Buyer’s Guide to One and done Keensert® Ordering

keenserts installation

Your 5 point checklist to getting it right the first time

What is a Keensert®?

Keenserts® are solid bushing style inserts that are threaded on both the inside and the outside, and have wedges or “keys” attached at the top. They are generically called key-locking inserts, and are used to distribute loads and repair or strengthen threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion. They are commonly used in precision manufacturing and aerospace applications.

Although the name Keensert® is often used generically (like Band-Aid® or Kleenex®), Keensert®  is the registered trademark of Huck Patents (its close cousin, the Keysert® is a registered trademark of Alcoa Fastening Systems.).

How do I simplify my buying process to get what I need to complete the job on time and right?

We are all familiar with that classic adage “Measure twice, cut once”.  Nowhere is this more relevant than in the world of manufacturing.  If you are involved in procurement, you are challenged with making sure you have the right parts available at the best price  so your factory can deliver on time and on budget.   Missing tools, incorrect paperwork and long delivery times can cause major headaches and negatively impact service levels.

Our goal is to help you make the Keensert buying process easier, which in turn will eliminate stress, reduce multiple shipments and potentially increase your profits.  The result?  Happier customers (and finance departments too)!  So here it goes…..

  1. Make sure to order the correct part.

Due to the price, availability and high minimum order requirements of Huck or Alcoa branded Keensert® parts,  using functional equivalents including Mil-Spec parts has become a common practice.   Request that your supplier makes reference to the part number listed on your bill of materials on their sales order and packing slip. This will ensure you are getting the functional equivalent that you need.

If you are not ordering by part number, make sure to call out both the internal and external thread including the thread class (UNC, UNF, UNJ), the material and plating, and any special finish you need.

  1. Place blanket orders for your total project needs to get the best price and ensure availability of parts when you need them.

Most standard size non-locking miniature and thin wall / light weight Keenserts® are readily available off the shelf in 303 stainless steel or carbon steel.  However, some locking style, nonstandard diameters, 4140 alloy, A286, heavy duty, extra heavy duty, solid and floating style Keenserts® are available only by special order and usually involve a long lead time.  Make sure to get current price and delivery and order parts as early as possible.  Many suppliers allow you to order now and ship later, which can prevent delivery delays.

If you have an ongoing project, calculate your total needs and place your order with staggered delivery dates.  This will get you the best available pricing and ensure you have the parts when you need them.  Remember, price breaks can start at as few as 100 pieces.

  1. Order (the correct) installation tools with Keenserts® for maximum efficiency.

Whereas most common size and material installation tools are readily available off the shelf, less popular sizes and materials might involve a lead time.  Parent materials harder than RC30 or Anondized Aluminum may require that the tapped holes be broached for the keys, which requires the use of broach blades.


broaching tool

In addition, there are manual and power installation tools to choose from, so consult with your supplier on which tool is correct for your job.  Note:  manual tools work well for jobs up to 999 Keenserts®.  For installations of 1000 Keenserts® or more, a pneumatic tool is recommended.

  1. Order the Correct drills and taps for proper installation

Although Keenserts® are installed with standard drills and taps (plus the installation tool and a hammer) each part has a specific hole/tap dimensional recommendation. The drills used are often oversized for the external thread size.  When purchasing key-locking inserts, check with your production department to make sure you have everything you need for proper installation. Note: Drill is oversize see charts for proper dimensions.

Kits are handy to have in the shop and are available for most common sizes.  These kits include 2+ Keenserts®, the associated drill, tap and manual installation tool along with instructions for correct installation.

  1. Request COC, MTRs, DFAR and all required paperwork on your RFQ and PO.

Since using functional equivalents including Mil-Spec parts is a common practice, make sure you have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s when it comes to paperwork.  Ask your supplier to reference the branded part number listed on your bill of materials on their COC and packing slip to make sure you are getting the functional equivalent that you need.  In most cases, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC referencing the part number you ordered is all the paperwork you need.  Certain aerospace customers need a complete Manufacturer’s Test Report (MTR) package including DFAR statement and passivation certs with full lot traceability.  This might involve a fee, so include it in your RFQ.  Whatever your requirement, include it on your Purchase Order to make sure you have what you need to satisfy your customer’s needs.

In summary, follow this handy 5 point guide when ordering Keenserts® and watch your costs decrease and your service levels soar!

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President

Case Study: Smart Manufacturers use Brand Equivalents to Save Time and Money

Volume 20
March 7, 2017

In our January blog we discussed how Keylocking Inserts are often referred to by their trademarked brand name Keensert®.  The Keensert® is not alone! Did you know that many brand name OEM fastening products and components can be crossed to a generic alternative equivalent product?

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out a particular brand name. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use a functional alternative or equivalent.   Using equivalents and alternatives to OEM brand names can be a smart way to reduce long lead times and/or cut expenses.

