Global automotive fastener market witnessing significant advancements; Böllhoff aims to offer specialised fasteners
The global automotive fastener market is witnessing significant advancements over the years. Gurugram-based Böllhoff Fastenings India, a subsidiary of Germany headquartered Böllhoff Group, has carved out its presence manufacturing niche fasteners for automotive, aerospace & other industries. Auto Tech Review caught up with Wilhelm Alexander Böllhoff, Managing Partner, Böllhoff Group, to understand the advancements in the automotive fastener space, its Indian journey among others.
Böllhoff Group enjoys a wider global footprint – it has a presence across 24 countries and operates 12 facilities and manufactures various specialised fasteners under four major product categories - Thread Technology (PC THT), Blind Rivet Technology (PC BRT), Mechanical Joining Technology (PC MJT) & Injection Moulding Technology (PC IMT). As far as the Indian story is concerned, Böllhoff Fastenings India had commenced its India operations in 2007, importing fasteners from its various global plants and decided to walk down the ‘localisation’ road and subsequently rolled out HELICOIL® and AMTEC® fasteners in India in 2011.
AMTEC® fasteners are thread inserts for plastic moulded components that offer reliable fastening solution in brass, steel and aluminium material at a faster cycle time. Böllhoff said these AMTEC® fasteners are installed in critical plastic moulded components around the engine like air intake manifolds, cylinder head cover, engine cooling module, intercooler, air filters and fuel filters.
HELICOIL® fasteners are thread inserts for low strength material like aluminium, aluminium-magnesium alloys die cast components and fibre reinforced plastics that ensure reliable fastening solution in stainless steel material. HELICOIL® fasteners are deployed in the automotive as well as in the aerospace industry. These specialised fasteners are predominantly installed in passenger car as well as commercial vehicles largely around five areas – engine block, transmission case, crankcase, flywheel and cylinder head, noted Böllhoff.
There is an increasing focus on lightweight construction across the automotive industry, as fuel economy is linked to the overall weight of the vehicle and the Böllhoff Group Managing Partner said HELICOIL® fasteners can play a significant role towards achieving the fuel economy goal by delivering slight downsizing of cross-sectional thickness of aluminium die cast parts.
And that’s not all - HELICOIL® fasteners also help achieve reliable joints or reliable fastening. It effectively means that if such a fastener is installed in a casting thread, the thread will never wear off nor one would see any thread washout, explained Böllhoff.
Automotive OEMs using HELICOIL® fasteners can enjoy threaded joint reliability, thread re-enforcement and lightweight construction, said the Böllhoff senior official.
Böllhoff Fastenings India not only provides fastening solutions, but also supplies the machinery to assemble all the elements together. Such an arrangement enables customers to understand the value addition offered beyond riveting applications, and the process engineering that goes along with the development of a final product, the Böllhoff Group Managing Partner asserted.
Riding high on the successful localisation of HELICOIL® and AMTEC® fasteners, Böllhoff Fastenings India is now exploring the option of manufacturing its third product in India - RIVKLE fasteners.
RIVKLE is a nut insert for sheet metal components that ensure reliable fastening solution in steel and stainless steel material. RIVKLE fasteners can be deployed in automotive parts such as cross-car beam, roof rails, front end carrier, tail gate, fender, HVAC, diffuser, cradle and chassis among others. It may be noted that the RIVKLE technology is a replacement of the conventional weldnut technology – it can be used on ferrous as well as on non-ferrous material such as aluminium & plastics. RIVKLE fasteners can be installed on blind applications, where there is only one side access for setting a nut, such as a rectangular pipe. The RIVKLE technology is also environmentally-friendly as it negates any fume creation as is the case in the conventional weldnut technology, Böllhoff explained. Further, such specialised fasteners ensure a faster cycle time as it can be installed within seconds. Last but not the least, a RIVKLE can be installed on a painted or a surface treated component without spoiling the coating or plating at all, which is not possible in a weldnut.
Böllhoff Fastenings India intends to manufacture RIVKLE fasteners at its recently inaugurated state-of-the-art facility at Gurugram. The seniorBöllhoff official said the refurbished facility on the back of a newly thought-out production layout will not only scale up production capacities but also improve material flow, thus minimising waste.
Going forward, Böllhoff Fastenings India sees manufacturing plastic fasteners as its next leg of expansion. The company has been growing more than 20 % over the last five years and aims to clock 15 % year-on-year growth till 2021.
Böllhoff Fastenings India is enduring the prevailing slowdown in the Indian automotive industry and expects sales to pick up in 2020 post BS-VI launch.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua