First rate: Alfirste on expansion, investment and innovation

Specialising in producing screws, ALFIRSTE has bolstered its offering, achieved key certifications and exports its range to over 20 countries. Fresh from opening its third factory, ALFIRSTE is now looking to expand with an innovative new product range…

Screw manufacturer ALFIRSTE is based in Zhejiang, China. Founded in 2006, it started out as a small workshop, before developing into a substantial fastener producer, exporting fasteners around the globe, predominantly to Europe and increasingly to the United States too.

ALFIRSTE’s evolution into the production powerhouse it is today has included a number of developmental milestones, perhaps few as crucial as its decision to break out from solely producing standard parts. Expanding into specials and in-house products was a move designed to help ALFIRSTE serve the market better and also to help develop the business itself, Torque Magazine is told.

Another key milestone for the business came in 2016, explains ALFIRST Sales Manager Michael Wu: “When the EU's
antidumping of fasteners from China ended, our company entered the European market and established a more complete laboratory.”

That internal infrastructure and legislation change paved the way for further related developments, he adds, including obtaining CE certification in 2018, the year that ALFIRSTE also opened a second factory: “Then, in 2020, ALFIRSTE obtained the ETA certificate and began to produce stainless steel products.”

European exports make up roughly half of ALFIRSTE’s output, and – as mentioned earlier – export volumes to the United States are growing rapidly. The business sends product to circa 20 countries at present. With expanding demand for the company’s fasteners, ALFIRSTE has gone on to open a third factory and also embark on a new strand of its production business.

“In 2022, the research and development of bimetal screws started; in 2023, bimetal screws will be successfully developed and put into production.” 

If those bimetal screws have piqued your interest, you’re not alone. Torque Magazine further quizzes ALFIRSTE on the topic.

Wu says: “These new products are ALFIRSTE’s prediction of the future market trend and also a product upgrade of ALFIRSTE.

“In the future, ALFIRSTE will continue to forge ahead, continue to tap the potential of bimetal screws and stainless
steel products, and develop new products at the same time. 

This product is currently in research and development, but it is being kept secret for the time being.” In fact, innovation is a cornerstone of the ALFIRSTE business, keeping its R&D department exceptionally busy. “Without innovation, the company will lose its core competitiveness,” says Wu.

ALFIRSTE now has around 150 staff and over 400 machines at work, with a capacity of 1,500 tons per month, set over its 15,000 m2 factory, with a construction area of 12,000 m2.

The screw manufacturer’s product line-up features drywall screws, construction wood screws, hex head/truss head/CSK head/pan head self-tapping/drilling screws, chipboard screws and threaded rods. ALFIRSTE uses both carbon and stainless steel materials for the production of screws. 

You won’t need us to remind you that Covid and subsequent supply chain disruption affected virtually all of the planet and most industries, not least in Asia. What’s the view from a China-based fastener manufacturer on the pandemic? Is the disruption largely over and did it bring about any unexpected efficiencies or improvements for companies? Wu says the disruption “is not over yet, but that’s not a bad thing for ALFIRSTE. We have more time and energy to develop new products, improve our own service quality, improve production deficiencies and optimise the process of each link, thereby improving the overall production direction and efficiency.”

Clearly, ALFIRSTE’s quality focus has been paying off, adding scientific researchers to its roster of staff and evolving the quality of its laboratory to help it achieve those all-important CE and ETA certifications. Each production process is checked at random by quality inspectors, ensuring only quality products are allowed to move to the next stage. The well-equipped quality department has everything from the humble calipers to salt spray test machines, Rockwell hardness machines, torque testing machines, SPECTRO spectrometer, temperature and humidity meters to metallographic specimen polishing machines, Fischerscope XRay, drilling testing machines and a metallographic microscope, to name just a few.

That spotlight on quality and innovation goes handinhand with ALFIRSTE’s focus on building customer relationships.
Keen to invite customers to visit its factory to see its manufacturing facilities for themselves, ALFIRSTE also has a busy calendar of trade shows where it will continue to reach out to new and existing clients.

Wu outlines the plan: “This year, our company will participate in the FASTENER POLAND show in October and the International Fastener Expo in October. Next year, our company plans to participate in the EISENWARENMESSE in March, Fastener Fair France in May and Fastener Fair Italy in October. And in 2025, we will participate in the Fastener Fair Global in Germany every session.”

While ALFIRSTE continues to expand, invest and innovate with new ranges and technologies such as its bimetal screws project and stainless steel, the fastener producer says it will continue to practice the concept of “Original Spirit, manufacture with heart” as it grows for the future.