How Does the Mectron Sort Machine Support the Fastco Brand Promise?

image2One of the latter capital purchases in 2014 for Fastco Industries was the new Mectron sort machine. Fastco had been previously equipped with Mectron sorting equipment prior to the acquisition; however, this new edition would help achieve a number of objectives that move Fastco closer to its ultimate lead time brand promise.

In addition, the original Mectron 30mm machine has been upgraded to improve the capability of the machine and provide better accuracy for bent parts. This is a result of the addition of two lasers to the machine that allow for improved checks.image1

With the new capacity of the Mectron machines, Fastco’s in-house sorting department will achieve:

1) The ability to run a higher volume of parts on the laser sorting machines.
2) The ability to sort for cracked heads.
3) The ability to check for bent parts to a higher degree of accuracy.

Fastco has finalized the ability to sort all of its work in-house to a higher level of accuracy than the competition. This will allow for improved throughput in sort and in WIP overall: lowering inventory costs and continuing to improve cash flow.

imageThere are additional plans for the sorting department in terms of machinery purchases for 2015 to come. Look for additional information on other pieces of sort equipment as the year progresses.

This would be an ideal time to put Fastco to the test.

If you have a fastener product you would like to inquire about, please send a request to for a quotation or a comment.

Our sales support staff will be in touch with you right away.

Fastco Industries, Inc.

Fastco Brand Promise: Contour (form) Tracing Measurement Machine

image1Fastco has acquired a Contour (form) Tracing measurement machine! Improved measurement methods in measuring manufactured product (, and real time SPC software ( have shown us a need to more tightly control our tooling.

Measuring internal dimensions has always been a challenge, involving just gage pins, or using a low melting alloy and creating internal molds of tools, and pressing the mold out of the tooling. This mold can be slightly deformed when pressing out of tooling, and can lead to a loss of accuracy in measurement.

See below image of a pressed out mold of a tool insert.

image2To improve tooling measurement accuracy, one must first have to be able to measure more accurately. After researching many types of measurement equipment, Fastco identified a double sided contour (form) tracer.

image3The double sided contour tracer has an independent, motorized measurement probe in several sizes. Fastco currently has measurement arms from .090″ (2.28mm) to .180″ (4.57mm), which can enter a tooling insert and measure features, such as radii, chamfers, angles, lengths, etc with precision with a resolution of 0.02µm.

Above Image: Measurement Arm and automatic motorized X/Y axis stage. Below Image measurement arm with double sided probes.

Below are examples of measurements the contour tracer can perform. The left image is a tool insert from a Fastco tool print drawing. The center image is a form tracing of an actual insert. The right image is measurements performed by the contour tracer.



The below image is a tracing of an internal tool. The contour tracer identified that one side of the tooling was worn, as can be evidenced in the rounded appearance of the angled step. The top of the image shows an unworn angle.

Below left image Fastco tooling print dimensions. Below Right image tracing of tooling inner diameter and measurement results. This tracing shows the length denoted as distance # 6 is out of specification from the tooling vendor.

The contour tracer will aid in measuring tooling and ensuring it is proper and meeting print specifications prior to assembling the tooling and placing it in a heading machine. This will increase accuracy, detection, and aid in preventing downtime for incorrect, or out of dimension tooling. Controlling tooling, more effectively will ultimately aid in controlling product made from this tooling.


Fastco Laboratory Implementation and Techniques

Fastco has recently created and implemented a functional laboratory to perform metallurgical reviews on product. This is used to verify production specifications from cold forming, material grain flow, thread lap specifications, and outside processes such as heat treat and plating processes.

Fastco is capable of sectioning and mounting samples for microscopic analysis. Tests Fastco is capable of performing include grain flow, microstructure of steel, decarburization (visual), thread laps to ISO6153-3 3.6, and plating thickness.

These verification tests allow Fastco to ensure good forming techniques, and ensure that supplier processes meet requirements in a much quicker response time than waiting for results from an outside laboratory.

