When it comes to the assembly of hydraulic systems, speed counts. That's especially true for the big OEM who measure their hydraulic connections by the hundreds or thousands. Eaton Corp. has for years offered a way to make those connections faster with its STC — short for "snap to connect" — fluid power connector. But these STC connectors while fast, had a downside in they required either proprietary thread adaptors or the custom machining of the hydraulic ports to make them STC friendly.
Now, Eaton has developed a new connector that significantly broadens the appeal of the STC concept. Called STC EZ-Torque, the new quick-connect system allows the direct connection of hydraulic hose fittings into the industry standard threaded ports found on hydraulic valves, cylinders, pumps and motors. "We've completely eliminated the need for special adaptors or machining of compatible ports," says Todd Vogel, a lead engineer for Eaton and one of the designers of the patent-pending EZ-Torque product.
Without the adaptors, the new version reduces the need to stock and install an extra adaptor. And as Vogel points out, the elimination of an extra hydraulic fitting makes for one less potential leak path.
Like previous STC connectors, the EZ-Torque models combine elements of a standard threaded connector with those of a quick-connect system. Users push these connectors directly into a threaded port and apply torque only when the connection is nearly complete. The feature that makes this combination possible is a flexible thread that collapses as it is pushed into its mating thread. "You skip almost all the threads as you push the connector into the port," Vogel says. And only a bit of torque is needed at the end to lock the connector thread into the port. "Instead of five or six turns, you would have one turn or less," says Vogel.