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Why Huck Partners with Bay Supply


Huckbolts and structural blind rivets text over top of a blueprint of rivets with the red square huck logo.

Everyone in the fastener business has heard of Huck fasteners. Huck, now a division of Howmet Aerospace, has been producing lockbolts and blind rivets since the 1930s. Today, they are used in a wide range of transportation, construction, manufacturing, and other applications. And the engineers at Huck continue to innovate with new bolt designs and applications.

To learn more about Huck blind rivets and bolts and the latest developments at Howmet, we spoke with Michelle Hanley, the company’s marketing and product manager.

A Brief Huck History Lesson

Many claim that Huck made the first blind rivet when Louis C. Huck developed the Huck fastener in 1944. The U.S. Navy approached Huck to develop a lockbolt to replace the fasteners used in combat aircraft that would loosen with continuous vibration. 

The Navy needed a reliable fastener that would eliminate any gaps during installation so it wouldn’t loosen. The problem with standard nuts and bolts is that they form gaps in the threading that would loosen the joint with continuous vibration. 

Legend has it that Huck designed the bolt on a Wabash commuter train, sketching the initial design on a napkin. The result was the Huck lockbolt, which is similar to the fastener in use today. The Huck lockbolt has a unique locking groove design that leaves no gaps so that it won’t loosen or fatigue over time.

The Navy was delighted with the solution, and every B-24 Liberator bomber and most of the F6F Hellcat fighter planes made in 1944 used Huck lockbolts. The same lockbolts were quickly adopted for use in railcars, ships, and other applications where vibration was an issue. Today, the same Huck fasteners have become an industry mainstay with various applications.

Howmet Fastening Systems (HFS) Industrial was formed through the acquisition of Huck in 2000. As the company expanded into making airplane parts, HFS formed two product groups, one for aerospace and one for manufacturing. Most Huck products are offered through the manufacturing group.

You will find Huck fasteners in railcar manufacturing, truck trailers, rail track agricultural equipment, telecommunications towers, and solar power systems. Huck fasteners are also used in everything from kayaks to soccer cleats to roller coasters. They are appealing because they offer consistent, high-strength performance and are easy to install.


What Makes Huck Fasteners Popular?

Huck fasteners are a preferred alternative to nuts and bolts and welded joints. Welding has several issues since it requires skilled welders, and it can be challenging to weld different materials. Nuts and bolts have other problems, such as ensuring the torque is the same for consistent joint tension.

Huck fasteners deliver a reliable joint and are consistently installed. For example, the panels used in a van can be easily crushed with too much torque. Huck fasteners provide a consistent clamp pressure that won’t crush the material and will distribute the load evenly. Huck bolts also have a higher tensile strength and higher shear strength. Huck blind bolts can be installed quickly and efficiently from one side of a workpiece, such as when installing seats in passenger trains or buses.

“These fasteners aren’t just fasteners but [also] a solution to a problem in a joint,” Hanley said. “They fill a need in a specific application. That’s why they have become so widely used in various industries. For example, it’s unusual not to see a Huck fastener in a class A truck chassis.”

Hanley also noted that customers continue to discover the benefits of Huck fasteners, especially when they start exploring new approaches. For example, a mining company was convinced that it didn’t need new fasteners and that its operation didn’t suffer from broken or loose bolts. It turns out the company had a worker on the payroll whose sole job was replacing and tightening bolts—an expensive workaround when considering a Huck fastener could provide a worry-free joint.

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Building on Proven Performance

Even though Huck fasteners are extremely popular, the company continues to innovate, developing new features and designs for new applications.

The Huck BOM is a popular blind bolt that is easy to install and requires no maintenance or tightening. When installed, the Huck BOM pulls the threaded pin to collapse the rivet on the blind side, then finishes by swaging the collar and separating the pin flush with the collar for a clean finish. The Huck BOM resists vibration and is used in auto suspensions, military equipment, agricultural equipment, and other applications where performance is essential.

The Huck bobtail is another top seller. The bobtail lockbolt is designed for two-sided installation. The pin is inserted in the pre-drilled hole, and the collar is fitted over the pin on the opposite side to form the joint. The collar is then swaged and pressed into the grooves on the pin for a solid, vibration-resistant joint. Unlike blind bolts, the Bobtail retains its tail, making removing the collar easier.  

Huck’s newest fastener product, the Huck BOMtail, which combines the Huck BOM and bobtail, is scheduled to be released in early 2024. This new fastener installs like a Huck BOM blind rivet but without removing the pin, so it can be installed using battery-powered tools.

“The BOMtail is for applications where we don't need a flush or semi-flush break,” Hanley said. “By leaving a few of those grooves on the end, we can get the same or similar values to the BOM, but we can install it with a battery tool. It's lighter. It's faster. It’s just easier for installation.”

Hanley added that there are other Huck products in development, and the company continues to look for new ways to solve customer problems. Distributors such as Bay Supply have proven to be a valuable resource for identifying customer challenges.

“Bay Supply has been a valuable partner for us,” she said. “They are good at finding new applications and are innovative—always willing to think outside the box and try something new.”

Shop the complete line of Huck bolts and fasteners on the Bay Supply Marketplace.