What’s a Superbolt?

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Superbolts are used to replace large nuts and bolts, distributing force across smaller bolts to allow for easier tightening with hand tools. They consist of a washer, nut body, and jackbolts. They are used in high-pressure applications and can be custom designed. They save time and improve safety but are more expensive than standard fasteners.

A superbolt is a special type of mechanical fastener that is used to replace hex nuts, bolts and other threaded fasteners. This type of bolt is typically used with larger nuts and bolts, usually larger than 1 inch (25cm) in diameter, which require a high amount of force to tighten properly. Using a superbolt, the force needed to tighten one large fastener is distributed across several smaller bolts, so simple hand tools can be used. This provides an alternative to using large tools, such as plumbing wrenches and sledgehammers, which are difficult to handle and can pose safety risks.

A superbolt is made up of three main components. The first is a hardened washer that provides a precision flat surface to drive the smaller bolts onto. The second is the round nut body, which is threaded onto the bolt and sits against the washer. The third is a set of smaller bolts, known as jackbolts, that are threaded through the nut body and tightened. When jackbolts are tightened, they push against the hardened washer surface and secure the mechanical joint by putting the existing nut or bolt under sheer tension.

Superbolts are typically used for large equipment applications that require very high forces or pressures. Some examples are mechanical presses, where large diameter columns are used to distribute extremely high workloads, and steam turbines, which generate very high internal pressures which must be contained without losses by metal-to-metal mechanical joints. The force required to properly tighten these fasteners becomes very difficult to achieve without large, bulky tools that can pose significant safety risks.

A wide variety of Superbolts are available to suit many different applications. Guidelines are available through Superbolt manufacturers to assist customers in selecting the correct size and type of Superbolt for a specific set of operating conditions. These guidelines include the type of mechanical connection, operating temperature, workloads, and material considerations. Superbolts can also be custom designed and fabricated to meet unique equipment applications.

The use of a superbolt can provide significant time savings over other mechanical fastening methods because only hand tools are used and worker safety is improved. Because a fine bolt generates sheer tension force when tightened, it also eliminates the galling and thread binding problems that can occur with conventional fasteners. While effective, Superbolts are more expensive than standard mechanical fasteners and the cost-effectiveness of using them should be evaluated for each specific application.

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