ITW Global Fasteners: What makes fasteners from ITW Global Fasteners special to customers?
Massimo S.: Due to ITW’s many years of automotive interior fasteners experience, we fully understand both the flow and issues of the assembly process. We know which questions to ask, especially when our customers are still in the very early stages of construction and do not yet have all the answers. We find out how the part is assembled and what the assembly personnel’s workflows are. We treat each customer as our first, so we do everything to make the assembly work as smooth as possible. With our fastening solutions, assembly errors are kept to a minimum because we introduce parts that fulfil the Poka-Yoke principle.
ITW Global Fasteners: What is the Poka-Yoke principle?
Massimo S.: It means that the fastening material avoids errors by only being able to be installed in the correct way. Because of this, we also know that the installation effort must be very low.
ITW Global Fasteners: Are fasteners custom designed and manufactured by ITW Global Fasteners?
Massimo S.: Every OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) has slightly different requirements. Some need parts that are used in almost every vehicle interior. Others need parts that are to be optimized for a specific application. For example, when a fastener is needed to fasten a panel to another with a force of less than 100N, we know that it would be pointless to design a fastener that offers a holding force of 200N. In this way, we can optimize the use of materials and look for recycled material with a lower carbon footprint. We also rely on frequent simulations and 3D printed fasteners.
ITW Global Fasteners: Why is there so much detail in the development of automotive interior fasteners?
Massimo S.: Through careful planning and the use of different tools, we understand very quickly if we are on the right path or not and can change direction or start development from scratch if necessary. This approach allows us to be creative and keep zooming in between the details and the main functions of the required part. We have several specific and patented technical solutions, from the strongest to the most compact, from the invisible fastening to the one that must be unfastened many times, and so on.
ITW Global Fasteners: What are the critical issues in the development of automotive interior fasteners?
Massimo S.: The main criteria for the development of fasteners for interior use are often the packaging, ease of disassembly, low price of the parts and, in forward thinking terms, the recyclability and in which panels the fastener can be recycled in. The key is often to be able to listen and ask the right questions to show the customer the problem from a different perspective. My job is to offer a bespoke fixture that is the best available solution for the specific need. Sometimes, I feel like a chef choosing the best ingredients to find the perfect recipe for my guest’s favourite dish.