You have to remember that washers perform different functions beyond securing the fasteners – it is a critical part of the operation of every device with moving parts. It can insulate, seal, provide spacing, align parts, enhance appearance and even distribute loads. There are many varieties of washers available as provided by U.S. Manufacturer of Flat Washers.
With this, it is important that you choose the ideal type for your particular application. Failure to identify the correct washer can lead to machine downtime and eventually, profit loss at the end of the day. Here’s how to select the correct washers for assembly:
Determine the washer types and styles
There are three types of the washer – plain washer, spring washer and locking washer. Plain washers are used to evenly distribute the load or force of the threaded fastener thereby preventing damage on the surface. Spring washers, on the other hand, are used to avert fastening or loosening because of the vibrations. Finally, locking washers work like spring washers; they can also prevent fastening or loosening of the fastening device.
If in this case, you need plain washers, you have to know that it comes in different styles. The most common is the flat washer. Flat washers are thin and round with a hole in the middle. It is for general-purpose. Depending on the function of the washer, the internal or external shapes may be square, hexagonal, and rectangular. Other styles of plain washers include shoulder washers (primarily used in electronic equipment industry), tab washers (ideal to effectively lock a part into place in applications exposed to extreme heat and heavy vibrations), and countersunk washers (used on consumer products).
Identify the washer factors
Aside from determining the washer type and style, you need to identify washer factors like the tolerance, temper, material and thickness, hardness and heat-treating, flatness, compatibility, and finish.
The rule of thumb is the tighter the tolerance, the more expensive it is; the tolerance should be specified according to the industry standards. Temper is not specified if the hardness of the material is not important. The material and thickness selection should depend on the application requirements. You have to remember that all the specifications must be compatible to guarantee optimal performance.
Decide the washer materials
There are many washer materials that you can choose from. In fact, washers are manufactured in metallic and nonmetallic materials. It can be manufactured from steel (including carbon steel, spring steel, and stainless steel), metal (including aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, iron, titanium and zinc), alloy (Inconel, Hastelloy and Monel), plastic (Teflon and polyethylene) and specialty materials (fibers, felt, leather and rubber).
Material selection is crucial because there are applications that require specific material to ensure that it can withstand the environmental conditions. For example, if the application is exposed to fluids, rubber washers are ideal because it does not rust when exposed to moisture.
Indeed there are many varieties of washers available in the market these days. It can be confusing but as soon as you are familiar with their uses, you can easily identify what you need most.