Risk Management Through Uneeda

Risk Management Through Uneeda

With all the recent turmoil in global markets, many risks in your supply chain have likely become apparent. There are risks associated with any supply chain, but a solid partner should work with you to help you understand and mitigate these risks before they become an issue. We at Uneeda understand that the hardware we provide is likely not your most expensive or time-consuming component of your product, but if there is an issue It can shut down your entire operation. For this reason, we make painstaking efforts to reduce risk at all levels of our (and by extension, your) supply chain.

Starting at the source, we multi-source every item to ensure we have options if in the rare event there is an issue with a particular factory. Uneeda has multiple sources so that you do not have to. Uneeda has been importing since the 1970s and has thoroughly vetted all of our factories. We only purchase from ISO:9001 certified sources that produce high quality parts. Furthermore, we demand clarity and complete communication throughout the order process to best manage every order.  Not just any factory can supply Uneeda.  It is an exclusive club.

On this note, we switched the bulk of our overseas production to Taiwan decades ago to ensure consistent quality parts and open and clear communication.  We instill in our Factories the notion of partnership and our partners know they are expected to pass along market updates as to what they are seeing so we can help you best prepare for future conditions. We are constantly looking to qualify new sources, across various countries to lessen any possible political risk as well.

Once an order is placed, we expedite individual parts monthly with our factories and require reporting of all items; where they are in production, and when they are expected to ship out. This level of granularity gives us the ability to forecast arrival dates accurately and stay on top of potential issues before they arise.  This proactive behavior allows us to handle potential issues in production with little to no impact on our customers.  

We have three NVOCCs (Non-Vessel Owning Common Carriers) that we shop rates on every 15 days to ensure we are getting the best possible ocean freight rates, allowing us to ensure we are not overspending on ocean freight, and keep your prices as low as possible. We buy in large quantities and we always import material in full containers, further improving the efficacy of ocean freight and keeping costs at bay. When a single order does not fill a container, we consolidate with other orders to save as much as possible on freight costs. We are in daily communication with our carriers and require market updates as soon as they are available, which we pass along to our customers when applicable.

When your items are supplied by Uneeda you can be sure that your supply chain is protected. Our responsibility as your hardware supplier is to keep you in the loop on what we are seeing at every level. We have numerous safeguards working cohesively at every stage of production to be sure you get the right parts, on time and without surprises.

If you would like to discuss what Uneeda can do for you or have any questions please reach out to us at Sales@uneedabolt.com or call 1-800-535-2800.

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Which Drill Bit Should I Use?

One of the most common questions we are asked by our customers is which drill bit is the right for their projects. With so many designs and materials it can be confusing to know which is best for your project, so we break down key characteristics below.  

Jobber Bits

Among the most common drill bits, Jobbers are a good all-round drill bit for most projects. They come in a variety of materials and points. “Jobber” refers to the length of the bit.

Tip Style

Split Tip – A split in the tip of the drill bit that allows it to self-center. The split begins to cut before the sharp edges of the drill meet the material. Commonly used along with 135°

Standard Tip – Most common in 118°, a standard tip is perfect for drilling soft materials.

Tip Angle

90 Degree Tip – Relatively uncommon, used on very soft materials like plastic or vinyl.

118 Degree Tip – The most common tip for drill bits, it works well in softer materials like wood, aluminum, thin steel or plastic. They may start to walk when drilling harder steel, and therefore a center-punch should be used to keep the bit on target. Smaller diameter bits under 1/16” are almost always 118°.

135 Degree Tip – Mostly used on hard materials like 410SS or Steel, these bits have a less aggressive tip and center themselves well on harder surfaces. The angle of the tip allows the bit to cut into the material relatively quickly without dulling the tip as on a 118° bit.

Bit Material

In addition to the tip, you should consider the material that the bit is made from.

High-Speed Steel – Most common material great for general purpose use. It is surface treated to ensure a harder material than low-carbon steel. Surface treatment also reduces abrasion and friction between the bit and the material being drilled.

Cobalt – Harder than HSS, these bits are used for drilling steel and stainless-steel and typically are used in conjunction with a 135 Degree Split Point. Cobalt bits are more heat-resistant than steel bits and do not dull as quickly when operated at high temperatures. Keep in mind that any high-temperature usage of a drill bit will eliminate the benefits of heat treating and cause the bit to dull. Lubricating the bit will extend the useful life.

