Beyond Glue and Tape – The Unsung Heroes of Modern Manufacturing

Glue and tape seem like simple solutions for holding things together in manufacturing. Adhesives, though, can only go so far. Look deeper at any complex product from cars to computers and you’ll find an array of fasteners quietly performing critical roles. These deceptively mundane components allow efficient assembly, disassembly, and reliability across endless applications. Meet the unsung heroes of the modern manufacturing world.

Joining with Versatile Screws

According to the experts over at SPAX, of all fasteners, screws are perhaps most versatile. From tiny delicate electronics to massive bridges, screws securely fasten a sweeping range of materials in any environment. Various head designs allow driving with different tools, while thread geometry and coatings address diverse friction and corrosion scenarios.

Manufacturing has capitalized on this versatility. Appliances use screws to access internal components for assembly and service. Sensitive electronics depend on screws to align and fasten circuit boards without damaging fragile chips. Large metal fabrications like aircraft and machinery rely on carefully torqued screws to create rigid joints that still permit later disassembly. From tiny medical devices to huge oil tankers, screws touch every scale and sector of production.

Affordable Connections with Nails

Nails provide quick affordable connections impossible to achieve with complex fasteners. Production lines use nails extensively when costs and time are critical. Nails rapidly fasten wood crates and pallets without glue’s drying wait. They also permit quick-connect jigs and fixtures while allowing later disassembly.

Robust nail-based designs also support consumer products from furniture to decks. Nail flexibility and shear strength accommodate wood movement and vibrations. And varied styles from finishing nails to spikes suit nearly any environment. Efficient nail-driving tools continue improving, expanding the affordability and practicality of nails for manufacturers.

Big Strength in Hidden Bolts

Bolts lack screws’ versatility but provide unmatched strength when designed properly. Critical joints in heavy machinery, vehicles, bridges, and buildings all leverage high-tensile bolts to create clamping force far beyond typical screws. Manufacturing and construction take advantage of this power.

Giant earthmovers utilize large bolts to withstand tremendous shock and vibration. Steel building frameworks depend on proper bolting to meet seismic demands. Ship hulls, railcars, and aircraft rely on bolts to distribute shear loads safely. Precision torque is often required to achieve optimal bolt tension without failure. It’s a hidden process critical for safety and reliability.

Permanent Riveted Connections

Glue and tape offer one type of permanent connection. But for strength under duress, rivets deliver. Though permanent assembly eliminates rework opportunities, riveting achieves solidity impossible otherwise. Aircraft manufacture, in particular, leverages rivets for seamless unibody strength free of fastener vibration and corrosion. Critical applications also use rivets in pressure vessels and pipelines where leak-proof assembly is a must. Though nearly permanent, strategic rivet placement does permit access and disassembly if absolutely necessary. 

Appreciating the Invisible

Screws, nails, bolts, and rivets will never capture headlines like the latest superglue or duct tape. But without these unsung heroes, assembly lines would crawl, and many products simply couldn’t exist. Manufacturing has capitalized on fastener strengths while mitigating weaknesses with precision engineering and operator skill. No single fastener solution is ideal for every connection. But together, these hidden heroes make our manufactured world possible in all its diversity.


Behind the scenes, clever fasteners join the physical pieces that become modern products we depend on. Manufacturing has tapped screws, nails, bolts, rivets and more to optimize connections for any situation. Like glue and tape, fasteners unite components both large and microscopic. Yet through specificity and engineering, they achieve reliable and rugged connections across unlimited manufacturing challenges. Fasteners may seem ordinary, but their role is critical, and examples of human ingenuity to optimize assembly in every way imaginable.

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