2 2015.

Customer: SCHADE Lagertechnik GmbH
Item: Circular storage unit for lignite
Length Of Scraper Boom: approx. 41 metres
Height: approx. 40 metres
Diameter: approx. 95 metres
Stacking/Unstacking: 2,200 t lignite/h

Circular storage units for bulk goods require very little space and have a high storage capacity. A slewing scraper with a double-strand chain and wear-resistant scraper blades ensures that the stockpiled bulk goods are discharged again.

A technical challenge is the horizontal guiding of the scoops by means of centre guide rollers screwed onto the scraper. Vibrations here can cause problems with fastening. The German company SCHADE Lagertechnik has resolved this ­issue on an enormous circular lignite storage unit in the USA, using Nord-Lock wedge lock washers.

Engineer Klaus Lechte, Technical Order Processing at SCHADE Lagertechnik, explains the vibrations on the scraper boom: “We use a chain system in which the links run over sprockets. The polygon effect created here generates a push–pull tension, which is responsible for some of the vibrations.”

SCHADE Lagertechnik needed screw connectors that could not be loosened to secure the centre guide rollers. Nord-Lock supplied wedge locking washers with an enlarged outer dia­meter, which makes the connections absolutely secure. Nord-Lock securing system means that it is no longer necessary to weld the nuts into place or apply a high preload to the system, which could lead to plastic deformation. Nord-Lock offers the advantage of significantly lower tightening torques.

Bolting Failure Analysis

17 September 2015

Text: Martin Neander

photo: Getty, Illustrations: Nord-Lock, Justus hultgren

Nuts and bolts are used everywhere. A bolting failure at home is usually only a minor nuisance. However, a similar failure at a nuclear power plant could be catastrophic, which is why bolt failure analysis of damaged bolted joints is so vital.


First published in Bolted #2 2015.

There are many reasons why bolting failures happen. In fact, they are often caused by a combination of factors.

According to Laurent Dastas, a Bolting Analysis Expert at Alstom Transport, there are four main root causes that explain bolt failure:

1. The tightening operation was forgotten.
2. The tightening tool was not accurate enough regarding tightening tolerances.
3. An error in the fastener’s steel class.
4. A failure in the tightening sequence.

In technical terms, there are two main types of bolting failure: static failures and fatigue – also called dynamic – failures. “The use of electronic keys, for the simultaneous recording of couples and angle-values during the tightening operation, allows securing on every assembly according to these four parameters,” says Laurent Dastas.

Static failures are generally easy to identify. For instance, they occur during overloading, after overtightening of the assembly, through an accident of external loads, or due to a ‘non-conforming product’.

Fatigue failure is often more complex, because the fatigue develops during the service cycle. There can be cracks in the material, such as in the fasteners, the threads of the bolt, or any component of the assembly. These cracks will increase and propagate on the normal section (stress section) of the screw before the total failure of the assembly.

“Actually, crack-related damage is the most dangerous failure in a bolted assembly,” says Zouhair Chaib, Senior Technical Expert at Nord-Lock.

In fatigue failures, the assembly can be correctly tightened at first. However, after external loading, the bolted joint starts to lose the force of the preloads due, for instance, to relaxation or self-loosening.

“When the loss of preload starts, it is not so easy to stop,” Chaib says. “When losing preload, both the alternated stress and the sliding between parts increase. When the sliding is repeated, more and more preload is lost.”

The alternated stress also continues to grow, eventually resulting in a fatigue crack. Under the external and cyclic loads, the fatigue crack will propagate. After some propagation of the screw, and when there is enough capacity against the fatigue load, total failure occurs. A fatigue crack can be initiated by corrosion or an impurity in the screw material, by cutting quality of threads or by an accidental load (impact).

When multiple screws are involved, the failure of one screw can overload other screws nearby. Overloading will then create a chain reaction of failures that happens very quickly, and it does not have to occur many times before the screws start to propagate.