Carbide and Carbide Tipped – Harder material on key points on the bit, good for non-ferrous materials. Carbide in these applications is a combination of either Titanium or Tungsten with Carbon to create an extremely hard, heat resistant material. Tungsten Carbide, for instance, has a hardness on the Mohs Scale of about 9.5 (10 being natural Diamond).

Concrete/Masonry Bits

Masonry drill bits are shaped differently from Jobber bits, and typically have a softer steel body for debris removal with a Tungsten Carbide cutting tip. Masonry bits have larger flutes to allow debris to exit the hole and reduce friction on the bit.

Some masonry bits called SDS Bits are designed to be used in a hammer-drill. These Slotted Drive Shaft bits lock into hammer-drills and are perfect for drilling concrete or brick and are often made entirely from Tungsten Carbide. It is important not to exert too much pressure on an SDS bit as it will reduce the effectiveness of the hammer-drill as the bit both spins and reciprocates in and out of the hammer-drill.

Uneeda Bolt stocks multiple lines of drill bits, both USA Made and imported. If you have any questions on which bit is right for your job give us a call!

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Manufacturing Market Updates

On Saturday the US House of Representatives passed President Biden`s $1.9T Stimulus package. Should the package pass the Senate, most Americans will receive an additional $1,400.00 check. The $15/hr minimum wage hike was removed before the bill went to the Senate, a benefit for US Manufacturing. For manufacturers both domestically and overseas, the prospect of additional stimulus is likely to cause increased demand for products in the near term. Supply chains could be stretched even tighter, and inflation could become a concern as too many dollars chase too few goods.

On another note, vaccine rollouts have been ramping up and with the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting distribution, plans to bring COVID under control are on the horizon. Crucially, dock workers across the country have been prioritized as essential and many have already been vaccinated. Hopefully, this will help ease record congestion that has built up at West Coast ports and start returning empty containers back overseas.

New Trends

Metals markets have been volatile as mills have trouble meeting demand, and prices on steel are expected to continue rising in the short term. Steel mills domestically and in Asia are struggling to meet demand as the global economy rebounds sharply. Factories have told us of rationing and monthly quotas from steel mills, especially on specialty steels such as 316 Stainless. Even domestic mills are raising lead times by 50-100%. A recent report by the Shanghai Metals Market details the skyrocketing price of copper in February, and the increases in Nickel, Aluminum and Zinc. Copper and Aluminum prices could come down in the short term, as a decrease in new orders due to the recent spikes is expected.

The continuing demand for imports has caused congestion at ports to increase. Currently more than 50 container ships are at anchor outside of Long Beach – In February there were about 30. Gene Seroka, the Executive Director of the largest US port in Long Beach stated recently, “These are levels of shipments we have never seen in our 113 year history.” The vaccination of dock workers should help, but the backlog of finished goods waiting to ship from Asia and strong demand suggest that the stretched freight market is now expected to continue through 2021. Consumers are still spending more on durable goods (retailers have record-low inventory levels) and less on entertainment and dining.

Ongoing Concerns

The USD has continued weakening relative to most other currencies in the past year. Most of the decline in value has been since October 2020. Relative to the Taiwan Dollar, the USD is at the lowest point since 1997. Relative to the Chinese Yuan, the USD is 8.3% weaker than this time last year. Wall street analysts are suggesting that a weak USD will continue for some time, with US interest rates expected to stay at or near 0% and further economic stimulus increasing the supply of US Dollars. With a weak USD, imports become more expensive and costs for material purchased in USD increases.

Adding to lead times, secondary processors like painters and platers are backed up with work. On large quantity items, lead times have been significantly extended as there is simply not enough capacity to meet the current demand. We are still seeing some RFQs rejected outright due to lack of capacity at painters. Owners are reluctant to add much capacity to their lines, as they have told us they do not believe the strong demand will continue beyond 2021 as manufacturers replenish inventory that ran low during the pandemic.

The Solution

The vaccine rollouts have consumers and markets feeling positive about the future. Manufacturers and distributors have a less rosy outlook for the coming months as high demand and uncertainty make forecasting more of a crap-shoot than a science. There are still numerous risks in a global supply chain due to COVID and its associated effects and the solution is still to plan further in advance to account for unpredictable events and demand transparent communication from all members of your supply chain. We will successfully navigate 2021 together with foresight and planning.

