Reprint Courtesy of Forging Magazine

Valley Forge & Bolt Manufacturing Co. in Phoenix has been producing high-quality hot forged industrial fasteners for over 40 years. The manufacturer — which also has heat-treating, threading, and machining capabilities — is well known for its novel (and patented) MaxBolt load-indicating fasteners. Each MaxBolt™ fastener features a tiny, built-in gauge that continuously measures and indicates the level of tension being exerted on the bolt.

Maxbolt fasteners are manufactured by inserting highly accurate and durable load-monitoring devices into high quality bolts and studs. Accurate assembly and continuous monitoring during production reduce the potential for premature wear, expensive downtime, and catastrophic joint failure.

According to Valley Forge & Bolt, load-indicating fasteners are compatible with conventional tightening and tensioning equipment and eliminate the need for ultrasonic, strain gages, and torque measuring devices. The system offers a simple and reliable method for accurate joint assembly, and helps to maintain the integrity of the bolted joint.

MaxBolt fasteners appear simple, but are critical for the types of projects carried out by Valley Forge’s customers, including fabricating and maintaining sub-sea platforms, mining equipment, and assemblies and fabrications used in nuclear laboratories, oil-and-gas processing, construction cranes, and power plants.

In order to operate at the level of reliability and efficiency required for these high-stakes jobs, Valley Forge & Bolt also needs precision and reliability in its manufacturing operation, which is centered on a dozen or so hot-forging machines, mainly mechanical upset presses and punch presses.

Some time ago, Ron Clarke, Valley Forge & Bolt president contacted Sutherland Presses to discuss a new approach to the process of making extra-long bolts. The project continued and evolved into a multi-year collaboration, reviewing existing processes, and developing new targets for safer production and higher output.

At an early stage of the collaboration it became clear to Clarke that Valley Forge & Bolt had an area of opportunity particularly suited to the strengths of Sutherland Presses. “The conventional forge presses we had were not ideal for long bolt heading,” he recalled. “They forced us to have more moving and rotating parts in our dies in order to load and extract the long bolts.

“When we met with the team from Sutherland, they came to the table with a fresh idea for a Front-Loading Sliding Table (FLST) Forge Press.” Since it was installed in 2013, the 600-ton vertical press at Valley Forge has become “a signature innovation,” according to Sutherland Presses. The California-based press builder has previously implemented the FLST design for manufacturers producing extra-long bolts for fasteners supplied to aerospace programs.

Valley Forge & Bolt’s Sutherland hot-forge press has been in service for several years now, successfully forging extra-long bolts.

“Due to the front-loading design, the press can be operated manually or automated,” Clarke explained about the machine’s advantages. “There’s less heat loss due to the faster heater-to-forge cycle which creates better material flow, and the precise, close-tolerance slide guide structure has improved die life.”

The extra-long bolts being produced by the FLST press go on to secure some of the most vital connections needed to build heavy industrial equipment. And, those applications are possible because of the precision design and performance, as well as the partnership formed between two industrial innovators.

Valley Forge is very proud to announce that our Load Indicating Fasteners have passed Military Shock Testing Standard MIL-S-901D!!

This is a rigid test that means great things for our fasteners moving forward with many different applications involving any degree of shock to the fastener while in service.

Shock Tests, Requirements for High-Impact Shipboard Machinery, Equipment and Systems

  • Specification: Testing was completed per MIL-S-901D, Lightweight, Grade B, Class 1, Type C shock testing requirements.
  • Location: Testing was done by Element Material Technology in Jupiter, Florida
  • Purpose: The purpose of this testing is to verify the ability of shipboard equipment to withstand shock loadings which may be incurred during wartime service due to the effects of nuclear or conventional weapons.
  • Load Indicating products tested:
    • Standard SPC4™
    • No-Standoff SPC4™
    • Single Lever Maxbolt™
    • Dual Lever Maxbolt™
    • Mini Maxbolt™
    • No-Standoff Maxbolt™
  • MIL-S-901D is a common requirement for shipbuilders and other companies supporting the US Navy.

Valley Forge Bolt & Manufacturing has added some additional heat treating capacity! The Heat Treating Department has added the services of an additional Integral Quench Furnace and a gas-fired Tempering Furnace to meet the increasing production demands.

Both the new Integral Quench furnace and gas-fired tempering furnace are certified to AMS 2750.

The Integral Quench Furnace has current capabilities of processing 800-1000 pounds per load at temperatures up to 1750 degrees Fahrenheit. With the ability to load over quenched loads, greater efficiencies are realized providing maximum throughput and the ability to meet the increasing demands of production schedules and the needs of our customers!

The gas-fired tempering furnace supports the new Integral Quench Furnace providing the tempering capabilities with temperatures up to 1250 degrees Fahrenheit. The ability to rapidly achieve tempering temper set points has provided additional maximization of throughput.

All charting is documented utilizing our ssi digital tracking system and program recipes control the processing within each furnace to assure a repeatable process to the correct parameters.

We have increased our capabilities in order to better serve our customers with shorter lead times and the ability to rapidly meet those expedited needs!

We invite you to join us here at Valley Forge Bolt & Manufacturing for your bolting needs!


Heat-Treat-edit1Our newly installed “Heat Treat” department has settled into full production mode. Forecasted production schedules are being predictively met. To insure continuous throughput, operator training is now underway. We have incorporated Metal Training Institute (MTI) for our heat treat training program. We have implemented Class 100: Qualified Furnace Operator and Class 150: Heat Treat Technical Specialist (HTTC), as standard practice for our operator training. Under the supervision of Randy Stotts, we continue providing our customers with the highest of quality products while meeting their scheduling needs.