Above Image: Lab Coordinator reviewing a prepared sample microscopically.

Above Image: Lab Coordinator preparing a sample for review.

Above Image: Sampling of prepared mounts ready for microscopic review

Above Images: Plating Thickness Verification

Above & Below images: Steel Mircrostructure

Images above and below: Grain Flow

Above Picture: Sectioned Thread Profile

How Does the Accuvision Sort Machine Support the Fastco Brand Promise?

image1Another key purchase in 2014 for Fastco Industries was the Accuvision sort machine. Fastco began the 2013 year with an initiative to outsource the majority of its sorting processes after determining that sort may not fall within its core competencies.accuvision

However, as the year progressed, Fastco realized that keeping the sort inspection process in-house would be beneficial in a number of cases and outside that sorting should be determined on a logistics-route basis for the majority of circumstances.

This decision spurred Fastco to keep the sorting process with current outside processing partners who can heat treat, plate, and sort all under one facility; therefore reducing the amount of handling. Sorting would be left in-house for the remainder of the cases.

This assumes in-house capability and capacity: a gap left to be filled…the solution?

The Accuvision sort machine was purchased with a greater speed and overall capacity in mind for the sort inspection department as well as the imagereplacement of older equipment. The machine arrived in early 2014 as Fastco’s President and Sort Inspection Team leader traveled to Taiwan for training and also received training in-house.

As many as 800 pieces per minute can be sorted with as low as one percent fallout.accuvision
What does this mean for YOU the customer?

· More sorting precision and less scrap.
· Less time wasted on “double passes” (fallout re-ran to assure correct scrap).
· Lower scrap costs (passed on to the customer).
· Quicker sort times and lower sort costs (passed on to the customer).
· Greater sort capabilities including checking for cracked heads and fetter knurls.

Fastco has achieved a strategic objective with the usage of the Accuvision sort machine and plans to bring in a second work center during the fourth quarter of 2014. This will allow for continued speed and accuracy in the inspection area and continued cost and lead time improvements for the customer.

As our speed and predictability improves, we strive to improve your lead time and overall experience with buying fasteners.

Please take a moment to consider testing us out!

Send a request to for a quotation or a comment. Our sales support staff will be in touch with you promptly. Hopefully we hear from you soon!

Fastco Industries, Inc.

Fastco Focus on Training and Standardization: Fastco Brand Promise

In the past several years, Fastco has committed to drastically increase training hours in an effort to standardize quality training in such areas as gages, processes, and procedures.

Fastco has established a minimum training goal each month that must be met.

These training hours are performed by the training coordinator and quality manager with assistance from production, engineering, and quality personnel to ensure that each team member is aware and understands:

– Processes
– Procedures
– Gage Usage
– Gage Standardization
– Measurement Techniques
– Quality Practices
– Product Handling

And many more items.

Fastco has increased training each year since 2011.

In 2011 for the whole calendar year, quality training was 141 hours.
In 2012 Training hours increased to 379 man hours.
In 2013 training hours increased to 1,535.45 hours
In 2014 as of 8/31/2014 the training hours reached 1,048.55 hours

It is our belief that by continually training, it will keep the procedures and standards fresh in the minds of operators and team members. This will help Fastco supply the best quality product to our customers.

This training, in conjunction with many new tools to maintain stability and standards, will aid Fastco in continuing to drive our cost of poor quality to historic lows.

Fastco has lowered our Cost of Poor Quality goal in 2 consecutive years, with the new goals being met by a large margin the majority of months per year.

