Self-Cinching Fasteners vs. Tapped Holes

Advantages of Self-Clinching Fasteners Compared to Tapped Holes

Protecting what’s inside your enclosure is essential to protecting your investment. That means you need a fastener that will do the job.
When metal enclosures need a strong and durable threaded fastener, especially where panels are too thin to be tapped, Integra recommends self-clinching fasteners (also called rivet nuts or PEM nuts) over tapped holes. These types of fasteners are ideal for use in metal panels and other thin metal components. Here’s why we think they are the best choice for our customers.

How Self-Clinching Fasteners Work Compared to Tapped Holes

When pressed into a predrilled hole in the base metal, a self-clinching fastener displaces the base material around it creating a permanent, load-bearing thread. Once installed, they become an integral part of the piece and will not loosen or fall out. These traits have made them popular for numerous applications since their introduction 70 years ago.
When tapping, threads are cut into the hole’s interior and the number of threads is limited by the thickness of the panel. Once a hole is tapped, the threading is final and cannot be corrected unless increasing the size.

Installed PEM nut creates multiple interior threads
Installed PEM nut creates multiple interior threads
Tapped hole on 14 gage steel allows for very few threads
Tapped hole on 14 gage steel allows for very few threads

Benefits of Self-Clinching Fasteners

Self-clinching fasteners provide a strong, permanent attachment in sheet metal as thin as 0.008 in / 0.20 mm. They also provide superior thread quality, strength and longevity when compared to tapped holes. What this means is that you consistently get a higher quality, stronger thread with less risk of thread degradation with repeated use. The front side of the self-clinching fastener sits flush to or slightly recessed from the part surface, so there is no change to how components mount and seat against the surface. Self-clinching fasteners offer the following benefits over tapping in sheet metal:

  • More thread engagement, making the threaded connection stronger
  • Improved consistency, reliability and holding power
  • Greater security – higher quality threads are less likely to loosen over time and under harsh conditions
  • Ease of assembly
  • Less repair & maintenance

Why and When We Recommend Self-Clinching Fasteners

Self-clinching fasteners are ideal for applications where the need for a secure connection in thin metals is mandatory. They don’t take up any more space than a tapped hole, allowing for maximum use of space and the superior thread quality will ensure the integrity of the enclosure for years to come.
Integra Enclosures manufactures stainless steel and aluminum enclosures for a variety of uses, from electrical construction to telecommunication and alternative energy. Contact us to create the enclosure you need.

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