Tc Bolts
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Tension control (TC) bolts are heavy-duty fasteners that are commonly used for steelwork. These bolts have a unique design that makes them easier to install with the right tools. Unlike traditional bolts, TC bolts come with a built-in nut and washer, plus a spline that automates the tension.

What Are TC Bolts

With the right equipment, you’ll save time and effort by using TC bolts to connect your steel joints.

What Do TC Bolts Look Like?

A regular bolt has a hexagonal head. TC bolts for steelworking have a round head that requires a shear wrench for installation. TC bolts also have the nut and washer attached to the bolt–no need to buy them separately. At the end of the bolt is a spline that slides directly into the shear wrench.

TC bolts come in two models: A325 tension control bolts and A490 tension control bolts. Both bolts can be galvanized or non-galvanized depending on your project’s needs. If you’re working outdoors, galvanized tension control bolts stand up to rust, rain, and direct sunlight. Non-galvanized TC bolts are better for indoor projects that don’t face weather exposure.

What Makes TC Bolts Easier to Install?

TC bolts require an electric shear wrench for installation. This might sound like extra work, but it actually makes installation a breeze. Here’s what you’ll do to install your TC bolt:

  1. Remove the washer and nut, and slide the TC bolt through the socket.
  2. Attach the washer and nut on the other end.
  3. Screw on the nut until it fits snugly against the washer.
  4. Slide your sheer wrench over the nut, bolt, and washer. The spline will align with the inner workings of the shear wrench.
  5. Operate the shear wrench until the spline at the end of the bolt breaks off.
  6. Remove the shear wrench, then double-check the tension.
  7. Your bolt should be securely fastened in place.

Unlike other bolts, TC bolts find the right tension automatically. The spline breaks off to let you know when your bolt is screwed securely in place. You should still double-check the tension to make sure that it’s accurate, but overall, it’s a much quicker process. This convenience has made TC bolts popular with steelworkers and construction workers, who often complete large projects in a short time frame.

Are TC Bolts Pre-Lubricated?

Another upside of TC bolts is that they come pre-lubricated. This saves more time and money on the job site. However, TC bolts use a specialized lubricant, so you can’t lubricate them yourself if they don’t pass inspection. Additionally, you’ll need to store your TC bolts in an enclosed container. Rain, sunlight, snow, and condensation can wear away the lubricant, rendering your bolts unusable.

How Much Do TC Bolts Cost?

The price can vary, but TC bolts cost more than traditional bolts. You’ll also have to buy a shear wrench if you don’t have one already, which can cost a thousand dollars or more. A regular wrench won’t cut it–shear wrenches are the only tool that can install TC bolts. Fortunately, you’ll save time on your upcoming projects once you invest in the right equipment.

What’s the Overall Verdict?

TC bolts have a few drawbacks, but overall, they’re quicker and easier to install than other types of bolts. They come pre-lubricated and have a spline that snaps off when the bolt is fastened in place. Steelworkers favor TC bolts because they make it easier to get the job done on time. Just make sure you have a shear wrench on hand before you buy a set of tension control bolts.

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