ASTM A325 Bolts and A490 Bolts
ASTM F3125 Grade A325 bolts and A490 bolts are two of the main types of structural bolts we sell, and they are the two you will most often see on a jobsite. The difference in grades A325 and A490 may seem simple. A490 is stronger than A325. That said, plenty of projects call for A325 bolts. Let’s take a look at why this is, what are the other key differences, and why you would use one over the other.
In a lot of ways, grades A325 and A490 are similar. Both of these F3125 bolts have a heavy hex head configuration which gives a larger bearing surface to distribute the load. These structural bolts have a specific thread length and shank length. In structural bolting applications, this allows the bolt's threads to not be in the shear plane (where the two plates meet up). The threaded section of the bolt is the weakest, thus a longer shank length makes for a stronger tensile connection. While these similarities make these grades of bolts seemingly identical, there are some fundamental differences that make grades A325 and A490 different.
F3125 Grade A325 Bolts
Grade A325 bolts are commonly used in bridge and highway construction projects. They can be made of Type 1 medium carbon steel or Type 3 weathering steel. An important distinction between A325 bolts and A490 is that it A325 Type 1 bolts can be galvanized. A325 bolts have a minimum tensile strength of 120,000 PSI for one inch or less diameters and 105,000 PSI for over one inch. This makes them weaker than A490, certain jobs do not require a structural bolt as strong as Grade A490.
F3125 Grade A490 Bolts
Grade A490 bolts can be made of Type 1 higher carbon alloy steel or Type 3 weathering steel. Unlike Grade A325, Grade A490 bolts cannot be galvanized. This is due to the potential for hydrogen embrittlement, which could happen during the hot dip or mechanical galvanizing process. As mentioned earlier, Grade A490 requires a higher minimum tensile strength (150,000 PSI), making it stronger than Grade A325. Therefore, jobs that require a stronger bolt typically use Grade A490. That said, their strength can often be an issue. Higher strengths of steel are more susceptible to stress corrosion or hydrogen cracking. Because of this, A490 bolts are not as commonly used for bridge and highway construction compared to A325 bolts.
Ultimately, your engineers will specify which grade of F3125 structural bolts you will need to use, but it is important to know the distinction between grades A325 and A490. Grade A490 is stronger than Grade A325, but strength isn't the only factor in making a decision for bolts. A490 bolts cannot be hot dip or mechanically galvanized. Grade A325 is not as strong, but it is a lower cost bolt that can be galvanized to avoid corrosion.
Author’s Note: In 2016, ASTM A325 and A490 were replaced by ASTM F3125. A325 and A490 are now grades under the F3125 specification. When reading this blog, please note that when we discuss “A325” and “A490” structural bolts, we are specifically discussing the grades of F3125 structural bolts. This blog is for informational purposes only. For more information on the ASTM, visit their website.
April 26, 2021
Birmingham Fastener is excited to announce the acquisition of Steel City Bolt and Screw. With over 100 years of combined fastener production, the acquisition strengthens Birmingham Fastener’s product offering, equipment depth, and most importantly it allows us to add teammates to our world class staff.
Brad Tinney, owner of Birmingham Fastener says, “With this acquisition we continue to double down on domestic manufacturing and provide our customers with a domestic solution on any fastener requirement they have. This equipment will assist in our expansion into the Carolinas and continue to expand our east coast footprint. Our customer base is second to none and we will ensure their needs are meet and expectations are exceeded.”
Operations of Steel City Bolt and Screw will be consolidated into the production facility at our corporate headquarters in Birmingham Alabama. In doing this, the level of service we can offer our valued customers will be increased. Customer service remains paramount at Birmingham Fastener; in-turn, all Steel City Bolt and Screw customers will become valued partners of Birmingham Fastener and be serviced as a top priority.
Birmingham Fastener continues to invest in the future and make strategic moves and acquisitions that will yield long term benefits for our customers. Our plan is to take this 100 years of customer service and turn it into 200 years of outrageous service for our entire family of customers.
You will see a lot of information in the coming days and we can’t wait to build and strengthen new partnerships with the customers of Steel City Bolt and Screw.
Supply Chain Lead Time Reduction
Supply chain managers know that one of the biggest impacts on inventory level is lead time. Developing strategies for lead time reduction should be one of your highest priorities. That said, some manufacturers struggle with maintaining visibility over their inventory, making it hard to control levels and manage lead time.
Extended lead times don’t just create inefficiencies when it comes to inventory levels. They also tie up your cash and storage space. Let’s say your lead time is 30 weeks, or about seven months. This means that in order to fulfill your own orders, you must carry over half a year’s inventory. You also need to ensure you have safety stock on hand, which increases costs all around.
You often see this with disorganized companies. Not only does it take weeks for them to process an order, but if they’re buying from an inefficient supplier, that increases lead time further—especially if they’re overseas. Now you aren't only looking at high prices; you're also looking at long waits.
Supply Chain Lead Time Reduction Strategies
Is your lead time larger than you’d like? You’re not alone. Many companies lack the resources to analyze inventory levels and create efficiencies that save time and money.
An experienced supply chain partner, like Birmingham Fastener Managed Inventory, can diagnose issues in your supply chain and develop strategies to improve processes and maximize profits. You can process orders quicker, optimize inventory levels and ensure you can get shipments out quickly. With an inventory management partner, can avoid overspending and stocking spare parts to free up storage space and your budget.
When it comes to reducing your supply chain lead time, consider these questions:
How long does it take to send an order to the supplier?
- Is it taking days or weeks for your team to review orders? Why? Finding ways to reduce review time is essential to lead reduction.
How long does it take your supplier to ship your products?
- In addition to your own review time, your supplier has a review time, too. They also have to manufacture and package your orders. This isn’t in your control, but that makes it even more critical that you have suppliers that you trust. Find a supplier that is committed to being your partner, not just another provider.
How long is delivery time?
- Understanding how shipping costs relate to your bottom line is essential. While you want to save as much money as possible, you should also consider your return on investment and total cost of ownership. Sometimes the high price for expedited shipping is worth it.
When it comes to answering these questions, you need maximum data visibility. While some companies struggle with this, others enter into valuable partnerships with experts they can trust. If you’re looking to reduce lead time, consider a team of experts who can create efficiencies in your supply chain and save you money.