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Play Equipment Fasteners

Barrel nuts and security barrel nuts are an excellent choice of fasteners in the design and installation of play equipment. In this post we discuss the options and consideration when selecting fasteners for children’s playground, park gym or other such equipment.

Safety is the primary concern when choosing play equipment fasteners. It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit. (RoSPA The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). Causes often relate to user issues – however a significant number of accidents on play equipment relate to poor design, installation or maintenance. Therefore the correct choice of fasteners is important.

The British Standard EN 1176 is a series of standards that spells out good practice in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of playground equipment in public spaces. The standards recognise that ‘good risks’ are a part of children’s play and the aim is to reduce ‘bad’ risks – including poor design, incorrect installation or poor maintenance. However, these standards do not include much advice on specific types of nuts, bolts, screws or fixings for play equipment.

Another important consideration is security. If play equipment is going to be located in a public place then, like any public installation, fixings need to be secure against theft, vandalism, or even sabotage.

Barrel Nuts & Sex Bolts

Barrel Nuts

What are barrel nuts?

Barrel nuts are cylindrical shaped, internally threaded nuts. They are designed for use with a male mating screw or connector bolt. This male machine screw locates inside the threaded barrel nut. A barrel nut can be used with any machine threaded fastener, but is typically supplied as a set, where the male screw shares the same head style and drive type as the female nut.

These types of fasteners are also known as interscrews, sex bolts or Chicago screws. You can read more about our range of barrel nuts and how to measure up and choose barrel nuts here.

Why use barrel nuts?

One advantage of using these fasteners is that they are available with low profile or countersunk head styles – where the head of the barrel nut / bolt sits completely flush against the target housing. Flush fittings offer many advantages such as sleek design and can create a more attractive finish.

Barrel nuts also provide a higher level of security than many other types of fixing. They can be particularly useful in applications where standard screws would be ineffective. For example, a barrel nut is often used to attach hollow objects or mixed materials where nails and screws would be unable to hold the hardware in place.

Security and non-security barrel nuts

When selecting the correct type of barrel nuts, there are a variety of head styles and drive types to choose from. This will depend on the intended application and the level of security required. Conventional socket or slotted barrel nuts are available at Fastenright. For additional torque, and to minimise the risk of damage, a 6 Lobe Torx drive is ideal.

For increased protection from theft or tampering, security barrel nuts should be considered. These can feature a permanent one-way drive, or one that requires a special tool or insert bit to remove. A 6 Lobe Pin Torx security drive is a great choice as these offer a two way secure fixing.

Why choose barrel nuts for outdoor play equipment?

Barrel nuts are widely chosen as play equipment fasteners for a variety of reasons:

  • Barrel nuts are strong, secure and cost effective fasteners used to clamp components together.
  • Protruding fittings can present risks on play equipment, including entrapment and laceration. Flush fitting fasteners, such as mushroom head barrel nuts, are ideal as they have a smooth rounded finish with no sharp edges once installed.
  • It is important to use robust, long lasting, corrosion proof fixings. This will ensure the play equipment remains safe over time and is suitable for prolonged exposure to the elements. Due to this, A2 Stainless Steel fasteners are advised.
  • Play equipment requires regular safety checks to ensure fasteners remain secure. A 6 Lobe Torx drive is ideal for this as it can be regularly tightened and cause no damage to the drive.

Best types of barrel nuts for play equipment

Here at Fastenright we primarily specialise in security fasteners, but have experience with all types of fasteners & fixings. For play equipment in a private installation, or where tampering and theft is less of a concern, we usually recommend 6 Lobe Torx Mushroom Head Barrel Nuts in A2 Stainless Steel. These are available in thread sizes M8 to M16. We are currently expanding our range of barrel nuts, with both M12 and M16 sizes now in stock for this product.

Stainless Steel 6 Lobe TX Mushroom Head Barrel Nuts

If the play equipment is in a public setting, additional security is typically required. For this scenario, we would recommend 6 Lobe Pin Torx Button Head Barrel Nuts. These are available in thread sizes M4 to M16. We are also expanding our range of security barrel nuts, with the M12 and M16 sizes now in stock for immediate dispatch.

Stainless Steel 6 Lobe Pin TX Button Head Security Barrel Nuts

We are able to supply non-standard sizes, materials and finishes here at Fastenright – all of which are manufactured to order. Bespoke components manufactured to customer drawings can also be supplied.

See our full range of Barrel Nuts

If you’d like to find out more about our play equipment fasteners, or have any queries, please contact our experienced sales team.

Make an enquiry about Barrel Nuts

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