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A guide to wire thread inserts

Posted by Advanex  |  

Precision engineers are continually seeking optimisations for every aspect of design, such as strength, durability and overall cost. The fastening of metallic elements and components is one of the most crucial of these aspects, as they demand a high degree of strength and reliability. Without it, the risk of failure is constant.

Wire thread inserts are a great fastening solution. Not only do they provide the strength and reliability to optimise designs, but they also enable the integration of lighter and softer metals without the risk of failure.

In this article, we explore wire thread inserts, how they are used and the various features and advantages they bring to engineering applications.

What is a wire thread insert?

Wire thread inserts are used to connect metallic components or elements together in an efficient way that leaves a durable and reliable fastening. Their name derives from their helical design of a diamond-shaped wire, which creates a threaded hole at their centre. These wire thread inserts are installed in components where bolts or screws are driven through their threaded centre to fasten two components.

Wire thread inserts provide superior fastening features when compared to using the original thread of a metallic component. When a bolt is driven through the centre of a wire thread insert, the helical wire adjusts radially and axially within the parent material. This dissipates the tension equally over the entire hole and bolt, increasing the overall strength and reliability of the fastening.

What are the features of wire thread inserts?

Reliability and durability

Wire thread inserts enhance the strength of the bolt fastening by dissipating the tension across its entire length. This directly improves the reliability of components by increasing fatigue strength and reducing stresses. Additionally, the consistent surface contact between the inserts and parent material make it resistant to extreme tension and vibration.

Enable the use of light metals

When fastening light metals, there can often be issues with fatigue strength. Using bolts in threaded holes can lead to concentrated areas of stress, leading to wear and eventual failure in softer and lighter metals. Wire thread inserts are a solution to this problem by dissipating the stress more evenly across the fastening hole, reducing the forces on the parent material and minimising concentrated areas of fatigue. As a result, engineers can reliably integrate light metals into designs.

Repair and maintenance

When performing maintenance on components, the threading in fastening holes can become eroded from wear, corrosion or other elements. This leads to a weakening of the fastening  which requires repair. Wire thread inserts are an inexpensive and time effective solution that not only reintroduces threading, but can provide improved durability and reliability over traditional fastening.

Are there different types of wire thread inserts?

Wire thread inserts, also known as helicoils, coilthreads, or recoil inserts, are known by a range of different names, often depending on their manufacturing brand. Each of these describe the same component, a wire thread insert. The variation of names comes from the different brands and interpretations over the decades since wire thread inserts have been produced. There is, however, different versions of wire thread inserts available:

  • Tanged Wire Thread Inserts - The widespread form of wire thread insert that features an extended portion of the coil wire that is used for gripping during installation. It is broken off when optimal placement is achieved.
  • Tangless Wire Thread Inserts - An alternative form of wire thread insert that instead has a notch within the coil that is used by specialised tools for installation.
  • Composition/coating - There are different metallic compositions and coatings applied to wire thread inserts that provide specialised surface characteristics. An example is Phosphor Bronze that exhibits corrosive resistance for specific applications.

Integrate industry leading wire thread inserts with KATO® Advanex

Wire thread inserts are an invaluable tool to get the most out of engineering designs. They offer superior strength, reliability, maintenance efficiency and the safe integration of light metals.

KATO® Advanex are the leading manufacturer of Tanged and Tangless® wire thread inserts that form strong, resilient, lightweight joints to reduce material costs and increase efficiency Our wire thread inserts are used extensively across industries, and we’re proud to support world-class manufacturers in their efforts to improve performance, quality and viability.

To find out more about KATO® Advanex and our tanged or tangless wire thread solutions, contact a member of our team today.


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