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E-Z LOK and the Future of Threaded Inserts


E-Z LOK and the Future of Threaded Inserts

When you think about different types of fasteners, you probably seldom think of threaded inserts, but they are essential for specific types of applications. There are many instances when you need a secure way to screw a bolt or attachment into softer materials or need to repair a stripped screw hole. That’s when threaded inserts can be invaluable.

Threaded inserts are bushings that are securely inserted into material to create a threaded hole. They are great for repairing stripped threads, such as in an engine block or transmission, wooden furniture, machinery, or plastic components. Threaded inserts also provide a firm foundation to accept threaded fasteners, such as using metal inserts in furniture to screw in table or chair legs. They are ideally suited for use with softer materials such as plastics—especially when you must remove and replace components such as a circuit board.

Almost any application that requires threaded bolts or parts can benefit from threaded inserts. While many companies include inserts as part of their fastener offerings, E-Z LOK is one of a few vendors that specialize in threaded inserts. We interviewed Kyle Lindsly-Roach, the company’s director of sales and marketing, to learn more about the market and applications for threaded inserts.


Launching the E-Z LOK Company

E-Z LOK is a family-owned business that was founded in 1956 in Gardena, California. It is now owned and operated by the third generation of the founding family. Initially, the company’s founders approached STANLEY Engineered Fastening to become a distributor. When STANLEY refused, the founders started their own company, offering the first in the line of E-Z LOK threaded inserts.

When E-Z LOK started operations, the company made parts for the aircraft industry, which needed threaded inserts for aluminum panels and parts. Today, the company has an extensive line of inserts for metal, wood, and plastic. The company motto is “Strong threads made easy.”

“Threaded inserts are a great product category,” Lindsly-Roach said. “Everybody needs them. Stripped threads are a real bugaboo for maintenance people. When threads are stripped out, you can’t use your fasteners. You must find a solution for the problem, and we fill that need. It may not be the most glamorous thing, but it’s something that’s needed anywhere and everywhere.”

E-Z LOK has expanded over the decades. In addition to the plant and headquarters in Gardena, the company has warehouses in Indiana, New Jersey, and North Carolina. E-Z LOK also has a sister company, TCI Precision Metals, which makes machine-ready metal blanks. 

Shop E-Z LOK Threaded Inserts


Designing Threaded Inserts to Perform 

According to Lindsly-Roach, most of E-Z LOK’s threaded inserts are sold for original equipment manufacturer work and fabrication and repair work.

Furniture makes up a lot of the company’s sales. E-Z LOK sells inserts for everything from high-end furniture to “knock-down” furniture, retail displays, and related products. Reliable threaded inserts are preferred for these types of applications because they ensure assembly is solid and lasting, and in the case of displays, assembly and disassembly are relatively easy.

E-Z LOK is also seeing an increase in sales for applications with plastics. The boom in 3D printing and injection-molded plastics has created more demand for threaded inserts.

Metal fabrication represents another area where sales are strong. The company sells many of its threaded inserts for use with softer metals, such as aluminum. Installing a stronger insert during fabrication makes more sense than tapping softer metals and repairing the threads later.

“One of our biggest markets is maintenance people who need to repair threads,” Lindsly-Roach said. “They are looking to fix issues with threads that are stripped out on their floor machinery. Hobbyists are another group that makes up a big part of our sales.”


Making Inserts for Every Application

Customers are drawn to E-Z LOK products because they are designed to deliver optimal performance for the price and don’t require any special tools to install. The inserts can be set using standard tools and drill taps.

When choosing inserts, the challenge is choosing the right threaded insert for the materials. E-Z LOK offers different inserts to accommodate various wall thicknesses and maximize pull-out resistance. The company also offers three different types of inserts for plastics: cold-pressed inserts, post-mold inserts that are installed with heat or ultrasonics, and high-end plastic mold inserts.

Lindsly-Roach sees plastics as a growth industry, especially as manufacturers move away from metals to plastics to reduce weight and cut production costs. The company wants to expand its threaded insert offering for plastics, including new mold-in inserts, different insert lengths, and more headed versus non-headed inserts.

“We think plastics is really a big industry,” Lindsly-Roach said. “So many people are trying to move into plastics to reduce weight, reduce costs, and to be able to put together prototypes rapidly. There's growth in other segments, but plastics have the biggest growth potential.”

Lindsly-Roach is also looking to the company’s relationship with Bay Supply to increase sales.

“I saw what they were doing with their marketplace and thought it would be a great fit for us,” he said. “We're looking to get more exposure and drive our sales, and that seemed like a great channel—especially when a lot of the buyers and people are specifying products sight unseen. They just want to spec an order without talking to somebody because they know what they want.”

Bay Supply carries the full line of E-Z LOK inserts for metal, wood, and plastic. To see what threaded inserts are available for your next contract, sign up for the Bay Supply Marketplace. 


Download The Essential Guide to Threaded Rivet Nut Inserts