“When all else fails, grab a self-tapping screw and hope it holds”, it almost seemed to be the old metal bashers answer to every problem which could not be solved easily. Today there are many other ways in which problems can be solved and also the customer today is not as easy to convince as they were 40 years ago. On the other side the self-tapping screw has found itself being used in a vast range of other markets to which it would never have imagined being used. The medical industry has found that it has become a major fixing in the strangest places. High quality materials may have to be used, although stainless steel is used, it may at times be surpassed by more exotic materials.
They have been used in surgery where bones may have to be held in place until they repair themselves and have been quite successful. They have been and still are used in dental surgery where the self-tapping screw has been screwed into the bone and a dental implant fixed into position. These have enabled people to have virtually new teeth (although artificial) where they would have been forced to have dentures which is a major improvement.
The self-tapping screw can be used in plastic or other synthetic markets to make all sorts of boxes and equipment. In this case the screw easily taps a thread into the pilot hole drilled into the base unit and then tightens the joint by using the thread to pull the joint together. Plastic is not a strong material but it will take a reasonable force and the introduction of several screws will ensure a strong joint.
Surprisingly they can be found on a range of equipment and products made from plastic or metal and plastic. They will be found on musical equipment and electrical equipment, many medical instruments and equipment use the self-tapping screw in large amounts. They are used in manufacture of all sorts of transport equipment from cars, boats and trains. In these industries they form the joint with various materials from chrome, steel, other metals, plastics and synthetics and it is only the type and size of screw that changes the operation.
The versatility of the self-tapping screw that has been its success and the cause of its longevity and it will be present for a long time. The suppliers have become astute at meeting every new challenge and their range of self-tapping screws off the shelf is very large.