Maintaining Material Certs on Standard Hardware

Kurt Smith

Involved In Discussions
I am a relatively new quality manager at a small "Build to Print Fabrication" shop focusing on prototyping and small batch orders for the automotive industry. While learning our system for maintaining good material certs I realized we don't currently have any documentation for standard hardware like bolts or nuts. We keep a thorough filing for origins and test results of our sheet metals and other raw materials, but nothing for the hardware. But I'm unsure if this is a standard practice or something that needs corrected. Any advice?
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
I am a relatively new quality manager at a small "Build to Print Fabrication" shop focusing on prototyping and small batch orders for the automotive industry. While learning our system for maintaining good material certs I realized we don't currently have any documentation for standard hardware like bolts or nuts. We keep a thorough filing for origins and test results of our sheet metals and other raw materials, but nothing for the hardware. But I'm unsure if this is a standard practice or something that needs corrected. Any advice?
Do you need traceability back to the source for the hardware? If so, you probably want to maintain certs.
 

Kurt Smith

Involved In Discussions
Do you need traceability back to the source for the hardware? If so, you probably want to maintain certs.
Well that's the issue. This is a small place that hasn't had a lot of knowledgeable people in charge. Nobody here has the experience to know if our general material cert requirements include hardware. And I can't find any documentation defining our material cert system. I was hoping someone would be able to say from experience if those small parts get the same document trail or if them being standardized made it unnecessary.
 

John Predmore

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So I understand you are a build-to-print firm. If fastener properties are crucial design characteristics in an assembly, the design authority should specify and communicate those requirements in engineering documentation. If your firm submits PPAP to an automotive customer, that would be when any gaps in quality documentation would be sorted out, IMO.

This website explains how US-made fasteners are marked by the manufacturer. I am not a fastener expert, but this is one site I found with a web search. If there are particular fastener requirements, the markings on the head of the bolt are how your quality people verify you get what you pay for.

I was not aware of the Fastener Quality Act, but this NIST website explains that legislation. There are exemptions, however, so read carefully.
 

jmech

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Nobody here has the experience to know if our general material cert requirements include hardware.
What do your customers require? If they haven't asked for it so far then you might not need it.
I was hoping someone would be able to say from experience if those small parts get the same document trail or if them being standardized made it unnecessary.
In my non-automotive experience, they often don't get the same document trail. Nuts and bolts often aren't marked with heat numbers or other traceability markings, so your traceability is limited (there is still capability to document the heat number used in the assembly, but there is no marking on the bolt to compare to the documentation later).

Automotive customers may or may not require more traceability. This should be driven by your customer's requirements and the risks associated with the bolting (if known).
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
Well that's the issue. This is a small place that hasn't had a lot of knowledgeable people in charge. Nobody here has the experience to know if our general material cert requirements include hardware. And I can't find any documentation defining our material cert system. I was hoping someone would be able to say from experience if those small parts get the same document trail or if them being standardized made it unnecessary.
You’ll want to check with your customer and their requirements. Like someone said above, if you haven‘t been asked at this point, the answer is probably no.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
I am a relatively new quality manager at a small "Build to Print Fabrication" shop focusing on prototyping and small batch orders for the automotive industry. While learning our system for maintaining good material certs I realized we don't currently have any documentation for standard hardware like bolts or nuts. We keep a thorough filing for origins and test results of our sheet metals and other raw materials, but nothing for the hardware. But I'm unsure if this is a standard practice or something that needs corrected. Any advice?
Here's a question that nobody asks out of fear or cowardice.........What country are you in? The IP address says US (Texas) but those things can be faked.
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Leader
Super Moderator
Your customer dictates what is required for COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf). One of our customers calls out a McMaster-Carr part number, but then requires traceability to the material heat/lot, which McMaster-Carr does not provide. So we have to make them ourselves. It's ridiculous, but now our estimators know to quote those as make items, not COTS items.
 
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