“In terms of fatigue failures, one never knows when the fatigue, the cracks, and the total failure of the assembly will appear,” Chaib says. “Generally, the fatigue failure appears suddenly, and comes as a most unwelcome surprise.“

One way of finding out why a failure occurred is by using the Ischikawa (fishbone) diagram. This method is often used by Nord-Lock Technical Center when helping its customers.

“Once there is a failure, before replacing the existing assembly and changing parts, the customer needs to secure the environment,” Chaib says. “Pictures of all parts need to be taken and all parts must be marked with a number. It is also important not to touch the failure surfaces, contact surfaces or threads. We also need a description of the accident and the failure conditions to quickly identify the problem.”

The customer also needs to protect all the parts against corrosion during transportation to the Technical Center for analysis – this is to avoid any erroneous assumption that crack failures were due to corrosion, when they were not.

“By doing all this, the customer helps us to analyse the situation quickly and accurately, which enables us to give a prompt answer and solution,” Chaib says. “After doing this, changing the assembly is no longer critical. The customer can change any endangered parts to continue production, for example.”

Customers often have constraints and need to restart production as soon as possible. For this reason, it is very important to check and verify the assembly during transit. In the meantime, the customer and the expert analysts can work together to find the best and most accurate solution to replace the existing assembly.

At Nord-Lock Technical Center, all components are checked and photos taken of all damaged parts. In some cases, a 3D microscope is used to compare and control some factors. External partner laboratories can also be asked to perform additional analyses. Finally, the results are analysed and the overall picture is defined.

“In our laboratory, we can carry out vibration, torque and preload tests,” Chaib says. “We can also test the manner of the screw for instance – to be completely sure that the proposed solution will work correctly and safely.”

“At the Technical Center, we analyse several situations, identify the cause and propose a technical solution to the problem,” he continues. “We always take into account many other aspects, such as economical, practical and operational factors.”

The tensioner case:

Superbolt tensioners are used for their preload accuracy and because they allow the introduction of a high level of preload with a small torque.

One customer tested a multi-jackbolt from another manufacturer in a structure. After some time, a failure of the structure occurred and the customer asked Nord-Lock to investigate.

“We used the 3D microscope to analyse the failure,” Chaib says. “We understood that the main cause of the failure was fatigue, and that preload had accelerated it.“

The observed matting at the end of the jackbolts suggested that the preload was correctly introduced, but when the ‘course of jackbolts’ distance between the end of the jackbolt and the nut body was examined, there was a large difference in all the multi-jackbolts. One jackbolt had zero course. This was due to a self-loosening of the jackbolt.

“We also checked the capacity of the copy tensioner against the self-loosening, concluding that this factor was not considered by the copy tensioner,” Chaib says. “When we compared the copy with our tensioner, they both had the same thread diameter, the same material, and the same outside diameter, but some particularities of the multi-jackbolts were not respected.”

The tensioner had a good static capacity, but there was still the issue of self-loosening that caused the fatigue failure.

The clamp length case:

The customer used a standard bolted-joint solution, while having a damaged assembly. The customer replaced the assembly with new bolts, nuts, flat washers and spacers, took pictures and sent in the damaged parts. The customer also sent CAD, to provide information about the situation and the external load.

The customer had used spacers to increase the clamp length, and believed that this would resolve the problem. After re-starting the machine, the same failure occurred.

“After analysing the customer’s assembly, we understood that there was a fatigue failure,” Chaib says. “The assembly was highly preloaded. High preload is not dangerous, and is a good solution generally. We had to look for another reason for the failure and investigate further.”

We concluded that, in this situation, there was a high shear loading – a transversal loading. The customer needed to use the same clamp length as before, but increase the preload level by increasing the torque and the grade of the screw to be able to use a securing solution. For transversal load, the best solution was to increase the preload and maintain it using securing solutions.