If you have any questions on how to mitigate these risks or concerns, please reach out to us at 1-800-535-2800 or email sales@uneedabolt.com

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Corrosion Resistance

Almost every steel fastener produced is either plated or coated with a layer to reduce corrosion. Un-plated steel will rust, even indoors, due to moisture in the air and eventually lose its structural integrity. To combat this, manufacturers coat steel fasteners in a variety of coatings and other metals through processes like Electroplating and Chemical Vapor Deposition.

Corrosion resistance in fasteners is measured using a Salt Spray Test. This method tests the material using a 5% Na saltwater sprayed onto the product in a closed environment. By measuring the time it takes for oxides (rust) to form on the product, corrosion resistance can be determined.

There are many variables that affect rusting on a steel part, so this test is not exact. It is the convention in the fastener industry and therefore the metals and coatings below will be described by their hours of corrosion resistance in a Salt Spray Test. The following information is based on our 65+ years of experience in the fastener industry, always refer to your engineering team before implementing product changes.


The most common plating by far is Zinc Electroplating. This coating is a thin layer of zinc over the steel part, about .0002” thick. This provides a shiny-metallic finish and about 30 hours of corrosion resistance using the Salt Spray Test. .00015” thick Yellow Zinc (Zinc with Yellow Chromate) has about 72 hours of corrosion resistance.

Thicker layers of Zinc provide more protection. .0005” thick zinc electroplating provides about 96 hours of corrosion resistance.

Hot Dipped Galvanizing, where the parts are physically dipped into liquid zinc, has a thickness of about .01” and can provide corrosion resistance up to 1000 hours.

Steel parts can be plated with other metals, such as Nickel, Brass, Copper, and Tin. Each of these will provide some protection of the underlying steel, but eventually, all will rust.


Synthetic coatings have been created to improve corrosion resistance over electroplating. There are many brand names for these coatings, and in general they provide 1000 hours or more of corrosion resistance. These coatings also come in various colors to match customer products.

At Uneeda, we often use Ruspert Coatings, which consists of a 3-layer coating.

  • Layer 1: Metallic Zinc
  • Layer 2: Anti-Corosion chemical film
  • Layer 3: Baked Ceramic surface

Another coating method that has become popular is Dacrotization. This method was developed by Diamond Shamrock Co., Ltd and is especially popular in deck screws that can resist corrosion in treated lumber for outdoor use. Dacrotized treatment is applied by dipping parts into a liquid bath and then spinning to remove any excess. The parts are then baked at high temperatures to give an extremely corrosion-resistant coating. See the image below for results after 2,000 hours of the Salt Spray Test.



The most important component of corrosion resistance is the base material that a part is made from.

Low-Carbon steel is one of the most common material types as it is inexpensive and strong. Its tendency to rust requires some sort of plating or coating in most cases to protect from corrosion.

410 Stainless Steel is similar to low-carbon steel in its strength, and it provides a moderate amount of corrosion resistance. Passivation is often performed on 410SS which dips the material into an acid bath to remove any iron particles or other contaminants from the surface. Passivated 410SS parts will typically pass a 48 hours salt spray test. Some customers plate the 410SS Zinc to add corrosion resistance and improve drivability (Zinc acts as a lubricant). 400 series stainless steel is hardened through heat treatment.

18/8SS is a term for all 300-Series Stainless Steels, typically 302HQ or 304. 300 Series Stainless is much more corrosion resistant than Steel or 410, but is a weaker material for fasteners. 18/8 Stainless has higher levels of Chromium (~18%) and Nickel (~8%) and can pass 1000 hours of the salt spray test. 18/8 Stainless can be used in ACQ treated lumber without any additional plating or coating. These types of fasteners are hardened through cold working, where the fastener is formed from the wire without heating.

316 Stainless, which is often used in commercial kitchens and other high-touch environments, includes 2-3% Molybdenum which increases corrosion resistance. 316 Stainless is less prone to pitting and bleeding than either 410 or 18/8.

With all types of stainless steel, there may be some surface rust as Iron particles exposed to the elements begin to oxidize.  This surface rust will not penetrate as quickly through the part as it would in a steel part.

If you have any questions about what type of material, plating, or coating is right for your application, call us or email sales@uneedabolt.com!

