Alcoa Fastening Systems: Alcoa Fastening Systems’ Huck C50L fastener helps shape iconic Kelpies monument

April 16, 2014

The Huck® brand C50L® fastener from Telford based Alcoa Fastening Systems (AFS) is one of the key components in a major iconic Scottish construction project, due to be officially opened later this year.

The Kelpies is a 30-metre-high steel monument paying homage to central Scotland’s horse-powered heritage and providing a dramatic gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal entrance, on the country’s east coast. Sculpted by Andy Scott, the two massive horses’ heads are positioned either side of a specially constructed canal lock and basin to form The Kelpies Hub. Commissioned as part of The Helix, a £43M project aimed at regenerating land in the region, the work claims to be the largest equine sculpture in the world as well as one of the largest pieces of public art in the UK.  The £5 million project in Falkirk has been funded by a partnership of The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

With recommendation from design company Atkins and Huck products supplied by AFS distributor Permalok Fastening Systems Ltd, construction company SH Structures started the project in June 2013, completing the installation on time in October.

“The internal frame was designed, fabricated and installed around a tubular steel skeleton. A tubular steel secondary frame carried the many brackets to which the stainless steel ‘skin’ was attached using C50L fasteners. The C50L’s powerful clamp strength combined with Huck’s hydraulic tooling enabled the sheet to be immediately shaped into place during installation, thus eliminating the additional time it would have taken using a conventional nut and bolt system. Not only did the solution meet the mechanical requirements of holding everything in place but the fasteners were quick and easy to install,” said John Rickers, systems development manager at AFS.

Tim Burton, sales and marketing manager at SH Structures had considered more conventional fixings. However, he believed that the C50L provided a perfect, structurally-sound, tamper-proof solution. Commenting on the time saved and potential future use of Huck products, he said: “The most time-consuming part of the work was the fact that the plates were flat and had to be cold formed or bent to match the complex profile created by the brackets. Using the C50L fasteners with the hydraulic rig definitely helped the process as drawing the connection to close required a significant load, which the combination were able to deliver faultlessly every time. If we had employed a conventional bolted solution, I have no doubt that the operation would have taken longer. Although The Kelpies was a very special and unusual project, if the circumstances are suitable and based on our new knowledge and practical experience, we would certainly consider the use of Huck products in future construction applications.”

“Permalok is extremely proud to have been involved with this prestigious project, supplying over 12,000 Huck C50L lockbolts and the hydraulic installation tooling required to complete the construction of the two sculptures. The C50L lockbolt is historically a heavy industry fastener, and this application showcases the enormous strength of the product – as shown in its ability to bend the sheets to the supporting frame – and the ease with which it can be installed. It is also interesting to see how the fastener has been incorporated into the aesthetics of the sculptures,” added David Tyas, managing director at Permalok Fastening Systems.

1 & 2 The Kelpies begin to take shape as the ‘skin’ is created.
3 A close up showing the use of C50L in The Kelpies monument.
4 The Kelpies completed.

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About Alcoa Fastening Systems
Alcoa Fastening Systems, a business unit of Alcoa, is a leading worldwide designer and manufacturer of fastening systems including specialty fasteners, fluid fittings, assembly components, and installation systems for aerospace and industrial applications. Headquartered in Torrance, California, the company has over 6,800 employees at 32 manufacturing and distribution/logistics locations in 11 countries.

Among the products offered by the AFS industrial division are the internationally successful brands Huck-Spin®, Camloc®, Recoil®, Keensert®, Simmonds® and SNEP®. The Huck fastening elements from AFS are used among others in private cars, trailers, commercial vehicle construction and railway carriages. The heavy-duty systems were designed to solve problems due to extreme tension and vibration between joined materials. They provide high stability and facilitate more lightweight, stronger and more durable structures. The Huck family includes small and large diameter lockbolts, medium and heavy-duty blind rivets and accompanying installation tooling. The product range based on Lou Huck’s original drawing of the first lockbolt made 50 years ago, and now known worldwide as a HuckBolt®, has been continually improved.

About Alcoa
Alcoa is a global innovation leader in lightweight metals, products and solutions. Its technology, expertise and industry reach continue to advance automotive and aerospace transportation, building and construction, consumer electronics and packaging, defence applications across air, land and sea, and the oil and gas industry.  Alcoa pioneered the modern-day aluminum industry 125 years ago and today is a leader in delivering value-add products made from a range of lightweight metals and flat-rolled aluminum. Alcoa is also a world leading producer of primary aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 12 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 60,000 people in 30 countries around the world. For more information, visit, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at or on Facebook at

For more information about Alcoa Fastening Systems, contact:
Jay Sahadew, marketing manager
Tel: +44 (0)1952 204607

For more information about The Kelpies/The Helix, contact:
Charlie Mann, associate director, 3×1 Public Relations
Tel: 0141 221 0707
Email: cmann@3×

For more information about SH Structures, contact:
Tim Burton, sales & marketing manager
Tel: 07795 105385

For more information about Permalok Fastening Systems Ltd, contact:
David Tyas, managing director
Tel: +44(0) 1302 711308

Click on the pictures below to view and download hi res images.

AFS The Kelpies 3

The Kelpies 3

AFS The Kelpies 1

The Kelpies 1

AFS The Kelpies 2

The Kelpies 2

AFS The Kelpies

The Kelpies 4