We have published an article on the differences between key inserts and helicoils, but we have yet to cover the basics of how key inserts work.
As mentioned before, key inserts were created to save the parent material while allowing a thread to be reworked or changed. This is particularly helpful with car parts that can be quite expensive. If a thread needs to be changed for a mating bolt, a key insert can be utilized. It can accommodate the thread change without having to discard the main part.
For the end user key inserts operate just like any ordinary threaded hole, but they do provide a few benefits:
- The native thread of the part is protected
- High degree of pull-out strength
- Provide a positive mechanical lock against rotation
- Easy to replace
- Variety of key inserts available depending on your application and size restrictions
There remains a long debate on when to use key inserts on parts. Key inserts can be extremely expensive and they often add additional lead time to the manufactured part. However, if you believe that you will be driving a screw in and out of a threaded hole repeatedly or require additional strength then you may want to consider a key insert.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates and additional articles. For instruction on how to install key inserts please refer to our guide here.