Stories | Chapter 3
Fixfast is a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of quality self-drilling construction fasteners. The company’s main manufacturing, sales and distribution sites are located in the county of Kent, but it also has operations in Ireland and the United States. Fixfast was founded in 1975 and currently has approximately 100 employees.
In 2012, Fixfast moved into manufacturing with the production of its own molded plastic fastener components. In 2020, the company made a major investment in its UK manufacturing capability and began cold forming its range of fasteners from wire coil.
“From our first meeting with Carlo Salvi, we were confident we had found a partner that understood our manufacturing vision and had the technology and capabilities to help us quickly bring that vision to life,” said Michael Edwards, Head of Engineering at Fixfast.
“Our cooperation began in 2020, just before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. Despite a challenging context, work continued with determination and at pace until we had achieved our goal: the development and installation of truly turnkey production line. Our new, state-of-the-art manufacturing cell consists of a wire drawing machine, double stroke heading machine (model CS 003) complete with induction system, washing machine, pointing unit and thread rolling machine.”
Fixfast’s fasteners are mainly marketed in the United Kingdom but exports are growing year on year, with customers being served as far away as Australia. Fixfast self-drilling screws are used in the construction sector, specifically in the installation of roofs, sheeting & cladding, and rainscreen façades. To ensure these systems are safe and secure, it is essential that the fasteners used to fix them are top quality and perform consistently.
The CS 003 header model fully satisfies these requirements and the quick-change system it is equipped with delivers significant time and cost efficiencies. In fact, around 4 million fasteners, of different lengths in carbon steel and austenitic stainless steel, are produced every month.
After heading, secondary operations such as pinch pointing, thread rolling, heat treatments and coatings follow.
"What we most appreciate about Carlo Salvi's technology is the speed, reliability and ease of use. We are currently collaborating with the Confederation of British Metal Forming to organise internal training for our manufacturing team," added Michael Edwards.
“During a challenging time, a solid and valuable partnership was born. Strengthened by the competence of our respective technicians and confident in the ability to remotely manage all phases of installation, testing and start-up of the new header, we have completed each phase with excellent results. The exchange of information between the two working groups was fluid despite the distance and complexity of the operation, allowing us to quickly install a new, completely turnkey line,” commented Carlo Salvi team.
Fixfast’s vision was for a fully integrated manufacturing cell that uses data to link Internet-of-Things enabled machines in one of the sector’s first Industry 4.0 grade facilities. This data would allow close monitoring of each stage of the manufacturing process and deep insight into the performance of the cell. This ultimately gives Fixfast unprecedented control, so fasteners can be produced with greater speed and accuracy than ever before.
“All our machines work in synchronicity, starting from the unwinding of the wire. The load monitoring equipment detects possible problems, protecting the header and its equipment, and supporting the operator in job changes. The CS 003 offers the possibility to connect to the network, thus collecting data and updating the production plan within our ERP system," said Michael Edwards.
The working relationship established between the two companies owes its success to the team that allowed all this. “In Carlo Salvi we are sure that there is no business without a solid relational basis that accompanies all aspects of the process; with Carlo Salvi stories we want to give a voice to this aspect which is so fundamental for us,” concludes Carlo Salvi team.
Head of Engineering at Fixfast
“Our cooperation began in 2020, just before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. Despite a challenging context, work continued with determination and at pace until we had achieved our goal: the development and installation of truly turnkey production line. Our new, state-of-the-art manufacturing cell consists of a wire drawing machine, double stroke heading machine (model CS 003) complete with induction system, washing machine, pointing unit and thread rolling machine.” comments Michael Edwards.