Welcome to Stage 8 Case Studies, compiled by our founder and CEO, Bruce Bennett. These are true-to-life stories from Stage 8 customers, containing details on how we were able to develop customized solutions for each one.
How may we help you? Contact us today with your needs and let the Stage 8 team provide you with a zero-failure solution to every application you have!
Thank you for your interest in Stage 8 Locking Fasteners.
An aluminum can manufacturer called Stage 8 after an industrial accident that infuriated the owner, but luckily, didn’t get anyone killed.
If you’ve never been inside a large factory, you can’t imagine the size and speed of the machinery involved. In this case, machinery churning out more than 200 cans a minute was being driven faster and faster to meet production quotas. When you increase the average operating RPMs of any piece of machinery, you also increase heat, friction and vibration.
In this case, a 3,000 pound, flywheel, five feet in diameter, came off its housing and smashed through the wall. A little thing like a cement and steel wall didn’t slow the flywheel much: it continued its path into the parking area. The owner of the company also owned a beautiful Corvette, the apple of his eye. But the apple got a coring when the flywheel sheared it right in half.
When the tears stopped, the Corvette owner, who had installed my locking header bolts on his prized car, called me up to see if we could create a locking system for that gigantic wheel of death. Of course we did, and now it stays right where it belongs.
Dams work not only by storing water until it’s needed, but by moving it from one place to another. When you move it in a way that also captures the kinetic energy of the water, you can transform that energy into electricity. When you build a dam for hydroelectric purposes, it’s more than a cement pond: you also install turbines or propellers turned by the weight of the water to create electricity. As you can imagine, the equipment is huge, and even a small part can contribute to a huge loss.
The 130-foot diameter propeller that turns at the bottom of a dam in Argentina once needed regular servicing because of the 116 nuts that, with rotation and pressure, would work their way loose and compromise the functioning of the propeller. When that happens, you don’t just send in a guy with a big crescent wrench—you have to drain the entire lake! In this particular place, the lake took a year and a half to refill, causing all sorts of problems with water supply and power production. When you have regular down times of eighteen months, you take some time to think about maintenance and prevention before you build another dam.
In 1992, when the dam needed reconstruction, the hydro company contacted us to make locking nuts to replace the old ones, which had continually failed them. We did, and we haven’t heard from them again. The problem with making a product that works 100% of the time is that your customers don’t need to buy another one!
A few years ago, we were contacted by a company planning to subcontract with the military for transport vehicles.
They needed locking spindle bolts on their Humvees.
Stage 8 had passed every test the military set for us.
We’ve also made locking spindle bolts for earth movers and 4 wheel drive vehicles.
When I first invented my locking header bolts, I went to the top three automotive manufacturers, and showed them my product. A way to keep bolts from coming loose and falling off—who wouldn’t want that? The company reps looked me right in the eye and lied, “Our bolts don’t come off,” they said.
“Whose bolts are lying all over the nation’s highways?” I asked, exasperated.
They each named one of their two competitors.
There are two reasons companies lie about their bolts. One is about the impact on sales of admitting any imperfection in the product. You just don’t do it—unless you’re forced to by a product recall! The other is about planned obsolescence. If you replace your exhaust system but the bolt loosens up, you’ll be buying a new header gasket long before you would have otherwise. Manufacturers want to sell you stuff on a regular basis — not just once.
A truly satisfied customer, when sold something built to last, doesn’t need to buy another one next month or even next year. People in sales hate that. Fifty years ago, things like washing machines and ovens were built to last twenty years: they were major purchases. Now, you’re lucky to get a one-year complete warranty on appliances, computers or cars.
Planned obsolescence is built in; things fall apart because of inferior components that don’t last. It costs more to repair some items than it does to buy a new one, so more things end up in landfill when they should, by all rights, still be operational.
When a car manufacturer uses lower grade steel on something as simple as a bolt, it can end up costing a lot in time and associated repairs. It’s also a safety hazard, because when bolts work loose, people can get hurt. It happens all the time — cars, lawn mowers, boats, airplanes. And there’s no reason for it, beyond corporate greed.
If you wear glasses, you’ve probably been mightily annoyed when the screw dropped out of your glasses and then fell into the car seat, never to be found again.
If you’re one of those organized types, you might even have had an extra case with a tiny screwdriver and extra screws so you could repair your glasses—providing you could see what you were doing without your glasses! And unless you have the manual dexterity of an eight year old on a mission to get big candy out of a small box, forget it.
We made tiny locking eyeglass screws for a glasses company, and they were fantastic. With our locking screws, people’s glasses lasted on average, two years instead of four months; the previous average life expectancy of their glasses. Market research has found that if glasses break inside of four months, customers tend to return them for replacement of refund, but after four months, they think the breakage must be their own fault. So, the planned obsolescence for their eyeglasses is right about at that four month mark.
You might say we screwed up. Our locking glasses screws lasted so long, they negatively impacted sales. The product was too good; it lasted longer and people were satisfied with their purchases. The company decided to return to the cheap screws they’d used before.