Littleton, CO--For a plant maintenance worker, the task of changing a filter in a pneumatic piping system can prove difficult. While he or she disassembles the clamps that hold the pieces together, parts often fall on the floor and get lost. On a big production line, where downtime can cost thousands of dollars a minute, that turn of events can lead to hefty losses.
To solve this problem, engineers from IMI Norgren Inc. developed a device that simplifies piping system disassembly. Known as Quikclamp™, it eliminates the need for maintenance workers to juggle several clamping devices while doing routine maintenance. It also holds parts together even after the clamp's screws are loosened.
Quikclamp achieves this performance by employing a patented all-in-one design. The clamp consists of seven parts--an outer clip, spacer with hinged plate, two screws, and two O-rings--all contained in a single package. That's important for maintenance workers, who ordinarily must climb ladders, unscrew clamps, and then grab all the parts before they fall. Conventional clamping systems typically use separate front clamps, rear clamps, and spacers, all of which maintenance workers must juggle. In contrast, the Quikclamp's screws and hinged plate are captured, so they remain a single entity during disassembly.
Equally important, Quikclamp's special design holds it together even after workers remove the clamps' screws. Norgren engineers manage this trick by endowing the unit's outer clip with special grooves. During assembly, the grooves mate with beveled flanges on specially designed products, such as filters, regulators, and lubricators. When workers disassemble a Norgren Excelon® FRL system, Quikclamp's flange-and-groove configuration keeps the parts together temporarily so they can be taken apart piece by piece. That way, maintenance workers can remove the clamp with one hand while removing pneumatic components with the other. As a result, Quikclamp reduces fumbling, lost parts, and associated production-line downtime.
Norgren engineers first built stereolithography models of the system and took those prototypes to customers. By doing so, they learned how it could help users deal with special assembly situations involving ladders, wall brackets, and tight quarters. Universally, they found that users wanted the concept's simpler assembly and disassembly. "If the Quikclamp has been mounted to a wall bracket, you can assemble it with one hand," says Kevin Dickson, the Norgren engineer who designed the product. "The advantages of this product are convenience and up-time."
Additional details...Contact John Wiskamp, IMI Norgren, Inc., 5400 S. Delaware St., Littleton, CO 80120, (303) 794-2611.