A primer on PowerCoil wire thread inserts – Part 3

In a recent articles we have been discussing some of the features of PowerCoil wire thread inserts. We will now talk about different materials and coatings that are available.


PowerCoil standard inserts are manufactured from fully certified, aircraft quality, 304 (18/8) austenitic stainless steel in accordance with dtd 734A. Alternative materials include 316 stainless steel and a variety of application specific surface coatings.

Phosphor Bronze
Non ferrous copper/tin alloy in accordance with BS2783 PB 102 EH – is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -200°C to +300°C.

Inconel X-750
Heat resisting precipitation hardenable nickel base alloy (equivalent specifications SAE AS 7246, DIN/NF 3018, W.NR 2.4669, UNS N07750). Inconel X-750 is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -200°C to +550°C.

Nimonic 90
Heat resisting precipitation hardenable nickel base alloy in accordance with BS2 HR 501 (equivalent specifications W.NR 2.4632, UNS N07090).
Nimonic 90 is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -100°C to +650°C.

Cadmium Plate
Electro-deposited cadmium in accordance with DTD 904/Def Stan 03-19 (equivalent specifications FED. QQ-P-416, LN 9368). Cadmium plating provides an excellent barrier between dissimilar metals dramatically reducing the effects of galvanic corrosion, its high lubricity and excellent corrosion resistance prevents seizure and galling between threaded components. Cadmium plate is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -200°C to +235°C.
Cadmium plated parts must not be
• subjected to temperatures exceeding 235°C (455°F)
• come into contact with fuel or hot oil
• come into contact with food or drinking water
• be used with titanium components (either directly or indirectly).
At elevated temperatures embrittlement and subsequent component failure may occur.
• cadmium is highly toxic – consequently extreme care must be taken when shipping, handling and installing.

Zinc Plate
Electrolytically deposited zinc in accordance with BS 3382. Electro-deposited zinc is the most widely applied electroplated finish in industry. Zinc is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -200°C to +250°C.

Silver Plate
Electrolytically deposited silver in accordance with DTD 939. Silver plating is used to prevent seizure and galling between thread components in high temperature applications and is most commonly applied to aero-engine fasteners. Silver plate is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -200°C to +650°C. Silver plated wire inserts may be installed in various materials including aluminium alloys, magnesium alloys, corrosion and heat resistant materials etc.
Silver plated inserts are not recommended for installation in titanium alloy which may exceed a service temperature of 300°C (570o°F). Stress corrosion as a result of the combination of silver and titanium may occur in the housing material.

Dry Film Lubricant
Solid film heat cured molybdenum disulphide dry film lubricant coating in accordance with MIL-L-0046010 provides a low frictional coefficient coating with excellent load bearing capabilities. Dry film lubricant prevents seizing and galling between threaded components and is particularly effective in screw locking insert applications. Dry film lubricant is suitable for operation in temperatures ranging from -100°C to +250°C.

A primer on PowerCoil wire thread inserts – Part 2

In a previous article we discussed some of the features of PowerCoil wire thread inserts. Now we want to go deeper into some of the specific advantages, particularly strength, elimination of stress, wear resistance, corrosion protection.

Due to their flexibility, wire thread inserts create internal threads that have a much improved distribution of residual stress loading when compared with conventional tapped holes, where 75% of the shearing forces are carried by the first three threads in the tapped hole. The flexibility of wire thread inserts helps to compensate for pitch and flank angle errors, inherent in normal tapped holes, and significantly enhances the load bearing capacity by deflecting the residual forces into a helical hoop stress which is dispersed into the wall of the tapped hole. This enables the design to be confidently based on the bolt strength utilising smaller and shorter threads even when used in low strength materials.

The high tensile coils of a wire thread insert undergo a diameter reduction during installation. The outward spring-like force of the coils “locks” the insert into place.

Each coil can flex independently to contact the greatest amount of parent material thread surface. Both static and dynamic load bearing capabilities are improved.

Eliminate Stress

Virtually no stress is introduced into the parent material because there is no staking, locking, swaging or keying in place. The outward “spring action” of the insert holds it in place.

Wear Resistance

The combination of material hardness and the brilliant surface finish of wire thread inserts creates internal threads in which wear due to thread friction is virtually eliminated. This is of particular value in applications requiring repeated assembly & disassembly. The low frictional coefficient ensures that virtually all of the applied assembly torque is converted into clamping load. Thus providing threads that stay tight.

Corrosion Protection

The 18/8 austenitic stainless steel wire used in PowerCoil inserts resists corrosion under normal environmental conditions. Galvanic action within the thread assembly is reduced, increasing the life of the fastening assembly.

