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HEICO Uses Bay Supply to Expand Reach for Cold-Formed Fasteners


A variety of HEICO parts scattered on a white background

The fastener industry is incredibly diverse, with products that fulfill various functions. Some of the most common fastener categories are rivets, lockbolts, threaded inserts, and pin fasteners.

HEICO Corporation is a well-known brand in aerospace, industrial, and defense manufacturing, partly because of its unique engineered industrial fasteners, including a new category of locking washers that have become a vital part of critical machine assemblies.

HEICO fills a unique niche in the fastener market, offering a wide range of cold-formed fasteners for specialty applications.

To learn more about HEICO Fastening Systems, we spoke with Luke Reed, sales manager for North America, to learn more about the company's history and what’s happening in the HEICO industrial fastener division.



Have You Heard of HEICO?

The company offers specialty fasteners and parts for large commercial aircraft, military aircraft, industrial turbines, electro-optical devices, and other applications. HEICO has been in business for more than 120 years and is a fourth-generation, family-owned company based in Ense, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Hollywood, Florida.

HEICO handles the design, manufacture, repair, overhaul, and support of aerospace, electronics, and industrial products. As Reed explained, HEICO’s fastener division is made up of three groups: automotive, furniture, and fasteners.

All of HEICO’s fastener products are cold-formed, such as turning a wire into a bolt, screw, or washer. HEICO makes both high-level engineering and production-quality components. The company has IATF 16949 and ISO 9001 certifications to ensure zero-defect manufacturing.

HEICO’s fastener parts are used just about everywhere, including commonly in mining and agriculture machinery, industrial equipment, military and off-road vehicles, power generators, and similar applications.



A New Type of Lock Washer

Customers come to HEICO for fasteners for critical joints, which are joints that can’t work loose without creating critical failures or safety issues.

“You may have an assembly column with 100 bolts, and there may only be 20 of the bolts on the machinery that are considered critical,” Reed said. “Case in point: If you're on a haul truck in a mining application and the door panel bolts come loose, the worst-case scenario is it drives the operator crazy. But if a critical flange on the drive train comes loose, it will be a pretty bad day for him.”

One of HEICO’s most popular products is the company’s wedge lock washers. Unlike conventional washers, HEICO’s wedge lock washers work on the principle of tension—not friction. HEICO’s lock washers are two-part systems that fit together and won’t loosen. When the joint is subject to outside vibration, the bolt can’t loosen because of the washer design, which tightens the joint.

The HEICO-LOCK® wedge locking system has been HEICO’s most popular seller for the last 13 years and secures bolts at low and high preload levels. The HEICO-LOCK is easy to install, works with high-tensile bolts and nuts of any size, is made of stainless or carbon steel, and comes in sizes suitable for narrow or wide surface loads. 

HEICO also makes HEICO-LOCKS with a nickel alloy for high-heat applications, such as a gas turbine, or corrosive applications, such as salt water. HEICO also offers specialty coatings and materials and custom diameters.

The HEICO-LOCK is a twin washer system, which means that the two pieces of the washer are fitted together to create a vibration-proof joint. The wedge washers are shipped as a matching pair since they need to be properly aligned for installation. The washers come glued together for the convenience of the operator. However, the washers are reusable; if the two halves are separated, they need to be realigned, which can be challenging. To solve the problem, HEIOC developed the HEICO-LOCK Combi-Washer, which uses inset tabs to permanently mate both halves of the wedge locking system.


Specialty Fasteners Need Special Service

HEICO delivers quality products, with manufacturing that goes beyond the ISO 9001 quality standard. “When we ship it, it works. We never hear back from the field,” Reed said.

Reed sees customer service as an important differentiator for HEICO, and this commitment to customer service takes several forms. The company is committed to meeting customer needs, including maintaining a robust inventory so it doesn’t have to rely on just-in-time provisioning. HEICO also maintains a sophisticated testing lab and encourages its customers—and their customers—to work with HEICO to develop custom applications.

HEICO also prides itself on being competitive and maintaining stable pricing. Reed boasted that the company has used the same pricing list since 2011.

Distributors are a critical part of HEICO’s customer service. Since HEICO’s wedge locking system has a unique design, distributors need to be able to educate customers about potential applications, and Reed loves working with distributors to educate customers.

“The ideal situation for us is when we conduct a joint call, like a lunch and learn or what we call doughnuts and learn in the morning,” Reed said.

Reed was drawn to Bay Supply because of its technical expertise and knowledge of the fastener market.

“Bay Supply has the potential to give us tremendous exposure to the market,” he said. “We’re a small company, and market exposure is certainly worthwhile. They can satisfy their customers’ needs in a pretty big way just because of their footprint. And they've got a very energetic and dynamic marketing approach, which will help them and help us as their supplier.”

The Bay Supply Marketplace is an excellent source for specialty fasteners, including the HEICO-LOCK. To learn more, join the Marketplace and explore the inventory.

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