Check out this Case Study where an OEM brand was substituted with a functional equivalent, reducing costs by 37% and shaving lead time.  This time and money savings gave the manufacturer an advantage over their competition, which helped them win the job.

Little Known Ways to Save 37% and Shorten Delivery Times
Display Manufacturer is bidding on a job where the bill of materials calls for 15,000 pieces of an 8-32 x .312 brass insert by SPIROL®. SPIROL® has 265 local stock, 5000 due in 10 days, balance in 4-5 weeks. Based on this delivery schedule, the Display Manufacturer cannot meet their prospective client’s two week delivery requirement.

MF Supply gets a print of the part from SPIROL® and is able to cross it to an exact functional equivalent for an alternative brand we distribute and our factory has in stock. Samples of the alternative fasteners are delivered directly to the customer within 24 hours for inspection and testing.

The alternative sample fasteners are approved for production by the Display Manufacturer within 2 days. The prospective client approves the substitution and awards the manufacturer the business.  A Purchase Order for the inserts is issued to MF Supply. Within 48 hours, the complete 15,000 inserts are available from the factory and delivered to the Display Manufacturer.

-MF Supply functional equivalent fasteners shorten delivery time from 4-5 weeks to 2-3 days.

-SPIROL® Price = .11938 each. Total cost $1790.
-MF equivalent price = .075 each. Total cost $1125.

-Cost savings of $665 or 37%.
-Display Manufacturer wins bid and is awarded job.
-Work is completed on time.
-Job is more profitable due to cost savings realized on fasteners.
-Job has been a repeater and a money maker for Display manufacturer.

In summary, if your bill of materials calls for an OEM brand fastener or component, find out if you must have the brand name product.  In cases where a generic or equivalent alternative part will work, there might be an opportunity to save money and shorten delivery time.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President

Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

Keensert® Buyer’s Guide

5 Things You Need to Know

If you are a precision manufacturer working in high-torque and high-temperature situations, you might already be familiar with Keensert® key-locking inserts.  Common uses include thread repair applications or to provide thread durability in situations such as aerospace assemblies, electronic equipment and suspension units.

But, what exactly are they and what should you know before buying them? We’d like to help you out with this quick buyer’s guide.

  1. What is a Keensert®?

A Keensert® is a solid bushing style insert that is threaded on both the inside and the outside, and has wedges or “keys” attached at the top. They are generically called key-locking inserts, and are used to distribute loads and repair or strengthen threads against failures due to stripping, seizing or corrosion.

Although the name Keensert® is often used generically (like Band-Aid® or Kleenex®), Keensert®  is the registered trademark of Huck Patents (its close cousin, the Keysert® is a registered trademark of Alcoa Fastening Systems.).

Before you shop, check to see if the bill of materials specifically calls out Huck or Alcoa brand as the Keensert®  manufacturer. If no specific manufacturer’s name is listed, then you can typically use an alternative like Rock Solid brand, a generic equivalent or cross to a MIL-SPEC part.  This becomes important due to price and availability of the brand name parts.

  1. What materials and sizes are available?

Keenserts are available off the shelf in 303 stainless steel or carbon steel. Standard diameters are: American #6-32 to 1 ½” and Metric  M4 to M24. Other diameters (starting at 2-56 and M2) and materials (including 316 stainless steel, and alloys 4140 and A286) are available for special order and usually involve a lead time.

  1. What information do I need for ordering?

To order, you’ll need the manufacturer’s part number or the internal and external thread and material. Alternatively, key-locking inserts often show up under their MIL-SPEC numbers, which can often be crossed to commercial equivalents. Common MIL-SPEC numbers include: MS51830, MS51831, MS51832, NAS1394, NAS1395, NA0146, NA0147, NA0148, NA0149, NA150, and NA0151.

  1. Do I need to buy special installation tools?

When purchasing key-locking inserts, check with your production department to make sure you have the tools you need to properly install inserts. You can buy kits that include a tap, drill, and installation tool.

  1. What level of certification is required?

Generally, a Certificate of Conformance or a COC is sufficient. Full certification with material certs and test reports are often available for a fee.

In summary, in order to have the most efficient Keensert shopping/buying experience, be prepared with the following information before you shop:  Do you need the Alcoa or Huck brand product or can you use a generic or MIL-SPEC alternative?  Make sure to have the manufacturer’s part number, MIL-SPEC part number or the internal/external thread and material.  Do you need an installation tool? Finally, check to see if you require a standard COC or full certs.

For more information about MF Supply contact:

Robin Lieberman, President


March, April, May Newsletter 2016


Volume 18

May 18, 2016

March, April, May News

Greetings and Happy Spring!  Can you believe we are almost one third into 2016!  On the business front, although the March PMI® index rose to 51.8% up from 48.2% in January, the April PMI®  fell to 50.8%, and the outlook in manufacturing remains mixed.

April’s PMI®  highlights are that new orders and production is growing, employment and inventories are contracting, and supplier deliveries are faster.

In this issue, we will cover some of the amazing resources available to the manufacturing and supply chain community.