Galvanic corrosion is most significant form of corrosion affecting inserts and fasteners. Galvanic corrosion occurs when dissimilar metals are in contact in the presence of an electrolytic solution. All metals exhibit different degrees of “activity” or “nobility” and can be arranged in a galvanic series of increasing activity. Gold and platinum are most noble while zinc and magnesium are most active. The most common electrolytic solution encountered is ordinary water. Seawater or salt spray is more damaging because of high concentrations of dissolved salts.

The best way to preclude galvanic corrosion is to use similar potential metals and eliminate the electrolyte conductor. The active stainless steel of PowerCoil wire thread inserts is not passivated. This minimizes the possibility of galvanic corrosion occurring when they are installed in aluminum or magnesium parent materials.

Some additional precautions for reducing galvanic corrosion are:

  1. Isolate the fasteners from the electrolyte. This can be done through gasketing or sealing. 
  2. Specify cadmium plated inserts. The cadmium plate provides a sacrificial barrier against corrosion. In addition, the cadmium plate has lubricating properties that minimize galling when stainless steel screws are used.
  3. Apply corrosion inhibiting pastes or compounds to the screw. These include zinc chromate primer (MiL-P-8585) and strontium chromate primer (MiL-P-23377). Note: Pastes applied to the PowerCoil Thread Insert can become trapped between the wire and the hole and cause loss of proper tolerance. It is therefore recommended to apply the paste only to the screw, not the insert. If zinc chromate primer is applied to the tapped hole it should be thinned and applied sparingly. The insert should be installed while the primer is still wet.
  4. Specify a dry film lubricant such as molybdenum disulphide on the inserts. This provides a secondary barrier against corrosion.
  5. Where practical or where it will not interfere with the completed assembly, the external joint should be coated with a suitable paint.

The next article in this primer series will delve into how to select the correct insert length, as well as different materials and coatings.

A primer on PowerCoil wire thread inserts – Part 1



Manufactured from high quality chromium nickel stainless steel, PowerCoil wire thread inserts provide high strength internal threads that resist the effects of temperature and corrosion. Their unique design ensures superior threads whose compound performance cannot be reproduced by any other single fastening method. Available in two basic forms, free running or screw locking, they are much lighter and less expensive than any other equivalent type of thread insert and because of their compact size they can generally be incorporated into existing designs where no previous provision has been made.

Features & Benefits

For many years, helically coiled wire thread inserts have been vastly underestimated. The popular misconception that they were designed for the repair of damaged threads has given this unique fastener a false image. They are much lighter and less expensive than any other equivalent type of thread insert and because of their compact size, can generally be introduced into existing designs where no previous provision has been made. Unlike many other economic measures, their introduction increases quality and performance whilst reducing overall product cost. Their introduction may result in the use of thinner sections or lighter parent materials without sacrificing thread strength.

They protect tapped threads against failures due to stripping, seizing, corrosion and wear. PowerCoil wire thread inserts are produced from austenitic stainless steel wire which is work hardened to a tensile strength above 200,000psi and a hardness of rc43-50. The inserts have an exceedingly smooth surface finish that virtually eliminates friction-induced thread erosion.

The continuous helically coiled design negates the need for thick wall structures to support the internal and external threads – the diamond profile wire coil is the thread. PowerCoil wire thread inserts can be installed in reduced size bosses or flanges and within constricted areas – saving space and weight while providing high strength.

A boss radius equal to the nominal bolt diameter is usually sufficient.

A complete range of installation tools are available to suit specific production techniques. A range of hand tools exist for small runs and repairs; electric and pneumatic tools are available for high volume production requirements.

Free Running

Produced from precision profiled austenitic stainless steel wire wound into a helical spiral, PowerCoil free running inserts have a spring like appearance. When installed, using any one of a variety of manual or automatic tools, they provide strong permanent internal threads which resist heat and corrosion. Once fitted, their position is maintained by the action of radial pressure between their coils and the flanks of the tapped hole. This pressure exists because their free diameter is larger by a calculated amount, than their installed diameter.

Screw Locking


Screw locking (or prevailing torque) inserts are of particular value in applications subject to the effects of cyclic vibration or impact. In addition to the benefits afforded by free running inserts, PowerCoil screw locking inserts offer the additional security of prevailing locking torque. This is achieved by the action of one or more polygonal grip coils positioned within the insert’s length, which exert radial pressure on the male thread. Each grip coil consists of a number of tangential locking cords which protrude inside the minor diameter of the normal free running coils. As the male thread passes through these grip coils, the locking flats are displaced thus exerting radial pressure or prevailing torque on the male thread. On removal of the male thread, the locking coils relax to their original form permitting repeated assembly whilst retaining a measurable level of prevailing torque.

Note: It is recommended that only close fit plated or lubricated bolts or screws are used with screw locking inserts.

In a future article we will explore other inherent benefits of wire thread inserts, particularly strength, wear resistance, and corrosion protection.