Loose bolts in industrial applications are more than just an annoyance – they're a safety hazard and a productivity killer. Loose or failing fasteners can lead to catastrophic equipment failure, injury, and costly downtime.  

Because of this, thread lockers have become an essential tool for securing connections, but with various strengths available, choosing the right one can create more questions than answers. 

This article delves into the application of medium-strength thread lockers, exploring their unique properties, ideal applications and benefits, specifically for industrial users.

Understanding Thread Locker Strength:

Thread lockers come in a spectrum of strengths, each offering a different level of holding power and removability. Here's a quick breakdown of the key categories:

Low-Strength: These thread lockers offer low holding power and are ideal for applications where frequent disassembly is needed. Examples include access panels or components requiring regular adjustments.

We recommend: Freinage Faible

Medium-Strength: As the focus of this article, medium-strength thread lockers provide a balance of holding power and removability, making them well-suited for a wide range of industrial applications. Medium isn’t weak, but you should be able to remove a medium-strength thread locker with hand tools.

We recommend: Freinage Moyen

High-Strength: These thread lockers offer the strongest holding power and are ideal for permanent or semi-permanent applications where disassembly is unlikely. Examples include critical engine components or high-vibration machinery. If you do need to remove them, they require the localised heat of a blowtorch to weaken the bond.

We recommend: Freinage Fort

When it comes to identifying the correct thread locker strength for your needs, avoid selecting a product based on product or bottle colour. Different companies use different colours to signify different strengths. Read the bottle!

Why Medium-Strength Thread Lockers Reign Supreme in Industrial Settings:

While high-strength thread lockers may seem like the ultimate solution for securing industrial fasteners, they present a significant drawback: difficult disassembly.  

When routine maintenance or repairs are required, breaking a high-strength bond can be time-consuming, require specialised heating tools and PPE, and risks damaging the surrounding components. Not to mention the risk of bringing a naked flame into an area which may contain flammable materials.

Here's why medium-strength thread lockers shine:

Vibration Damping: Industrial environments are notorious for constant vibrations. From heavy machinery to high-pressure pipelines, these vibrations gradually loosen even the most tightly fastened bolts. Don’t let the name ‘medium’ fool you though, medium-strength thread lockers act as a strong countermeasure, securing the connection and preventing these vibrations from causing critical component failure or leaks. 

Disassembly When Needed: Unlike their permanent-bond counterparts, medium-strength thread lockers allow for disassembly with standard tools during routine maintenance or repairs. Not only does this make life easier for maintenance teams, but it directly translates to significant time and cost savings. Imagine the difference between removing a bolt with a wrench versus battling a high-strength bond that requires heat or specialised tools. In industrial settings where upkeep is paramount, this ease of disassembly makes medium-strength thread lockers the more valuable option.

Whomever put this much red thread locker on these caliper anchor bolts owes me an explanation. And an hour of my day...

Versatility: Medium-strength thread lockers offer a wide range of applicability, effectively securing various fastener sizes commonly encountered in industrial settings. From small instrument screws to large flange bolts, they provide the necessary holding power without compromising on the need for routine maintenance tasks.

Strong Leak Prevention: A medium-strength thread lockers will still create a strong seal on threaded connections, preventing leaks in critical applications like hydraulic systems, pipelines, and pressurised vessels.

Corrosion Resistance: Many medium-strength thread lockers provide an added layer of protection against rust and corrosion. This is especially beneficial in harsh industrial environments where moisture and corrosive elements are common. By protecting the threads from corrosion, medium-strength thread lockers extend the lifespan of expensive industrial equipment and reduce maintenance needs.

Choosing the Right Medium-Strength Thread Locker

Not all medium-strength thread lockers are created equal. Several factors should be considered when selecting the right product for your specific industrial application:

Viscosity: Viscosity refers to the thickness of the thread locker. A lower viscosity is ideal for smaller fasteners and tight spaces, while a higher viscosity provides better capillary action (gap-filling capabilities) for larger fasteners or uneven surfaces.

Chemical Composition: Some medium-strength thread lockers offer superior resistance to specific chemicals commonly encountered in industrial settings, such as oils, fuels, or solvents. Check the specifications, as choosing the right chemical composition ensures optimal performance and compatibility with the materials and environment where the fastener is used.

Cure Time: Cure time refers to the time it takes for the thread locker to reach its full strength. Faster cure times can be beneficial for production lines, while slower cure times allow for slight adjustments after application.

Temperature Range: Industrial environments can experience a wide range of temperatures. Medium-strength thread lockers are typically formulated to function within a specific temperature range. It's crucial to choose a thread locker that can withstand the operating temperatures of the application for optimal performance and long-term reliability.

Best Practices for Applying Medium-Strength Thread Lockers:

To ensure the effectiveness and longevity of your medium-strength thread locker application, adhering to best practices is essential:

Surface Preparation: Clean and dry the threads of the fastener and the mating surface thoroughly. Oil, grease, or dirt can compromise the bond strength of the thread locker. Use degreasers or cleaners specifically designed for metal surfaces.

Shake Well: Most medium-strength thread lockers come in squeeze bottles. Shake the bottle well before application to ensure a consistent mix and optimal performance.

Apply Sparingly: A little goes a long way. Over-application can create a messy situation and wastes product. Apply a small drop of thread locker to the male threads, focusing on the engagement zone near the base of the fastener.

Assembly: Assemble the fastener immediately after application, ensuring proper torque specifications are followed.

Curing Time: Allow the thread locker sufficient time to cure before subjecting the connection to full load. Refer to the manufacturer's cure time recommendations for the specific product you're using

Locking It In: The Final Word on Medium Strength Thread lockers

Hopefully now you better understand the unique properties of medium thread lockers and the best practices for application, you can leverage these versatile products to secure critical fasteners, prevent leaks, and ultimately enhance the safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of your industrial operations.

Remember: High-strength thread lockers might seem ideal, but they often lead to headaches down the line when disassembly is required for maintenance or repairs. 

They certainly have their place, but a medium strength is plenty for 99% of industrial applications.