Fastco strives to attain the most informed and trained operators and team members to provide a consistent and quality product.
How does this fit the brand promise of more condensed lead times? Fewer quality issues and better checks from training result in:

– less scrap
– more good product through the system
– fewer repeat production orders
– less disruption to current production orders
– less disruption to resources needed to meet the brand promise

Zontec and SPC Usage at Fastco

Fastco utilizes Zontec, an electronic data collection system, to record and track all dimensional readings on all parts produced. This software is capable of performing live data SPC on production measurements, allowing Fastco to identify trends, track history, tool wear, tool changes, and easily pull and transfer this data through excel formats.

image1Used in conjunction with the resolution and accuracy of the Keyence IM digital imaging measurement systems, as well as other measurement tools, Fastco has an advantage of seeing live, quality data on all product manufactured.

The Zontec program is accessible to all operators at key computer terminal locations on the production floor, and is also accessible by all Engineering / Quality & Management representatives at their computer stations or desks.

This allows for high levels of transparency, efficiency, and product status throughout Fastco.

Zontec’s data entry also utilizes alert detection to operators. If an operator enters an out of specification, dimension, or typo, the program will recognize this and a pop up will warn operators of the mistaken or out of specification entry. See Image Below.


Zontec also has the ability to send live data alerts to applicable personnel (quality/ engineering or management) via email, when a part is entered out of specification or out of control limits set. This allows Fastco to identify variance in product in a live format, and the potential for having the time to react to these product alerts almost instantly.

Right Image : Zontec has the ability to create many types of charts, for tracking, monitoring and review. These charts can be populated with raw image3production data in any number of ways to tailor a chart or report to the current or requested needs. This gives Fastco an advantage to be able to supply dimensional history (raw data or a report) of a part to a customer within minutes of a request.

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Keyance Measuring System Acquired

Fastco has acquired sevkeyanceeral Keyence IM (Instant Measurement) Digital Imaging Systems to increase our capabilities and create enhanced levels of Fastener inspection.

We have multiple units with a 4 inch (100mm) diameter viewable area, and 1 unit with a 4 x 8 inch (100 x 200mm) viewable area. These measurement systems are much more accurate, and have a greater resolution than micrometers and calipers. These machines can drastically decrease measurement time and improve accuracy with 1 touch of a button, reducing operator to gage variance and increasing standardization of measurement technique.
The Keyence can measure profile views of parts (similar to but more accurate than a comparator) up to 99 dimensions, and up to 99 parts (if small enough to fit on the viewing area) in 3 seconds!

This increases the number of parts that can be reviewed in each process, reducing the time needed to do so.

Time to perform dimension capability studies and layouts on most standard parts has been greatly reduced from hours to minutes with improved accuracy, resolution and quality results.

Accuracy of these units is down to 2µm and repeatability is down to 0.5µm ( in High Precision Mode), and 5µm accuracy, and 1µm for repeatability (in Wide Field mode).

These measurement tools bring Fastco to a new level in standardized technique, accuracy, and overall measurement capabilities.

Measurement chart information below provided by Keyence IM.



Above: Keyence with 100x200mm (4×8 inch) Measurable Area.


Above Image: Fastco Developed Verification Block. 32 Dimensions in 3 seconds!!


Above Image: Multiple points of measurement from one starting / reference point done in seconds!!



Above Images: Tooling Insert; Tooling insert magnified with Keyence Video Comparator Mode.

The Keyence IM is a solid state image dimensional measurement system that is tracable to NIST out of the box and does not need calibration. However, Fastco developed and created a verification fixture to verify measurments at selected intervals, to ensure measurement data is accurate and functioning properly. This verification block has 32 dimensions from angles, lengths, radii, diameters, arcs, and circumpherances and more. All 32 dimensions are verified in 3 seconds with a push of a button.

The Keyence IM’s also have a single measurement high precision video measurement mode which allows surface and profile measurements to be taken with clarity, resolution, and magnification. Multiple measurements can start from the same point providing more accurate readings and less operator variation /interpretation. A full array of GD&T tools are available to measure very small features, including angles, radii, arcs and more. With the addition of high definition large screen monitors, features that are difficult to see to the naked eye become large, crisp and defined, allowing accurate and repeatable measurements.