As automotive and aviation engineers continue to pursue material weight reduction, use of components made of aluminum and magnesium are increasing, while the wall thickness of components is getting thinner.
Use of two typical methods for joining fasteners to sheet metal – welding, and self-clinching fasteners – run into constraints with lighter thinner materials. Certain metals, such as aluminum, cannot even be welded to carbon steel fasteners, because the melting point of the metals is too different. As to self-clinching fasteners, if the metal is too thin, it won’t deform properly to form the fastener bond.
Süleyman Kahraman, an engineer with Fecon R&D, describes a new method of clinching with fasteners, which he calls 3Fs, in an article in Fastener & Fixing Magazine.
The approach does not require holes for the fastener, and uses a punch as part of its process. “Basically, the fastener is not exposed to plastic deformation, which is the main difference between the 3Fs method and the present SCF solution for thin sheet metal,” Kahraman says. Read the article here.