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Our New Optical Sorting Machine

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We are delighted to announce we have recently taken in delivery of a latest, state of-the-art sorting machine!

This is our most advanced optical sorter – having four cameras and an Eddy current checking station which can be used for comparative testing; ensuring parts are to the correct heat treatment specification (Property class).

As our sales of threaded parts in general continue to increase, with clinch studs in particular, we wanted to provide customers with a greater level of security regarding the products property class – rather than simply supplying a second-party heat treatment certificate.

The cameras not only check for contamination and dimensional inaccuracies, but also incorrect aesthetic elements such as misshapen heads, clinch ring defects, and colour. As well as lettering and other non-dimensional problems.

The parts which pass the camera and Eddy current scrutiny are fed directly into the dispatch boxes ready for shipment to the customer. This ensures no post-sort contamination. The combination of these technologies ensure we move nearer to our goal of defect-free products, and to build upon our already impressive quality record.

Stuttgart Fastener Fair – Thank you

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We would like to thank many of our customers that came to visit us at Stuttgart from all over the world.

It was good seeing you and the many new, potential customers at the Fasteners Fair

We hope you all had a good show and that you returned home safely

We look forward to developing our growing export business with you


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Many pundits bemoan the lack of productivity in the UK. They may have a point but then again…

Measured productivity is the ratio of a measure of total outputs to a measure of inputs used in the production of goods and services. Source UK Gov’ Stats.


International Comparisons of Productivity – Final Estimates, 2016
Table 3: Constant price GDP per hour worked
2007 = 100
  Canada France Germany Italy Japan UK US G7 G7 exc. UK
1995 85.3 80.5 80.8 92.7 81.7 78.2 77.9 79.9 80
1996 85.2 81.4 82.7 92.9 83.5 79.4 79.8 81.4 81.6
1997 87.2 83.5 85.2 94.4 84.7 81.3 81.3 83.1 83.3
1998 88.6 85.8 85.9 94.3 85.3 83.4 83.7 85 85.1
1999 90.9 87.6 88.9 94.8 87.3 85.6 86.6 87.5 87.6
2000 93.5 91 92.7 97.7 89.4 88.4 88.2 89.8 89.9
2001 94.5 91.7 94.7 98.2 90.8 89.6 90.1 91.4 91.5
2002 96 94.5 96.3 97.8 92.7 92.4 92.3 93.3 93.4
2003 95.8 95.3 97.1 97.6 94.3 94 94.5 94.8 94.9
2004 96.5 95.9 98.4 98.1 96.8 95.4 96.9 96.8 96.9
2005 99 97.3 98.5 99 98.6 97.3 98.6 98.4 98.5
2006 100 100.1 98.9 99.4 99 98.9 99.2 99.2 99.2
2007 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
2008 99.9 99.3 100.1 98.7 100 99.3 100.6 100.1 100.2
2009 100.6 98.6 97.7 96.6 99.2 97.7 103 100.6 100.9
2010 102.1 100.1 99.8 98.9 102.5 99 105.6 102.9 103.3
2011 103.9 101.3 103.1 99.4 102.8 100.5 106.2 104 104.3
2012 103.6 101.6 104.1 98.9 103.6 100 106.4 104.3 104.7
2013 105 103.1 104.5 99.6 105.7 100.4 107.2 105.3 105.8
2014 107.6 101.7 105.1 99.5 105.7 100.3 108 105.8 106.4
2015 107.6 102.1 106.1 99.3 107.3 101.1 109.2 106.9 107.5
2016 108.6 103.4 105.7 98.4 107.6 101.6 109.1 107 107.6

Sources: OECD, Office for National Statistics

And there we have it in black and white, the UK’s productivity is worse than our international competitors with the exception of Italy. Case proven m ’laud…

This is where it gets tricky. The government statistics include services and the public sector. I am not clever enough to calculate the productivity of a service, but my experience of public services suggests that productivity is not high on their agenda.

As manufacturers, I am only interested in manufacturing (someone has to be!)
Contrary to widespread perceptions, UK manufacturing is thriving, with the UK currently being the world’s eighth largest industrial nation. If current growth trends continue, the UK will break into the top five by 2021. In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people.
Source: The Manufacture

We are simple “metal bashers” (read some of our other blogs and you will realise we are much more than that, but it helps my case to keep it simple!). As far as I am concerned, productivity is the labour input against the productive output.

As you may know, My FD and I bought out our major shareholders in 2015. We started to seriously focus on Productivity towards the end of 2016.
I looked at various publications and went to a number of seminars on the subject. Most were by their nature, generalisations, many were purely academic exercises which bore no resemblance to the real world and I gained no new insights to how we may improve our productivity.

So back to basics, literally.

