The Nuts and Bolts of American Industry

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Anyone who has ever walked onto a factory floor might have some concept of the vast number of parts necessary to keep a machine moving. Hundreds of pieces are essential to the function of each unit, and without even one of them, the whole system could grind to a halt. It is these small pieces that keep American industry running smoothly, though most of us have almost no awareness of them. Little by little, we’ve been working on shedding some light on the individual parts that keep the great American machine running. Today, we’ll look at stem casters, flange bearings, coupling nuts, and hydraulic pumps and cylinders.

The Fasteners

It’s quite incredible that pieces as tiny as nails, rivets, washers, and bolts are so essential to our ways of life. Still, the truth is that if the average person were asked to name as many fasteners as he or she could think of, the list would probably be woefully short. Even within categories, there are a number of additional breakdowns. For example, nuts alone come in 32 different varieties. Coupling nuts are among those varieties that are rarely recognized. Also known as extension nuts, they are used to join lengths of threaded rod or to space applications with leveling feet or jig fixtures. Their outsides are typically hexes, allowing them to be adjusted with wrenches.

The Power Transmitters

Fasteners might hold everything together, but it’s power transmitters that keep it moving. The number of power transmitters available is staggering, though we’ll focus only on two types today. Hydraulic cylinders are used as motors for systems and include hydraulic pumps. They’re equipped with pistons dividing the inside of the cylinder into two chambers. Bearings also fall under the power transmission category. Flange bearings in particular are the most cost efficient ball bearings that still simplify the process. Also known as plane bearings, flange bearings allow smooth, low-friction motion between two surfaces. The load is supported through the motion of one solid surface against another.

The Material Handlers

After a product is completed, there are still bits and pieces essential to its transport. Pallet trucks, dollies, conveyors, and carts are all critical parts of American industry, and they wouldn’t get car without wheels and casters. Casters, the pieces holding wheels in place and affixing them to their loads, come in four varieties: plate casters, stem casters, bracket casters, and socket casters. Plate casters have flat tops, stem casters have fastener tops, bracket casters are topped with brackets, and socket casters allow for the insertion of a fastener. Stem casters are one of the more common types and can come with threaded, friction, or mounting-capable stems.

The list of bits and pieces that keep industry moving is all but endless. Stay tuned for more about the little chunks of metal that move us along. References:

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