April 27 was my final presentation from The RCG (Rutgers Business School Consulting Group).  I received a 30 page report with a few strong recommendations for growth. The RCG recommends that MF Supply expands our web site and offers ecommerce for our top products, starting yesterday.  They also projected that we will have the best ROI with email marketing rather than Social Media programs like Facebook and Twitter.

So we have begun reworking our website and you will start seeing more emails from us.  Please let us know what topics turn you on vs. what tunes you out.  Check out our newly edited  About Us section and let us know what you think.

How important is e-commerce for you and your company as a buyer and as a seller? Do you prefer to shop online or by emailing in your Purchase Orders?  And how about on the sales side?  Do your customers want to buy your products on-line?  Are your main competitors online?  All the industry experts say that industrial buyers are starting to expect their work buying experience to resemble their personal buying experience.  I am curious to know your thoughts.

Interesting note for anyone working with buyers with “Set Aside” or “Diverse” buying requirements (hint: think the government)  – the RCG hit a dead end while exploring leveraging MF Supply’s WOSB and WBE Certification as a differentiator.  Too bad – the certification process was a ton of paperwork!  If anyone out there is finding success differentiating yourself as a Small, Women, Minority, Veteran or other Disadvantaged business, I’d love to know how!

And, a big thank you to the SBA for connecting me to Rutgers and many other resources.



NJMEP Programs – Since I last wrote, I’ve attended 2 NJMEP workshops on Lean and Six Sigma.  I highly recommend connecting with your state MEP.  We also hired experts from the NJMEP to lead the MF team through their Destination Innovation program.  Funded in part by the DOD, this program is intended to help companies in the Defense Department Supply chain grow in commercial sectors as DOD spending has decreased. They gave us tools to help define our unique value proposition and spur product innovation. One idea that came up was the concept of inventory planning for our customers.  I will be reaching out to you to gauge your interest in having MF Supply help you do inventory forecasting as a value added service.

Free Employee Training – Did you know there is free training available to your employees through state funded Workforce Development programs?  During the first 2 weeks in May, we sent Dave & Andy to Excel training at Bergen Community College in Paramus, compliments of the NJ taxpayers! Thanks everyone for helping us learn and grow! Email us to create a pivot table for you (just kidding!).  For more info about available programs in NJ, email Louisa Emirzian at

Commerce and Industry Manufacturing Roundtable – On March 14, I participated in the CIANJ sponsored Manufacturing Roundtable at Triangle Manufacturing in Saddle River.  It’s a super cool facility that makes custom prosthetics and many other precision parts.  We learned that the State of NJ is developing workforce programs and making investments in the following industries: Advanced manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain.  Check out their Manufacturing Resource book for some great info.

Women in Manufacturing – A new chapter of WIM is being launched right here in New Jersey!  The first meeting was held at Sandvik Coromant on April 27th. If you know any women in manufacturing, please send them my way, I’d love to recruit them to join me and the growing NJ chapter.

Amazon in NJ – Amazon is opening 2 distribution centers right here in NJ and is planning to hire over 2000 people.  It’s not manufacturing, but it is logistics, which is a growth industry in NJ.  Very exciting!

What is Aerogistics? – Did you know that aerospace is growing and so are their logistic needs and supply chains? Hence, a new term: “Aerogistics” is coined.  Check out the amazing resources available through UPS that help inform on market trends and solutions in the aerospace logistics world.


Do you or your customers require a COC for your products?  Do you know if they are asking for a Certificate of Compliance or a Certificate of Conformance?  In April we attended Webinar training from the Fastener Training Institute which clarified some of the most common concepts when it comes to Certifications, Test Reports and Lot Traceability. Here are a few definitions for your enjoyment:

Certificate of Conformance – a record affirming a fastener has met the requirements of the relevant specification, contract or regulation.

Certificate of Compliance – a Certification of Conformance signed by an authorized party.

Material Test Report – a record signed by an authorized party, attesting the raw material is in accordance with specified requirements, including the actual results of required chemical analysis tests and examinations.

Lot – a batch of one part number, submitted for inspection at one time. The “lot” has been made from the same batch of raw material and parts have been produced together under the same conditions and heat treatment process.


As a member of the DPA Industrial family, MF Supply can now help you with more product categories and pass along fabulous savings on many more items including:

  • Industrial
  • Tools
  • Safety Equipment & Clothing
  • Packaging
  • Janitorial/Sanitorial

Please email me at to request a full catalog. We’re eager to see if we can help save you time and money by becoming a single source for more of your industrial needs.


So far this year I have attended informational training in the disciplines of Six Sigma, Lean Operations and Production and Inventory Management planning.  We are determining which area has the best ROI – for ourselves and our customers and are interested in your feedback.

Are the members of your team certified in any of these areas?  Have you gotten value from your continuing education and are you using it to make improvements in your company? I’d love to hear from you regarding this topic.


Robin Lieberman