21 December 2018
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Eradicating the risks

In these days when heightened risk is to be found in so many aspects of our daily lives, designing in security has become paramount.

The global climate has changed significantly over the last few decades when it comes to the way that our daily lives function. The development of mass air travel, smartphones and other technology has completely transformed the way how we operate, but has also led to the need for security features to be incorporated into almost every product around us.

All of which means that manufacturers have to be acutely aware of these heightened risks and therefore design their products not only to function as intended, but also to lessen any potential risks by reducing the ability for the product to be tampered with. Within these design considerations, security fasteners have taken a primary role in the manufacturing process.

What exactly are security fasteners, though, and how do they make a difference? “Not unlike standard fasteners, their basic purpose is to fasten components to their enclosures or to secure product structures together,” explains Paul Standing, branded products commercial manager, TR Fastenings. “However, security fasteners are used when it is important that the enclosed components cannot be tampered with or the structures easily removed, if at all, by anyone other than a specialist technician.”

It is crucial that security fasteners are tamper-resistant, vandal and theft-proof, points out Standing, in order to maintain the functionality of the product they are part of, regardless of the environment, as they are often protecting expensive or function-critical electrical components.

INSIDE VIEW

How do security fasteners work? “Security fasteners are designed in various ways, primarily by incorporating innovative technology made to prevent anyone from undoing them without specialist equipment or training,” he points out. “Usually, the drive on these fasteners is an irregular shape and requires a non-standard drive, such as 2-hole drive security screws (known as pig-nosed fittings) that have two holes in the head, which can be set at varying distance apart. Another example would be security nuts, which are designed to prevent their removal by having features such as a tapered diameter, making them resistant to gripping devices.

The drives on security fasteners require a specialist tool to fasten and unfasten, which are often only made-to-order by the manufacturer, with the possibility of agreements put in place, making sure that they are supplied solely to the ordering customer.

“In addition, it’s possible to design security fasteners to have increased frictional resistance within the bolt, limiting rotation, and thus making it substantially more difficult to allow the nut to be loosened and removed,” he adds. “As their name implies, security fasteners were developed out of a need for security and protection woven into design specifications, in order to protect products from theft and vandalism. However, they have other key uses that are often overlooked.”

HEALTH & SAFETY

Health and safety is certainly one of those areas where their usage is now essential. “The imposition of stricter health and safety laws has been a contributing factor to the increasing use of security fasteners,” says Standing. “They play a fundamental role in public transport systems, such as the London Underground, securing various safety-critical items like control panels, benches, lighting and train handrails. With approximately five million people using the London Underground network daily, coupled with an increase in crime and threats of terrorism, if any of these fastenings were able to be tampered with, there may be significant threat posed to commuters.”

Security fasteners have also become increasingly used for health and safety reasons in the automotive sector. They are used in multiple aspects of vehicle construction, from securing seatbelt fixings, to roof racks, to airbags and structural systems. In addition, on public roads they are used to secure lights and reflective bollards to streets, in order to ensure a safe driving experience.

And then there is the matter of aesthetics. Not only do security fasteners protect against theft and improve health and safety aspects, they are also used due to their discreet appearance. “Unlike standard fastenings, security fasteners can have more of a subtle look and be designed with the products aesthetics in mind. For example, the Science Museum in London uses security fastenings on its valuable exhibits, as they do not deteriorate the look of the item which they are securing.”

These apart, security fastenings are often also used on badges and plaques, designer playgrounds and works of art that are in public places. For example, the shear nuts & bolts have a hexagon part that shears off at a predetermined torque, leaving a smooth, permanent finish.

Available in a range of sizes, these fasteners can be used across product types and variations, and be adjusted to specific environments or requirements. As Standing concludes: “By implementing security and tamper-resistant engineering right at the beginning of the product development phase, we can ensure we are doing all we can to contribute to a safer and more secure world.”

FAST FACTFILE

Security & tamper-resistant fasteners are special headed screws, nuts and bolts that are either permanently fixed or can only be removed using a matching driver tool. Here are just a few that TR Fastenings offers and where they might apply:

Kinmar Permanent – requires a matching driver socket for installation, giving guaranteed torque levels; can be re-torqued, if required. Not governed by a shear point and leaves no unplated surfaces.

Kinmar Removable – requires a matching driver socket for installation and removal. Smooth aesthetically pleasing design makes it extremely versatile.

Nogo – no specialist tools required. You simply hammer the cap into the base, making access to the enclosed nut or bolt near impossible.

Power6 – thread-forming screws, featuring a tri-lobular thread body with a triangular, rather than circular, cross-section. The tri-lobular thread eliminates the need for nuts and pre-tapped holes, reducing labour costs and installation time.

Sentinel – only operates in a clock- wise motion, leaving a permanent finish. For easy and fast application using standard pozi screwdrivers.

Author
Brian Wall

Related Websites

http://www.trfastenings.com

Related Companies

TR Fastenings Ltd

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