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Ocean Freight VS. COVID-19: Update

Ocean Freight VS. COVID-19: Update

Covid 19 has greatly affected freight, from air-freight prices skyrocketing to reduced ocean freight capacity.

 Uneeda brings in hundreds of containers from overseas annually, and we continuously stay on top of the Transpacific cargo market.

So what is happening?

With the initial hit of COVID, air-freight capacity was reduced as about 40% of air freight is moved via commercial airliners.

 As airlines canceled flights, they removed air-cargo capacity. This has since recovered a bit, but we are still seeing elevated air-freight rates.

The vast majority of material is transported by ocean freight, which has been affected by COVID-related issues as well.

When demand for ocean freight decreases, the carriers remove some ships from service and cancel the sailings. This is called a “Blank Sailing.” This reduces the capacity, which keeps rates high as supply lowers to meet the lower demand. It also means fewer ships on certain routes, so cost and lead times increase.

 There were a significant number of blank sailings in March, April and May which reduced the capacity coming eastbound into the US. This is expected to continue through July.

There was also a large push to prioritize PPE which took up additional space. This ultimately lead to a backlog of containers in Asia, extending shipping times.

Now, we are seeing carriers push for General Rate Increases to re-coup profits from canceled sailings. There is also a push to implement Peak-Season Surcharges as early as June 15. Combined, this could cause increases of over $1,000 per container in June alone.

In the short term, we expect to see reduced capacity and increased cost related to ocean-freight for at least June and July. Carriers are continuing to keep the ocean-freight capacity low to keep profits higher and combat the slowdown in global shipping.

What does this mean for our customers?

You should continue to plan far in advance on orders coming from overseas. As we always advise, it is better to have your material waiting at Uneeda for you ahead of time than for you to run out.

No matter what happens with ocean freight, we stand by the prices we quote and you will not need to worry about fluctuations in the market.

Once you submit a PO to Uneeda you are locked in on price. We urge customers to monitor their inventory and plan well in advance so that we can make sure material is here before it is needed. We make sure anything in our pipeline is scheduled properly;  mitigating any chance of cost increase or delays.  

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The Scoop On Stainless.

The Scoop On Stainless.

A question we are often asked at Uneeda Bolt is: “What are the differences between the types of stainless steel?” or “Why would someone use stainless steel over steel parts, and what kind should I use?”

Let’s start with steel. There are multiple classes of steel: from Carbon Steel and Alloy Steel, to Tool Steel.

These steels have very low resistance to corrosion in most instances. Some coatings that are applied over the raw material can aid the fastener in surviving harsh conditions for a little while, but ultimately, they are rated for a limited number of hours in a salt spray lab.

When customers ask for corrosive resistance properties beyond what steel can provide, we often inform them about stainless steel. Like steel, there are many different alloys/grades of stainless steel. Each one varies by hardness and corrosive resistance properties.

400 Series S/S – 400 series can be heat treated. Heat-treated 400 series has great hardness properties, but much less corrosion resistance than other types of stainless steel listed below.

Self-tapping, self-drilling, and other fasteners that require hardness are often made from this grade of stainless steel because it provides the strength required in most applications, while still providing better anti-corrosion properties than steel. Many people choose to zinc plate their 410 stainless as well: zinc plating acts as a lubricant when installing, creates a barrier between the raw material and the application material, as well as being sacrificial in order to improve weathering properties. 400 series is magnetic; this is important because many original equipment manufacturers rely on magnetic bit holders in assembly.

302-304 S/S (18/8) – Often referred to as 18/8 stainless, this material is a general term for any grade stainless between 302 and 304. It gets its name for being an alloy containing 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This stainless steel is much more corrosion resistant than the 400 series previously mentioned. While this grade of stainless steel will not “rot,” it can bleed rusty color due to impurities being brought to the surface during the manufacturing process. This why 18/8 stainless should always be passivated.

Passivating removes the impurities and reduces the chance that color will bleed from the hardware (every 18/8 screw that Uneeda provides has been passivated). This type of hardware is often used in wet, outdoor environments. Because it is softer than 400 series stainless, it can only be used in certain applications where shear, tensile, drill, and cut strength of the fastener is a non-issue.

302 HQ (XM7) – Similar to 18/8 in corrosion resistance, this stainless steel is 300 series with 3% copper added in order to improve the material’s cold-working/forming ability. Because less work hardening occurs during the manufacturing process, these parts are softer because they are less subject to work hardening, yet tougher (even in insanely cold temperatures) than its 18/8 cousin. Deck screws are often made from 302HQ because it is less likely to snap during installation.

