FASTENER MANUFACTURING: Nord‐Lock Group has become a global leader in engineering and bolting technologies, backed by the confidence of stable and long‐term owners, investment group AB Latour. Reflecting on the past 18 months, Nord‐Lock’s Division Director Anders Manfred says that despite facing challenging circumstances, they’ve been able to “continue an investment programme with full speed, thanks to a green light from Latour.”
Since 1982, Nord‐Lock has been developing original wedgelocking technology, starting from a small red barn in the forests of Jämtland, Sweden. Today, a stone’s throw from that very same barn in Mattmar, there sits a proudly renovated production facility that was expanded from 5,300m2 to 8,700m2 during the pandemic.
From here, Nord‐Lock Group distributes the trusted wedgelocking washers on the market to every corner of the world. Product manager Daniel Eriksson says: “We’re managing margins of thousandths in our production, so of course precision is crucial to meet the tolerances we have for both cleanliness and tools.”
The 64% increase in space helped to facilitate several key process improvements, each one part of an investment package that has levelled up the control and precision of manufacturing superior wedge‐locking washers. Now a high‐tech facility, Nord‐Lock benefits from more efficient production lines, new machinery, better automation and a bigger premises for optimised workflows.
“Variation between Nord‐Lock wedge‐locking washers was already very low, now it’s even lower,” says Eriksson.
Residual oil from the stamping process can cause problems in the following steps, so Nord‐Lock upgraded its cleaning facility. Now it provides a better work environment, a higher quality clean and zero waste.
There are more profound developments too, with the area’s year‐round cold environment now channelled into Nord‐Lock's cooling system, reducing the need for electricity. “There will also be 100% heat recovery from production that we’ll use to heat the building. Plus, all incoming energy is from renewable local sources, such as wind and hydropower,” adds Eriksson.
“This is a scenic and clean location for a high‐tech industrial company that also sets high standards: The only things to leave Nord‐Lock are clean water, carbon dioxide and the highest quality wedge‐locking washers on the market.”
New generation furnaces achieve much lower variation between washers during hardening, a process that is crucial to ensure the mechanical function of Nord‐Lock's wedge‐locking technology, making it impossible for the product to loosen unintentionally.
Eriksson also considers the coating process to have been perfected with the installation of a new line. Coating now requires less chemical volume to achieve the same corrosion resistance and simultaneously giving a more even coating thickness with lower variation between washers.
Washers now last twice as long in the Neutral Salt Spray Test (according to ISO 9227) before any signs of corrosion occur. In turn, Nord‐Lock promises what it says is the highest corrosion resistance on the market and guarantee at least 1,000 hours of corrosion protection.
On reflection, Anders is full of praise for his colleagues. “Expanding a factory in any circumstances can interrupt business, so to complete these upgrades against the backdrop of covid‐19 without causing delay to our customers, it’s a huge credit to our remarkable team.”
After a record investment year Nord‐Lock emerges with more productive, safe, and sustainable manufacturing. For the customer, this means delivery of even more consistent, durable, and secure wedge‐locking washers that are available worldwide.