A number of key new product launches from the Growermetal branded product family showcase how the R&D investor has evolved. From Grower TenKeep® to the awarded Grower SpheraTech®, from the digital technology of Grower Detecto® to the improved safety of Grower Reaction®…
After more than 70 years, Growermetal has continued renewing its identity while maintaining its core focus on the wide washers portfolio and on improving the efficiency of customer’s applications, through reliable fastening systems.
The Italian company has been evolving its approach to the market, which is going to be not only as “the manufacturer of a wide range of washers, but also a provider of exclusive and advanced fastening solutions”.
Paolo Cattaneo, Growermetal’s CEO, explains: “The internal rebranding does not only concern our image, but also involves the creation of increasingly innovative technologies, partnerships and projects in line with our vision – without forgetting that our core business is and always will be the production of washers, stamped parts with high efficiency and quality.”
But how did this evolution begin? From its foundation in 1950 to present day, Growermetal has organised the business so that it manages its production processes completely inhouse, including tool design and production, manufacturing, quality controls, heat treatments, coatings, sorting, laboratories and storage. “This system allows us to provide an ontime delivery service, minimising stops in production and maintaining the highest quality and precision. We have resources, technology and a talented team, then at some point we started thinking: why do we not create exclusive product lines and seize new opportunities for ourselves and our customers? That’s how we started to shape our family of solutions.”
A branded range for expanded possibilities
Gradually, the expanded range of stamped parts, standard and special washers has been joined by the Growermetalbranded line which now features many designs and solutions. In addition to flagship products such as Grower TenKeep®, a safety washer with surfaces of knurls of different geometries, the R&D team has developed a number of new solutions from the company, including smart designs with integrated digital technologies.
This is the case of Grower Detecto®, a smart sensor washer for bolt monitoring, featuring a smart sensor embedded in its structure. This system, previewed at Fastener Fair Global in March, enables realtime detection of bolt loosening through an Electrical Mechanical Impedance method. “Our goal is to allow operators to monitor the structure and the bolted joints with no need of manual inspections. So, it is possible to increase safety and efficiency, with minimal downtime and maximum cost effectiveness,” Cattaneo explains.
Fastener Fair Global 2023 also saw the launch of Grower Reaction®, a fastening system that provides a fully concentric dispersion of the reaction torque around and underneath the nut or bolt head to be tightened or loosened. “When used as a system in combination with Grower TenKeep®, Grower Reaction® eliminates the need of a reaction arm to generate the desired bolt preload. This, coupled with the absence of pinchpoints, maximises safety and requires less personnel than traditional bolting practices.”
Grower SpheraTech awarded at Route to Fastener Innovation
If the trade fair in Stuttgart was useful to verify the market interest in the new fastening solutions, it was also the stage of another important achievement: “On this occasion our Grower SpheraTech® washer placed second among many participants, in the Route to Fastener Innovation competition. This result makes us very proud, and we have to thank the whole team and in particular the R&D department to make it possible.”
Launched in 2022, Grower SpheraTech® is a preassembled set that combines a spherical top washer and a conical seat washer, which aims to improve the performance and minimise the risk of misapplication or incorrect mounting related to sets made of two separated pieces. Paolo Cattaneo explains that: “The main innovation of this smart spherical solution lies precisely in its inseparability, which makes it more competitive. Its design is another expression of our idea of innovation, which for us is not only creating something completely new, but also improving what already exists.”