Our measure of productivity is labour hours against productive output (number of parts produced in our manufacturing plant, number of dispatches made in our warehouse)

We switched off half of our ERP system and re-wrote the key data requirement to enable our managers to have the information specific to them, that they used on a day to day basis, in Access. This had the effect of freeing up their time inputting information into the ERP system and saving time by them not having to trawl through reports to find the information they needed. We are an SME, this drastic course of action may not suit all companies, but it certainly helped focus departmental responsibility and accountability in the correct areas.

We focused on the simple things, why our overtime bill was static when in some months we didn’t meet our output targets, but when we exceeded them, overtime increased. OK I know you are reading this and saying “that wouldn’t happen here. Do the exercise, you might be surprised how many people come in early to avoid the traffic!

We shared much more cost information with our employees that specifically related to their areas, so they could see the costs rack up for little gain.

We employed a coach to work with our managers to ensure they managed and gave them the support to improve in areas that they recognised their weaknesses. This was a key move as the coach was not a member of the senior management team and was tasked with improvement not weeding out failing managers. Buy in to this took time but the results were better than I could have hoped.

Using 2016 as a base                                100%
Productivity 2017                                      107%
Productivity 2018                                      114%

This has resulted in higher profits, a lower break-even, better cash flow and less fire-fighting.

It’s a little like sport science, get the basics right and make small steps.

That’s our journey so far regarding Productivity (please note no employees were harmed during this process!)

If you have any queries or comments call me on 0121-378-6950  or e-mail me


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In  2008 when the world stopped due to the financial crash, we had to re-evaluate our business model as we realised that if people didn’t want the fasteners we manufactured at Clevedon, we were pretty much sunk. As a result we created Clevtec. Clevtec is a trading arm of Clevedon Fasteners Ltd and unlike Clevedon who are a purely a manufacturing entity, Clevtec is able to buy and sell product all over the world, as long as it made a return. This meant that as well as fasteners, Clevtec could venture into other parts of the fastener market, that we were unable to make at Clevedon.

Clevtec soon found that there was a latent demand of high quality threaded fasteners, particularly if they were of UK origin and so in 2012 we purchased a company called Blakeacre who specialised in high quality threaded fasteners and they became part of Clevtec. In addition to threaded fasteners, Clevtec over the years has got into Commercial Vehicle brake shoe platforms and various types of setting machines, the latest of which being spin riveters.

Clevtec’s latest market offering is a range of services that we believe our existing an new customers will find of interest. Over the past year we have been developing with a selected number of existing customers, two specific services:


Supplier reduction service

Design Support service

We are now in a position where we are able to offer these services to other customers. The details of these services will be on our new Clevtec Services web site and will be the subject of further Blogs in the future

Clevtec Services

Contact us on 0121-378-5967

or email me on

Plastic Thread Forming Screws

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The growth in the use of Plastic Thread Forming Screws is driven in part by the need to reduce the total weight of an increasing number of component assemblies, either new design or redesign.

The type of plastic selected for the required component performance means that it is essential to use a fastener that maximises clench properties by ensuring high strip out torque values and in many applications prevents loosening due to vibration. Plastic Thread Forming Screws are the ideal fastener for such applications where fasteners such as self-tapping screws for steel applications would fail due to their wide flank angles and shallow threads

Clevtec’s ever increasing range of Plastic Thread Forming Screws manufactured at our two plants in Birmingham UK, currently cover 2.2mm up to and including 6mm diameter Plastic Thread Forming Screws in metric and imperial sizes (including Tri-lobe).

There are so many versions of Plastic Thread Forming Screws available, we tend to manufacture to customers specific requirements

Ideally we would like a fully detailed drawing of what you require together with some idea of  the volumes you will be ordering

In the absence of a drawing, we need to know the thread size and type (Imperial or Metric), what type of head you require, Pan Head, Pan Flange, Countersunk, Mushroom etc. Do the heads need to be marked? what type of drive do you require for the screw, we can do manufacture most standard forms in common use

The trickiest area in the absence of a detailed drawing is heat treatment and finish. again there are many different requirements that can trip up the unwary. Is the product property class 10.9 or is it a through harden/case harden treatment? All our heat-treated parts that require zinc plating  (the most common finish) are hydrogen de-embrittled. The de-embrittling time can vary depending upon the heat treatment hardness that is specified

If you need any advice please call us


Stuttgart Fastener Fair

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come and visit usWe are exhibiting at The Stuttgart Fastener Fair 2017. Karl Love, Neil Webster and Mike Belfield will be on stand 3002 in Hall 5.

If you are visiting please drop in and see them

They will bring you up to date with our continuing growth in both products and services

For those of you who don’t know us, we are UK manufacturers of Fasteners and Specialised Cold Formed products

With the £ to the $ at such low rates, now is the perfect opportunity to review on-shoring all those Fasteners and Forgings you are currently buying from the Far East, yes I hear you say, but surely you will still be more expensive. Not so, our primary export market is the Far East.

by the time you have added the exchange rate change, the price increases from your Far Eastern suppliers due to increasing inflation (particularly in China), the cost of shipping the product half way across the world, in many cases having to purchase a container load, and then having to pay for the storage, wouldn’t it be better to save money and buy locally?…..simples!!

