You might think that attaching hinges and other hardware to enclosures is not a task that needs much in the way of technical innovation. But you’d be wrong if you care about manufacturing costs. Loose mechanical fasteners take so much time and effort to install properly that installation costs often represent as much as 40 percent of the hardware’s total cost. DIRAK’s D-SNAP technology takes much of the installation cost out of the equation. This technology is incorporated into DIRAK products under the SNAP-LINE brand.
These patented fasteners use an opposing pair of spring-driven sliders to join a variety of hardware components to sheet metal. As users push the SNAP-LINE product through a cutout in the sheet, sliders push inward against an internal spring and retract into the fastener. Angled front faces on the slides help keep the insertion forces low.
Once the sliders clear the cutout, the springs do their thing. They push the sliders outward so that their flat rear face engages the back side of the sheet metal, adjacent to the cutout. Tightly engineered tolerances in the insertion direction ensure a tight fit between the sliders on the back side of the sheet metal and the rest of the SNAP-LINE housing mechanism on the front side. How tight? DIRAK has developed gasketed versions which go on enclosures that meet NEMA standards.
Strength-wise, the SNAP-LINE products compare favorably with traditional mechanical fasteners, according to DIRAK estimates. For example, on a 1.5-mm sheet
metal, a 30 x 10-mm hinge would have more than 1,000-lb pull-out strength, high enough that the sheet metal will often fail first.
Still, removing these fasteners is easy enough. Users can retract the sliders with a twist of a specially designed product and pull the SNAP-LINE product back through the cutout.
DIRAK first developed the D-SNAP technology for hinges, but the company has been expanding the concept into all kinds of hardware, including latches and locks. It replaces a variety of mechanical fasteners, including nuts and cage bolts, as well as screws. Applications so far have included not just stationary enclosures, but also agricultural equipment. DIRAK is working on some white-goods applications too. And the company is willing to license the technology to other manufacturers.
For more information on DIRAK’s D-SNAP technology and SNAP-LINE products, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4922-502.