316 S/S – Also known as “surgical grade stainless steel,” this material is used often in environments next to bodies of saltwater, body jewelry, restaurant counters, and surgical tools. The reason this stainless steel is used in harsh environments where salt, chlorine, and other aggressive chemicals are used is that 316 stainless steel does not bleed its color and will never show any signs of rust under any circumstances. Can you imagine if a surgeon was operating with rusty scalpels and forceps? Like 18/8, this grade of stainless is extremely soft. This is the most expensive option when it comes to stainless steel fasteners.

If you have more questions pertaining to stainless steel, contact us! We will answer to the best of our ability.

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Pricing Factors: Exchange Rate

Pricing Factors: Exchange Rate

Relative to the US Dollar (USD), the Taiwanese Dollar (TWD) has strengthened in recent months.

The current exchange rate of around 30TWD per USD is the strongest the TWS has been since June of 2018.

In the past 6 months, we have seen the TWD increase in strength by about 4.1% from early August of 2019 to early February 2020.

Whereas material or labor costs only affect a portion of the cost of fasteners, the exchange rate affects the cost of fasteners with a 1:1 ratio.

Uneeda tracks exchange rates daily to mitigate risk and stabilize our pricing, as about 95% of all material is purchased through Taiwan.

Overseas material is paid for upfront at the time of order, so we look to optimize ordering when exchange rates are favorable to the USD.

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Cutting Tools, Drills Bits, and Driver Bits

Cutting Tools, Drills Bits, and Driver Bits

It’s no secret that we provide nuts, bolts, and screws, rivets, washers, stampings, etc. However, most customers don’t realize that we also provide a full line up of bits and cutting tools to install the fasteners we provide.

Uneeda Bolt and Screw is a proud master distributor of Drill America Cutting Tools, Drill Bits, and Driver Bits!

Drill America is a manufacturer of high quality, USA made tools and bits (as well as a high-quality import line, your choice!). We have been providing Drill America bits for decades and trust that they are the solution for practically all of our customers cutting, drilling, or driving needs.

This truly makes Uneeda Bolt and Screw the “one-stop-shop” for all of your fastener related items. Why buy your screws and bits from two different companies? Buy them all under one roof, with support under one roof, while consulting our fastener experts with hundreds of years of collective fastener experience. It’s a win-win!

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How to Count Screws: Weigh Counting

One of the most common questions we are asked is how we count such large quantities of fasteners and how accurate we are.

The answer is simple: Fasteners have always been weight counted.

Decades ago, fasteners were weighed using manual balance ratio scales. One piece in a sample tray was equivalent to 100 or 1000 pieces in a fill tray. Although fairly accurate, it took time for the scale to balance out and settle. If the sample used had an anomaly in weight that would affect the count as well.

An old manual balance ratio scale.

Today, all products at Uneeda are counted on GSE German Engineered and American Made Electronic scales that measure to 1/10000 of a pound. These scales allow the use of multiple pieces as a sample to create a much more accurate count. The scales are so sensitive that fans cannot be used in the warehouse as they significantly affect the weight count!

A new GSE scale that we currently use at Uneeda.

We confirm all of our scales’ accuracy each morning and have them professionally calibrated as needed. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified distributor, we also have the scales certified and calibrated at least once annually.

We invite you to come visit our facility and bring any item you would like counted, be it our material, another supplier or any unrelated material. This service is offered to everyone free of charge. Feel free to contact us at any time to set up an appointment.

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Pricing Factors: Nickel

Pricing Factors: Nickel

To keep everyone in the loop with what we are seeing in the market recently, we wanted to offer an update on two factors we are keeping a close eye on. We have been going back and forth with factories overseas for the past few weeks as we see prices are increasing a bit.

Specifically, the price of Nickel has increased about 50% since January 2019 and many of the mills that make the wire for screws have been rejecting orders for wire. If the price of Nickel continues to climb, they will be able to charge more for the raw material. This will especially affect 18/8 stainless steel parts, which have a relatively high Nickel content. China Steel of Taiwan, which has a closed-market for Taiwanese steel wire, confirmed that they expect to keep prices for steel wire stable for Q4 2019.

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