Thanks to its technical knowledge and flexibility, Star Fasteners can suggest exclusive solutions for specific applications, as well as work on bespoke products for critical applications.
Star Fasteners Ltd deals with a broad spectrum of companies and thanks to its 30 years of experience can suggest simple solutions that offer a better final installation, whilst also being cost-effective. “Technical knowledge is vital when working with customers because if there is a problem with a particular application you need to be able to understand the process involved so that you can suggest viable alternatives – otherwise you may lose the business,” explains Daniel Starbuck, director at Star Fasteners.
Star Fasteners can work with customers to solve existing problems with an installation, as well as be involved at the initial design stage – which enables it to suggest an optimum solution. “In our experience, customers want support and technical advice to help them pick the right product. That is what we look to offer,” adds Nicola Smith, director at Star Fasteners. “Yes, we could just sell them a product, but for us it is more important to offer the ideal solution and build a partnership with customers.”
A key feature of Star Fasteners’ service is that its employees can meet customers on-site to find out directly what problems they are encountering. “We often find that the wrong products are being used for the application or they are being installed incorrectly – such as over tightening,” states Daniel. “By going to the customer’s site, we can see exactly what requirements there are, as well as what access restrictions are involved. We can then suggest two or three options that will provide a solution.”
This commitment to its customers has seen the company gain a reputation as a solutions provider and a key contact for new application designs and developments. “A lot of designers have got to know us over the years and if they are fastening something new they contact us to ask what solution we would recommend,” reports Daniel. “The reason is that our suggestions often help them reduce the overall costs of an application, plus the benefits the product can provide – time saving at production, warranty saving, as well as the potential for reducing weight.”
Star Fasteners is the UK’s largest distributor of the Huck brand and has a very close relationship with Arconic on designing products. “We have been a Huck distributor for over 30 years and Arconic are very proactive and work with us on ideas. The Huck range has an excellent reputation in the market for the quality of the products, as well as the support available to customers. As a distributor that is vital when you are talking to customers about new projects,” explains Daniel. “We have been involved in a lot of products that Arconic has introduced to the market under the Huck range and we have lots of other ideas that we can see becoming possible in the future.”
Penta-Lok for composite panels
A prime example of that partnership is the Penta-Lok fastener designed specifically for the composite panel market. “A few years ago we had a customer that wanted a better fastener to fix into a side restraint on a truck trailer. The fastener they had been using kept coming loose and new products would need to be installed,” explains Daniel. “After looking at the application I had an idea of using a fixing that had been around for a few years, but changing the head style to make it more suitable for the application. I wanted a fastener that would peel back like a daisy fixing, but with a domed head.”
Daniel continues: “We spoke to Arconic and they could see the potential. By modifying some existing products, they created the solution and tests showed it had good results. It has taken over three years to get the finished product, but we are now in the final stages of introducing the Penta-Lok to the market.”
The Penta-Lok is an easy to install, 6.4mm diameter, plated steel, peel fastener with superior blind side strength. Due to its high pull-out strength, Penta-Lok is suited for use within thin materials or delicate composites, as well as within misaligned, oversized, or slotted holes. Its uniquely engineered peel system installs with ease into shallow panels.
Coloured Hucktainer pins for truck livery
Another joint development by Star Fasteners and Arconic has been the plastic headed Hucktainer®, which is available in any colour head. “The encapsulated Hucktainer has been available in the market for many years,” reports Daniel. “However, it was only available to us in grey. We had customers contacting us saying they wanted to use the products directly on truck panels to match the colour of their livery. Previously they were painting over the grey headed Hucktainer, but if the paint was for some reason scraped it showed the grey colour again. We therefore considered the possibility of offering the range in all colours, so they can be used on different coloured applications, with no need for any painting.”
With the new plastic head for the Hucktainer Star Fasteners wanted to ensure there was no water ingress into the panel, which meant it needed a seal that stops anything getting under the head. Also, the problem with a lot of other plastic heads is they crack and fall off – which again leads to water ingress and corrosion issues. After a lot of testing Star ended up with a product that it was confident would be the perfect solution.
Star Fasteners now keeps the original Hucktainer pins in stock, without the seal. As soon as it gets an order it sends the pins to its manufacturer and gets them encapsulated with the chosen colour. It can offer hundreds of different colours and can supply the product across Europe. It can even offer a next day service for special requirements.
Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.
Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.