“At our production plant in Åshammar in the middle of the steel district of Sweden approximately 200 kilometers north of Stockholm, we have a long tradition of producing stainless steel fasteners and cooperating with leading Swedish stainless steel producers,” begins Mr. Söderman.
“We also work closely with our customers to develop what we like to think are the very best in fastener solutions. Our expertise is related to knowledge about stainless steel materials. To the uninitiated it might sound surprising to invest so much time in developing something like fasteners but what we produce is certainly not run-of-the-mill. In fact, today fasteners are increasingly regarded as one of the most important components of industrial assemblies when it comes to reliability and safety and there are plenty of examples where fastener failures have caused severe accidents and break-downs just because their quality was not sufficient, or the wrong material was used during the selection process. We therefore often ask our clients ‘why take a risk when so much can be at stake?’ We work with them to provide solutions which will reduce their risk, improve safety and provide long term reliability and cost efficiency.”
400 years of history
Bumax’s knowledge of fastener solutions has not come overnight, however. Their tradition in the industry can be traced back as far as the middle of the 1600s with the establishment of a forge in Åshammar, which eventually lead to the founding of the Åshammar Bolt Factory in 1899. This became one of the very first companies in the world to produce austenitic stainless steel fasteners in 1926. Presently, the company makes fasteners from a wide range of stainless steel materials and their products are used around the world in very demanding applications. “We like to count ourselves as one of the leaders in the cold-headed and thread rolled high-quality stainless steel fastener industries,” says Mr. Söderman.
“We choose to work with stainless steels and other advanced alloys primarily because these materials have properties that make them an attractive choice for a whole range of applications. And when making good fasteners, it is always essential to consider what properties they will require in the applications in which they are used. Properties include corrosion and temperature resistance, mechanical strength, and magnetic permeability, etc. So by correctly choosing an appropriate material, we are able to guarantee clients not only fasteners with trouble-free lifetimes but also low lifecycle cost. Our particular specialty in fasteners being those with very high strengths,” continues Mr. Söderman.
Over the years at their plants in Sweden Bumax has developed and manufactured a whole series of quite extraordinary fasteners for specialty uses, many of which are completely unique and cannot be found anywhere else on the market. This the company achieves by developing solutions in close co-operation with its customers – particularly getting involved during the early stages of development. However, apart from its unique designs and custom-made fasteners, the company also keeps a large stock of standardized products for immediate delivery.
Types of grades
So what types/grades of corrosion resistant alloys do they work with? “We work with ordinary stainless steels like 316L, with high molybdenum, but we also focus on the whole duplex range: lean duplex, standard duplex, super duplex, and even hyper duplex. Our main focus is to find customer unique solutions and our specialty is to operate in the high strength levels from 8.8 to 17.9. Examples of these where Bumax offers unique solutions, are duplex fasteners in strength class 12.9 and the worlds’ strongest bolt Bumax Ultra that can be produced in strength class 17.9.”
“I myself have been working with these types of material for over twenty years. Duplex is not only a fantastic material because of its corrosion resistance but also because of mechanical properties, its strength, ductility, good elongation and fatigue properties. The application fields for our fasteners are multitudinous, ranging from the oil & gas industries, offshore, marine, automotive, aerospace, general engineering, chemical process industry and other applications where standard cannot do the job.”
Enjoying the job
“My job at Bumax is that of Technical Director,” continues Mr Söderman . “As such I am responsible for the teams working with production technology, process development, product development, investment in machinery, R&D, and those supplying technical support to our customers. What I enjoy most about it is what I would refer to as its ‘perfect diversity’. I have my finger in many pies. I also visit a lot of customers and discuss their challenges with them. What also makes it additionally enjoyable is that I am something of a stainless steel nerd! I have worked my whole life with steel so it has become part of my life, and developing new products is always fun and challenging.”
Talking about challenges, one of the biggest which Mr. Söderman faced is the fact that customers too often focus on price rather than the total life cycle cost. “High quality and advanced alloys can offer savings that far exceed the additional price compared to standard fasteners,” says Mr. Söderman.