“We suggested the customer use a Nord-Lock washer to protect his assembly against self-loosening,” Chaib says. “With our solution, he required a few modifications to his assembly: two Nord-Lock washers with a high grade bolt (10.9) and a suitable torque.”

The thread failure case:

The customer had lost half of its assembly, but there was no visible damage to the threads.

“We asked the customer for additional information about the estimated load, and about the condition of the assembly,” Chaib says. “The customer said it was subjected to shock load, but no fatigue load. “

“When we looked into the structure’s external profile, there was minor plastic deformation at the end of the threads. We also observed axial traces along the threads, and a non-constant outside diameter.”

The analysts identified a potential failure scenario: the outside diameter and the material properties were not resistant enough to support the hoop stress introduced by the thread angle and axial load. Under a full load, part one expanded (radial elongation) and, due to the fine pitch, part two slipped and separated from part one.

“To validate this scenario, we performed a FEM (Finite Element Method) calculation and compared the measured diameter to the FEM dia­meter (after axial loading) and the thread form given by FEM and reality,” Chaib says.

FEM results were so similar to reality that his scenario was accepted and a practical solution was proposed:

  • Increase the outside diameter of the threaded part.
  • Use coarse pitch.
  • Use a stiff material (high Young’s modulus).
  • Optimised form of part one.

The most common reasons for bolt failures:

1. Human error.
2. Material defects, e.g. an impurity in the material that initiates fatigue cracks.
3. Tools that are not correctly calibrated.
4. Design.
5. When the external load is underestimated or wrong assumptions are made.
6. Calculation, e.g. the torque or stress in the bolt is miscalculated.

Bolting failure analysis in brief:
The owner of the failed bolt assembly should do the following:
1. Secure the environment of the failed assembly.
2. Take pictures of all parts.
3. Number all components.
4. Protect the parts against corrosion.
5. Describe the accident and failure conditions carefully.

Nord-Lock Technical Center’s method:
1. Identify the problem.
2. Check all components and take photos of all damaged parts.
3. Use a 3D microscope to compare and control factors.
4. Use the Ishikawa diagram to figure out the possible failure factors.
5. Carry out relevant tests, e.g. vibration, torque and preload tests.
6. Ask partner laboratories to perform an additional analysis.
7. Analyse the results, define the main realistic scenario and present it to the customer.
8. Define practical solutions (economical, safe and easy to install).

Contact information for the Nord-Lock Technical Center in Lyon, France:
Office: + 33 4 37 25 90 30
Fax: + 33 4 37 25 85 77

What are the root causes of a bolt failure? All in the latest Bolted!

See how we get to the root cause of a bolt failure in the latest issue of Bolted.


The highly anticipated September edition of Bolted magazine is starting to reach our subscribers worldwide. Let’s explore together interesting cases and insights from the world of bolt securing here on our blog! Check for regular updates, we have plenty to share.

To begin with, this issue of Bolted features an in-depth article on bolting failure analysis, in which we are explaining more about our approach to finding the root cause of a bolt failure and how we solve our customers’ problems. Read what Nord-Lock experts have to say about factors behind a bolt failure and learn about Nord-Lock Technical Center’s capabilities.

We also met with Salim Brahimi to talk about hydrogen embrittlement, a dreaded phenomenon for anyone with high-strength steel bolts. Brahimi received the Industrial Fastener Institute’s 2015 IFI Soaring Eagle award for his “significant contributions to the technological advancement of the industry”. In our article he tells how he is fighting hydrogen embrittlement on multiple fronts.

Don’t miss a reportage from our visit to the Veytaux hydroelectric plant in the Swiss Alps, where we talked to Hydro Exploitation about why they replaced their bolts with Superbolt Expansion bolts. Also, only in this edition you will have the unique opportunity to learn how Dunlop has innovated tennis racket design, or learn from Nord-Lock experts how to improve fatigue resistance of your bolted joint.

Download the full issue, available in seven languages:


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