Bolt Lok™

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Bolt Lok

As well as specialised cold forgings, we also make our own trademarked pin and collar fastening system Bolt Lok

This is for use when customers require a fastener with superior joining capabilities for demanding high strength assembly applications

The Clevtec Bolt-Lok™ is a quick and easy pin and collar fastening system in which the material to be fastened is permanently clamped between the pin and collar providing a high strength vibration proof fixing.

Available in Steel, Stainless steel and Aluminium and any commercially available finishes to suit customer requirements our Bolt Lok™ range includes truss, brazier and countersunk head styles. There are 12 products to choose from covering grip ranges from 1.6mm – 22.2mm.

More information can be found at

If you have any questions please contact us at

Or call us on +44 (0)121 378 5


Testing, Setting, Heat Treatment and other News

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As you know, we manufacture Clinch StudsCD StudsWeld boltsBolt Loks™ etc. at our Great Barr plant in Birmingham UK. Like any manufacturer we take care to ensure the quality of our products, ensuring that every product is fully traceable from the base material through forging, thread rolling, heat treatment, plating, and dispatch. At Clevtec we try to go the extra mile. Our testing facilities enable us to ensure the performance of our products meets and in many cases exceeds industry norms.

clinch stud

clutch leaflet

Not working, could be your fault! What many of our customers don’t know is that the performance of the product is often compromised by the way it is set. Many products are set to a torque requirement, particularly in automotive


Many products are set to a torque requirement, particularly in automotive applications.

Did you know the torque performance could be reduced by 25% if the threads have any oil on them?




Don’t compromise on heat treatment

Many products are specified by customers to property class 8.8.

For those of you who are technically inclined, (ref. ISO898 Pt-1).

However, We heat treat our products to 10.9 property class unless specifically requested by the customer.

The reason for this is that 8.8 is on the cusp of needing to be de-embrittled. 320 VPN is the cut off point for products to be de-embrittled (250/320VPN below 16mm diameter).

To avoid any compromise regarding the quality of our products, we choose to heat-treat our products to property class 10.9 because at this level, hydrogen de-embrittlement is mandatory.

10.9 out performs 8.8 mechanically so the influence of lubricated nuts etc. is less significant. More importantly, in the unlikely event of a failure, hydrogen embrittlement cannot be to blame.


In other News………

The zinc and yellow passivation to be outlawed next year!

We are still asked to produce parts which are Zinc and yellow passivated. Some customers insist on this and will not take the zinc and clear passivation option. Yellow passivation will be outlawed in September 2017, there is some discussion around the certainty of this date but if a chemical supplier can develop a viable economic alternative with the same apparent colour (first across the line wins!)  Then the date will hold

Brake lining rivets and the American Clean Water Act

We produce copper brake lining rivets. These may be outlawed in 2021 as a result of the American Clean Water Act. An element of this act was specifically included in order to reduce urban runoff into San Francisco Bay. It has been estimated that 35/60% of urban runoff comes from brake shoes. The obvious answer is to change to steel brake lining rivets that are plated. The problem is that brake linings from countries that do not have rivet setting technology set the rivets by hand (not to be recommended, but it happens). The time line varies from state to state but manufactures are going for 2021. So what? I hear you say. Many environmental laws made in the US migrate to affect Europe; it’s as well to be aware


Find out more about us!

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Who Knew!


clinch stud

Many of Clevedon and Clevtec’s (which includes the old Blake acre) customers have been with us for many years, for which we are very grateful!

Some things you should know about Clevedon & Clevtec: I thought it might be useful to let you know some of the things we do, that you may not be aware of

We have two manufacturing plants in Birmingham, UK (most peoples natural reaction: – not interested –  Made in the UK, they must be too costly!)

Our largest export market is Asia (huh, are you sure that’s not a typo?……..yes!)


We make 28 million parts per month across both sites (28,000,000! well I never!)

clevtec logo

Clevedon has a trading arm called Clevtec – this confuses a some people!

  • Clevedon supplies mainly OEM’s
  • Clevtec supplies mainly distributors

We do buy product from overseas – but only when we do not have the machinery necessary to make it ourselves in the UK

clinch nuts

As well as making SolidSemi-Tubular, Fully-Tubular and Self-Piercing rivets, we also make many specialised cold forgings, which people don’t normally associate cold forging with


Many of Clevedon’s rivet customers don’t realise we do a whole range of threaded fasteners: Self Clinching StudsCD studsWeld BoltsBolt Loks™ as well as standard machine screws. We are also able to supply Riv-nuts.
Many of Clevtec’s distributors don’t realise we can manufacture specialised forgings, the rivets referred to previously, commercial brake shoesMachines and we also undertake special cost and supplier reduction projects.

Please contact us if you have any current order development projects