Every Fastener Has an Origin.
Doxsteel Fasteners’ mission is to revolutionize bolt theory and practice in the fastener industry. It is our goal to consistently conceptualize and deliver safer, less expensive, and more scientifically sound bolts to the industry.
The Seized Towers
A Doxsteel Story
In the late 1990’s, our founder was offered the opportunity to bid on a contract to turnaround bolts and apply anti-corrosion paint to cellphone towers all over Mexico. He and his team gave a turnaround estimate of five days for more than two thousand towers based on data collected on cell phone towers in Mexico City. They won the bid.
They were happy (for a couple of minutes), but when they went to work they realized they had made a huge mistake. Mexico City is high in the mountains, and has a cool, dry environment. There is no corrosion problem in Mexico City because humidity there is low. In other parts of Mexico, however, such as the Gulf Coast or the rainforest jungle, salt sea fog and more stressful environmental factors lead to a much higher corrosion rate. To their horror, when the team attempted to change the bolts on these towers, they seized. Corrosion prevented the bolts from turning. They had to cut them and torch them to remove them from the towers. They started spending six days, seven days, up to five weeks on a single tower. They saw that the bolts were not representative of the cost; the cost of labor and moving people around the country was far more expensive than the cost of bolting.
The tower debacle threatened his entire business. It caused losses of millions of dollars per day until they finally finished the job. He vowed never to repeat that mistake and sat down with the team to determine what had gone wrong. Why were the fasteners seizing? Was there anything to prevent them from seizing?
He started to look for solutions. He embarked on a quest to find a solution that would prevent fasteners from seizing. He knew that if he was able to come even one day before the bolt seized, it would take two days to turn around. And if he came one day after, there would be no way to safely estimate the scope of the job.
And Doxsteel was born.
We started with the coating. We learned that most coating processes allowed for a high amount of uncontrolled variables. Coating companies rate their product to give fasteners a certain level of corrosion protection, but we discovered that their testing procedures did not hold up to real world applications. Most of these systems are tested in a coupon and do not account for a threaded surface. When this coating is applied to the threads, it changes everything. It cannot be applied consistently, it breaks apart because it cannot stand up to torquing forces and temperature, easily causing break out. We needed something that could withstand the work on the fastener and continue to protect it from corrosion.
Human error is also a constant concern. Most industry coatings are applied to fasteners by hand, which leads to uneven protection in certain areas. Many of the coatings are never even applied to the inside of the nut, leaving that area wide open for the elements to wreak havoc on the fastener. We wanted an application process that provided consistent coating thickness that did not require undersizing and covered the entire nut and bolt.
We began testing coatings and processes based on our criteria. We looked to other industries that had to overcome the challenges of high temperatures and corrosive environments. And that’s how we found the nickel-cobalt alloy. When tested versus other options for bolting material such as cadmium or zinc, nickel-cobalt stood up to torquing forces and resisted corrosion at a far superior rate. Through an electroplating process, we were able to provide a controlled coating thickness on every thread so as to avoid the need for undersizing.
We also revamped our process to take full ownership of all significant variables in the production process: the fastener, the coating, and the coating application. Whereas most bolts are produced by one company, coated by another, and— if they fail— become the problem of the turnaround team, we take full accountability of our bolts from the heat load to onsite application. We refuse to let maintenance teams face the same challenges we faced during our misadventures on the seized cellphone towers.
As a result, our fasteners are safer, save our customers money, and are more scientifically supported than any other fasteners in the world. Our process, the materials we use, the time we spend in the laboratory on research and development, and the accountability measures we take every time we produce a fastener have developed a bolt we are proud to call our own. In the fastener industry and our daily life, our dedication to finding out why things happen, how we can address them, and what we will need to accomplish our goals drives us toward constant improvement. We strive to be the best; we can always be better. That’s Doxsteel’s calling.