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Commercial Vehicle Fasteners – Market Update

Commercial Vehicle Fasteners

Auto Fasteners Ltd are very closely associated with the OEM Commercial Vehicle manufacturing sector. We currently supply commercial vehicle fasteners to Scania, Volvo Trucks, Mack, Navistar and Renault Truck. The future of this hugely important automotive sector is being influenced by pressure for lower cost, reduced fuel consumption and more environmentally friendly vehicles. Auto Fasteners works closely with our CV customers and our global supply chain to help meet these demands and this article covers some of the key issues.

Global Commercial Vehicle Production

The term commercial vehicles embraces three core areas: light commercial vehicles, heavy trucks and buses and coaches. Light commercial vehicles dominate volume at 81% of production with heavy trucks at 17% and buses and coaches just over 1%. Within this mix there are also a wide range of military vehicles.

There were approx. 22.2m* commercial vehicles produced globally in 2014 according to the OICA (The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers**). These figures has been steadily growing from the 17.5m produced in the recessionary year 2008. Production is dominated by the USA with 7.4m vehicles produced in 2014. China, although some way behind at 3.8m is gaining ground steadily as unlike the USA production it was unaffected by the global recession. Japan, Canada and Mexico are following up in joint third place at around 1.5m each.

This healthy market place is providing an exciting number of challenges for the industry and its supply chains. Global pressure to reduce vehicle production costs, reduce fuel consumption and emissions and in turn overall transportation costs is considerable. The fastener industry works very closely with the OEM manufacturers to help them try to achieve these goals.

Trucks Go On a Diet***

Trucks Go On a DietWith ever increasing fuel prices and more environmental pressures for cleaner vehicles, the drive now is for lighter more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly commercial vehicles. CV manufacturers are responding not only with more efficient engine and transmission technologies, but by using lightweight materials such as aluminium, magnesium, plastics and composites. This has led to a change in the types of commercial vehicle fasteners and fixing methods used, and to an increase in the use of adhesives and chemical bonding.

However, many of these techniques have not been fully proven over the full working life of a CV, or in the harsh environment many CVs operate in. Manufacturers are also aware that CVs are used to carry a wide range of goods, some of which may react adversely with these bonding materials. Bonded materials also suffer from a lack of conductivity due to the glue layer. This means that metal commercial vehicle fasteners are still very much in use as they are a known entity for strength, durability, longevity and conductivity. Even so, the commercial vehicle fasteners industry still has to respond to these new pressures and materials, with some highly innovative solutions being developed.

Low weight materials typically require thinner joints and are more subject to deformation. These often require more innovative fastener solutions to increase the fastener footprint and avoid crushing these lightweight materials. Accordingly we are seeing a large rise in shouldered and large flanged bolts and pins. There is also an element of double bonding taking place with both adhesives and traditional fasteners being used together. This ensures the structural integrity of the joint and overcomes the issue of conductivity. One solution to overcome conductivity issues is to ‘drive’ stainless steel fasteners through the sheets simply to reintroduce electrical pathways. This application uses screws with large collars to spread load, a ‘pierce-point’ tip which eliminates the need for a pilot hole and twin thread geometry to reduce debris and speed up production. In order to reduce weight fewer, thinner fasteners of higher strength steels are being used particularly in these double bonding applications.


One of Auto Fasteners customers Navistar of the USA has been working in conjunction with Caterpillar the construction equipment manufacturer. When Caterpillar launched its new line of on-highway trucks lightweight materials where clearly in evidence. The Cat CT660 truck features an aluminium cab and a composite hood which is riveted and bonded as opposed to the traditional welded steel of previous models. This gives a huge weight saving of some 110kg.

DSC_0147It’s worth remembering that many large commercial vehicles regularly exceed 600,000 miles in their first 5 or 6 years of life and many go one to million miles or more during their full life. This is many times more miles than the average passenger car. Many commercial vehicles also operate fully laden for large parts of their life, and some operate on rough road conditions, in harsh working environments and may carry loads chemically damaging to the vehicle. All these factors impact on the choice of materials which are often chosen for strength and non-corrosive features, fastener design, size and coatings or special finishes. The net result is often a much higher specification fastener by comparison to some of its passenger car equivalents.

It is generally believed in the CV industry that a weight saving of around 20% from current weight levels is achievable with commercial vehicle fasteners playing an important role. These levels of reduction will have an unprecedented level of influence of fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Of course lower running costs also means more operator profit and reduced end users prices for the goods being transported – so it’s a win win situation.

Thinner, lighter, stronger and more corrosive resistant would just about sum up the key drivers in commercial vehicle fasteners development. With the added caveat of them being faster and easier to use in a production environment.

There is little doubt that metal fasteners will continue to be widely used in CV production, but we will continue to see innovative changes in fastener design, higher strength materials, lower weight materials and advanced anti-corrosion finishes being used.

For more information about commercial vehicle fasteners please contact Auto Fasteners Ltd on +44 (0) 1926 814600 or visit our web site

*Global figures for Heavy Trucks are incomplete due to missing data from some countries


***Our thanks go to the article ‘Trucks Go ON a Diet’ published by Assembly Magazine for informing some of the above content. Read the full article here:

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    We globally source, stock and distribute OEM and TS16949 quality fasteners, small parts and engineered components. We can satisfy both OEM production line and aftermarket requirements for both car and commercial vehicles.
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    Auto-Fasteners Ltd (AFL) is a Tier 1 automotive supplier. We globally source, stock and distribute OEM and TS16949 quality fasteners, small parts and engineered components. We can satisfy OEM production line and aftermarket requirements for both car and commercial vehicles.

    Phone: +44 (0) 1926 814600
    Fax: +44 (0) 1926 813575


    Auto Fasteners Ltd
    Global Distribution Centre
    Holywell Business Park
    Northfield Road
    CV47 0FP
    United Kingdom