Packaging, fixturing, and assembly operations could all benefit from the
LPG Series of parallel-jaw grippers. Their patent-pending design uses a
rack-and-pinion mechanism to synchronize jaw motion and maintain parallelism.
Standard LPG grippers feature 12- or 24-inch strokes, with 36-inch stroke
available. Users can configure the jaws to operate on the same side or opposite
sides of the gripper chassis for handling large-dimensioned parts. Depending on
the air cylinders chosen, grippers develop as much as 300 lbs of clamping
Doug Mills, Mills Specialty Products, 1650 S. Armstrong Ave., Freeport, IL 61032, (815) 235-7946.
Kinder hose clamp
The bands of conventional worm-drive hose clamps have perforations that allow the band to act as a worm gear. Unfortunately, those perforations can chew into hose material during installation or under heavy vibration. Not so the Original™ hose clamp. Its stainless steel or aluzinc band features stamped gear teeth and a smooth interior. Along with rolled edges and a one-piece, pressed worm housing, the design reduces wear on hoses. Its maker claims that reduced friction between the clamp and hose permits higher clamping forces during installation as well.
Arne Stegvik, ABA of America, 4004 Auburn St., Rockford, IL 61101, (800) 965-5906.
Freeze-free bleed valve
Immobilized by rust, a recalcitrant brake-cylinder bleed valve can ruin a mechanic's day and drive up the cost of a simple brake job. This newly patented bleed-valve design could alleviate the problem: its short discharge chamber isolates threads from water and dirt contamination.
A one-for-one replacement for conventional valves, the three-piece design comprises a bleed-tube extension, threaded cap, and O-ring seal. The off-axis fluid passage in the cap mates with the extension's angled valve seat to cut off contamination routes when closed. Backing off the cap creates the fluid path needed for brake bleeding. The design is available for license.
Dallas Appelgren, Appelgren Tool & Mfg. Co., Box 88, Hillman, MI 49746, (517) 742-4219.
Safer car seat
Automobile seatbelts, airbags, collapsing steering columns, and padded dashboards protect occupants in frontal collisions. For rear impacts, there's only the seat. The Catcher's Mitt™ seat raises the level of protection with a full-perimeter frame and lower-back cross bar. Upon impact, the seat flexes controllably, while channeling the occupants hips into a deformable pocket to further dissipate collision energy. Tests show that the high-retention seat should ameliorate the effects of rear impacts, which now account for 4% of highway deaths and 25% of injuries sustained.
Rich Asher, Delphi Interior and Lighting Systems, 6600 Twelve Mile Rd., Warren, MI 48092, (810) 578-3426.
Touted as a breakthrough in bearing design, the Scroller Roller Band Device may change the way engineers look at supporting rotating machine components. The device uses a set of planatary rollers held in place around a central shaft by a series of flexible bands. In the role of a conventional shaft support, the bands would weave across the rollers and over the shaft, in effect, rolling within a fixed outer race. With all members rolling instead of sliding, frictional heat build up would be greatly reduced. Its inventor envisions myriad other configurations, including inflatable versions, cam- and crank-action devices, and limited-rotation hinges.
Erik Brinkman, Interactive Design Studio, Victoria, BC, Canada, (604) 592-1087.
Cold pipe joining
Magnetic-pulse forming was a popular manufacturing method before the advent of deep-draw presses. Now the technique has been resurrected for construction or repair of pipelines. In its simplest version, the procedure calls for a conductive sleeve to be placed over the ends of two less-conductive pipes to be joined. A capacitor-fired conductive coil put over the sleeve induces a powerful but short-lived current in the sleeve. The resulting radially directed magnetic field in the sleeve causes it to contract over the pipe ends. The technique would be especially beneficial in oil-drilling operations where well-casing segments now have to be threaded together. The patented technique is available for license.
Alvin Snaper, 2800 Cameo Circle, Las Vegas, NV 89107, (702) 870-8227.